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TEEN ISSUES-----what is a friend?

one Posted - 25 August 2000 9:07

What does it mean to be a friend?

- 27 August 2000 19:04

A friend is someone that you can tell anything to, even if you did an aveirah.

That definition comes from Rav Michoel Furschlogger ZT"L, a student of the great Avnei Nezer, the son-in-law of the Kotzker Rebbe.

He figured that out because concepts are always defined by the context of the first place they appear in the Torah.

The first place the concept of "friend" appears in the Torah is with Yehuda and Chirah. "Chirah rayahu ha'adulami".

A friend therefore is someone who you can tell anything to without fear.

A friend is also someone who knows you. We see this from Choni Ham'agel, who, after rising from decades of sleep, was unable to convince people that he was really Choni Ha'Magel. So because people would not believe who he was, he could not have them as friends.

A friend, therefore, is someone who really knows who you are.

Friends can be good (chaver tov) or bad (chaver rah). Good friends use their friendship to help you do good things, and vice versa.

G-d made people such that we need friends. Without them, even the biggest Tzadik in the world lives in excruciating pain. Choni Ha'Magel thus prayed to Hashem that he should die. "Oh chavrusa oh misusa", he said. "Give me a friend, or give me death."

one Posted - 27 August 2000 21:00

So what if you are put in a situation to help person, that you consider a friend. And they take what you have to offer and tell you certain things. And then decide that they are no longer interested. What is the giver supposed to do? Isn’t love, no matter what the kind built upon giving?

And once you give you can no longer take back the emotions that have built up.

I am in a strange situation now. I have a friend who I care a lot about. And I really don’t think that I am a bad influence on them... and Hashem obviously put I in the situation to know them and to help them... so why is the pain necessary? Why if I was helping do I get hurt? That doesn’t seem right.

MODERATOR Posted - 27 August 2000 21:16

One of the things that make any relationship - including friends - so wonderful is the trust you have in each other. "Trust" means to take a risk on someone, to allow yourself to be put in danger, to give someone part of your life, sometimes big, sometimes very small but a part nonetheless, that they could harm if they so choose, yet all the while maintaining the confidence that they will not hurt you.

There is no trust without risk, and there is no friendship without trust.

Sometimes your trust may be violated, and you will be hurt. This happens, and when it does it's painful. it makes you think twice about having friends at all. I really do understand.

But listen, "one". It's worth it anyway. its worth having friends and trusting them even though somewhere down the line you're going to get burnt. Of course, you should not entrust your friendship to someone who is untrustworthy - you don't need pain if it could be avoided - but the very unwise thing to do would be to become a rock and an island and have no friends in order to feel no pain. It's not worth it.

Where relationships go, "better safe than sorry" does not hold true.

So get back in there. Find a friend and take a risk. The satisfaction you get from the relationship is worth the risk of getting hurt.

one Posted - 28 August 2000 14:01

Thank you for the advice.

Yes I understand that friends are important. and B"H I have many meaningful relationships. the problem I suffer from now is that the one relationship that I put the most into seems to be hurting me the most. but it seems there is no escape, no matter what my "friend" does to pain me, whether it be comments, a breach of trust... I still care about her.

I feel I can’t hold it against her because if you love someone you don’t want them to have a bad "record". I really try hard. I offered all that I can and it was just unappreciated. it is not that I gave to get back, because I knew starting off that I wouldn’t get back as much as I gave, but I took the "risk" as you call it. someone helped me define what I was looking for though. I was looking for an acknowledgment that I gave. is that wrong?

I am not even speaking of giving physical entities. what about the emotions behind the things being given? What if I bought my friend a present that I wanted for myself but I rather that she had it. No matter what I try and do I cant stop thinking about it. am I supposed to cut off this relationship? Or continue surmising that I was put here for a reason.

I know that my friend needs someone to care, as does everyone else, but I never before had the problem that a person could dislike the fact that someone cares...

MODERATOR Posted - 28 August 2000 14:08

Get out of there. Although during the course of your lifetime relationships will now and then cause you pain, that does not mean you have to stick around when that happens.

The Marahral writes that it is prohibited to do a chesed for someone who will not be grateful for it. Everyone deserves to be cut some slack for what appears to be insufficient appreciation for your chesed, but if she constantly disregards your chasodim, then get out. She's not a friend anyway.

one Posted - 28 August 2000 21:08

Thank you, moderator, I think that deep down I know that you are right. but I still have uncertainty. cutting off this relationship will hurt ME. Because I have put in so much. And what if my friend just doesn’t know how to show that appreciation? What if it is just that? Maybe she really wants it but is embarrassed to admit it? I don’t know...

I think to myself that I should leave it alone for a while, I still daven for her, still love her, and if one day she decides that she is ready to be a friend, I will be ready with open arms. is this proper?

What if I know that she doesn’t have another friend quite like me in many ways, religiously, per se', and perhaps she is getting pressure from other "friends" to drop me or so to say. Is the regret I feel and love I feel just to punish me? or is it there for me to do something with it?

MODERATOR Posted - 01 September 2000 21:22

It's up to you. As long as you know your options.

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