I made a couple of new friends the other day.

It was easy. All I did was click the “confirm” button, and voila, a couple more bosom buddies.

That is friendship in the age of Facebook, some people you know, some you don’t, all lumped together in the category of “friend.”

But friends aren’t made with a click on your cellphone. True friends, with a capital F, are as rare as gold and infinitely more valuable.

My bride lost a true friend last week, an older woman who took her under her wing during a difficult and confusing time in her young life.

The woman was married, with children, but went back to school and shared classes with my bride. They hit it off and, as my bride describes it “She was always there for me.”

The kids describe the phenomenon as having someone’s “back,” but in truth the grip of friendship extends to all parts of your being.

True friends are there when you need them. They won’t ask why you need them, if you don’t want them to know, they will simply show up to support you.

Friends will feed you when you are hungry, will give you a place to sleep when you have no place to lay your head.

They will hold your hand when you are down, or hold your head when you can’t keep your lunch down. They will visit you when you are sick, or even when they are sick of you.

Friends are there to celebrate with you when things are going so well you think you are the luckiest person in the world.

Conversely, they are there to lift your spirits when you are convinced you are merely a bug splattered on the windshield of life.

My bride says there were times in her young life when she felt as if her friend was the only one in the world who cared about her. But that’s what friends do, they care.

Friends will help you move. True friends will help you move heavy appliances like washers and dryers. And the truest of friends will help you move said appliances up or down a flight of stairs.

Friends will always take your side in love or war, and especially when love turns into war. They are always quick to reassure you that the problem lies with your ex, not you.

Friends will stand by you even when you do something crazy, like dye your hair blue, paint your nails green or take up full-contact pilates.

You can’t pull anything over on your friends. They know you too well. They also aren’t going to stand by idly while you do something that could damage your future, like drop out of school, quit your job or run off with a traveling Bible salesman.

Friends will watch your kids, will watch your dog, will watch your car. Heck, they’ll even wash your kids, your dog or your car, if you need them to.

Friends are quick to offer advice on everything from love, to money, to what color to paint the trim on your house. But good friends also know when to keep their mouths shut and just listen to you vent, or to simply sit quietly with you as you wrestle with whatever inner demons are next on your emotional “to do” list.

Friends are not going to give you a pass. If they think you are wrong they will tell you. They’ll tease you every chance they get, pointing out flaws and foibles and telling embarrassing “Do you remember the time ...” stories about incidents you wish would remain long forgotten.

When you lose someone dear to you, friends will cry with you, then will laugh with you as you remember the good times you had with your dear departed.

Friends will support you when the rest of the world leaves you out in the cold, will love you when you are at your absolutely most unlovable.

Sometimes friends live right next door, and sometimes they move clear across the country, and you only get together once a year or so. But every time you talk, and every time you reunite, the miles and the years separating you fall away and the light of your friendship shines bright and warm once again.

And sometimes friends will die, leaving huge, friend-sized holes in our hearts. I have lost many friends. It is horrible.

But the pain of losing a friend is far outweighed by the love, support, comfort and joy their friendship provided you while they were alive.

I have 256 friends, according to Facebook, but my real friends I can count on two hands. If you have more than that, my friend, you are blessed indeed.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.

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