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I was just having a random thought earlier that a lot of people seem to consider time to be the measure of friendship, when being acquaintances evolves into friendship and how strong that friendship is.. But it doesn't seem to be that way - in my life at least. So, I was thinking, what possible circumstances have to occur before you declare someone a friend. Perhaps going through a traumatic experience together? Maybe just due to similar opinions ? How do you decide when someone is a friend?
 

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You know, I've never thought about this. It's always just seemed to happen.

However, people I consider friends are always people I trust, and no subject is off-limits. I think it boils down to speaking the same language, even though I've never exactly had the same opinions about politics, art, whatever with friends -- but we understand each other, somehow.

Also of vital importance is being able to laugh at the same things -- when I'm just socializing, probably a good 90% of the conversation is just bullshitting about various topics, trading jokes and observations. You know, just light-hearted chit-chat, but very secure in knowing that everyone "in the room" (usually just mano a mano or mano a womano) has the serious stuff locked down, and either of us could go there, without any problem whatsoever.
 

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i was thinking about a colleague of mine today, actually. it came up because there is something minor that my dad needs, and i was brainstorming a bit absently to myself about possible pathways to dealing with it.

this colleague/acquaintance of mine was one of options i put on the list. i wasn't thinking about friendship at all at the time, but it's pretty significant that i even considered it. normally when people make sincere offers of 'anything i can do' i appreciate the spirit without ever having any intention of following up on the letter of it. so i noticed it when i found myself thinking 'yes, l is somebody that i would trust 'with' my dad.'

i don't think i set universal-policy standards for 'how' someone turns into a friend. this woman is someone i've known for ten years, and years alone would not be enough to do it. but years combined with who those years have slowly revealed her to be . . . yes, for sure. and on the other hand, i've made near-instant friends out of other people based on some crucible type of experience that crystallized out who they are at a much faster rate.
 

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There comes a point when I know someone well enough that I feel comfortable opening up to that person and can talk to that person about things that bother me. When I have reached this point, I can consider that person to be my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your input guys. It may have been a stupid question considering friendship is based on human emotion and human emotions are subjective. I personally feel that regardless of whether someone is my best friend or even just a friend, I cannot tell them everything, so that ruled the trust thing out for me, I just can't understand WHY I consider someone a friend.. Like @jtour or @lilysocks says, it just happens.. But 'it just happens' isn't enough for my brain, so I'm trying to find a objective reason, which - upon further reflection - seems impossible.
 

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But 'it just happens' isn't enough for my brain, so I'm trying to find a objective reason, which - upon further reflection - seems impossible.
I think that's an extremely excellent subject for study.

Just waking up, two possible resources for inspiration come to mind. The French philosopher (I guess, but anyway, one of those who did some original thinking before the Heidegger-inspired crew sort of bollocks things up, with the exception of the scientifically-friendly Merleau-Ponty....never mind) Bergson has a nice little book called On Laughter. Not directly related, but close, sort of.

And the sociologist Bourdieu has an interesting text called Distinction, a sort of meditation on taste, "good taste," and so forth. IIRC, it's more closely related to your topic than it might seem.

Not totally apropos, but that's what comes to mind.

I'm going to EDIT to add there's also the essay of Cicero, "On Friendship." I don't remember much at all of it (it was in some primer of Latin texts for students, at least a substantial excerpt), but if I'm taking a stab at remembering, it's likely using Cicero's stoic-inspired basic stance. I don't know, but there's that.
 

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'it just happens' isn't enough for my brain, so I'm trying to find a objective reason,
well, i can name what it is with the colleague. i was going to say that she doesn't gossip, because t hat's how i put it to myself when i noticed what putting her on the resource list meant. but actually, i trust her partly because she and i have gossiped talked shop together about so many people and situations over the years. so i know what she judges and what she encompasses, what she cares fiercely about and what she doesn't give a damn for.

with other people i've friended more quickly, it was simpler in some ways. i just liked them. i like how they think, but also what they think and why.
 
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Dependability over time. I know and interact with many people with varying levels of closeness, but only have two people I call friends. The only difference between those two and everybody else is time.
 

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For close friends, a few things happen:
1) The person has over time proved to be someone I can trust in one or more measurably important ways. (With my thoughts or ideas, with sides of myself I'm not normally comfortable showing, or they just have my back when I need them)
2) The person adds to or enhances my life in a valuable or meaningful way.
3) The person is someone whose company I greatly enjoy and who if they don't understand me well already, make an honest sincere effort to do so, to the point where I feel comfortable being very open with them.
4) There are no pretenses, needless politeness or deceptions with this other person. Just an honest connection where both of us can be real with each other,
 

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I've never exactly had the same opinions about politics, art, whatever with friends -- but we understand each other, somehow.
I forgot to add that very disagreement pretty often ends with violent arguments, especially when your friends are dumbasses (IMHO).

But, hey, if you can't try to murder your friends with your bare hands, then, really, are they are your friends after all?

:)
 

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I have a small circle of friends and most of them have things in common and we have been friends since college days.

As my age increases, I found it harder to make new friends :(
 

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For close friends, a few things happen:
1) The person has over time proved to be someone I can trust in one or more measurably important ways. (With my thoughts or ideas, with sides of myself I'm not normally comfortable showing, or they just have my back when I need them)
2) The person adds to or enhances my life in a valuable or meaningful way.
3) The person is someone whose company I greatly enjoy and who if they don't understand me well already, make an honest sincere effort to do so, to the point where I feel comfortable being very open with them.
4) There are no pretenses, needless politeness or deceptions with this other person. Just an honest connection where both of us can be real with each other,
I agree with what PacedGalaxy said.
For me real friendship is not possible without trust. And I'm not saying I tell my friends everything, because I don't like to be controlled too much. Trust means that we can rely on one-another, we help each-other, are not afraid to state our opinions, feel comfortable around each-other and know that the other person will not lie or speak behind the other's back.
Trust is earned through years, so although sometimes I can establish a great connection with someone quickly, I think for me it is hard to be friends when we don't know each other for a certain time (ex. at least 2 years), and preferably in various situations (going on trips, working on something together). Of course, connection is essential, because otherwise it's hard for me to understand, care and perhaps respect such a person.
 

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I have a small circle of friends and most of them have things in common and we have been friends since college days.

As my age increases, I found it harder to make new friends :(
How to make new friends: Ask him/her if he/she likes nostalgia. If he/she says yes. You say: Let's create some nostalgia together.

If he/she says no. You say: Let's create a future together.

Though I will probably never say that to anyone, it might be a good opening to a new friendship.

Edit: If someone asked me that question and provided with that kind of scenario, I would just be shocked by curiosity of that person. So, basically. Learn how to make people curious of yourself, which mostly works best as just being yourself. But that in itself can be difficult. A pretty funny thing: What if you never asked yourself the question, "Who am I?", and just ignore that question. Doesnt that make oneself who you really are?
 
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