Friends are important. Really important.

I was thinking about another benefit of friendship today when an acquaintance on the telephone began exploring deeply personal issues and crossing boundaries with his frustrations.  I didn’t really know this guy that well, and I was a bit shocked at his behavior.  Then it dawned on me, he is friendless.  Although he has plenty of acquaintances, he has not confidant. Therefore a stranger, an animal, or a lightpost can take away his pain.

High times, toasts, and roaring laughter I often associated with friendship, but vulnerability, trust, and accountability are another face of friends. As humans we need partnerships of trust to listen to our pain, counsel us in our grief, and kick us squarely in the seat of the pants from time to time. These partnerships enable us to appropriately invest our intimate feelings in safe harbors, and then we can regroup for the rest of the world.  But a relationally fractured individual may freely invest intimacy inappropriately, or, on the other hand, they may harden and invest nowhere–ultimately left to die an emotional death.

Today, I was shocked and amused at the conversation, but ultimately I was left with pity. A world so full of people yet so fragmented.

Okay, Doug, I left that one without saying anything smart ass at the end, so there.

Jeremy Floyd

Jeremy Floyd is the President at FUNYL Commerce. Formerly, he was the CEO and President of Lirio, Bluegill Creative, a marketing and communications firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to managing the digital strategies, Floyd was an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga MBA program teaching digital strategies and social media. Floyd blogs at and tweets under the name @jfloyd. Jeremy is licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU in English and Philosophy.

  • Alice Gold

    And, it so nice to see a man that thinks his friends are important. I don’t know if it’s LG manly character or his anti-socialness, but the other day, he said to me, “Alice, friends are over-rated.”

    So, where does that leave you? Just kidding…I think LG was talking about my high maintenance friends….Friendship is a tricky thing…I want to feel like I am getting as much as I am giving..that doesn’t always happen…and, then what, do you dump ’em and find new friends…or do you just right off your friends to leave yourself in this emotionless pathetic state that you are talking about.

    oh, who knew this was such a hot topic?

  • Indeed the friendship, I believe, has to be reciprocated, but the problem with that is that we are too immediate in our expectation of reciprocation. I like to think “friends for life.” That is ridiculous, but there are whole seasons that I dump on my friends. I alway maintain the hope that we are going to be toasting shortly but for the time being I need the security of that friend.

    The funny part is, that dumping can be power to them if they are not trustworty. They could call the newspaper or another friend to throw me under the bus. Friendship is almost like a leap of faith into the abyss–some are more cautious others carefree.

  • I was waiting for the punch! Good words in a culture that has all but abandoned a small circle of friends in favor of a large pool of acquaintances.

  • wife

    As one of your closest friends I am often the recipient of your gift of friendship. I have failed at friendship so often that I give up easily. You have inspired me to keep trying and helped me to see what true friendship really is.