By in Relationships

Hello, My Friend

I am consistently and constantly amazed by the barrage of new connection requests on social media sites and writing sites who claim "friendship" for the purpose of them wanting me to accept the invitations.

I understand that, "Hello, my friend" is designed to be a way to begin to build a relationship, but do we understand what that really means?

As technology has made social networking global and English has become the common language used for international communication, I often wonder if the translation in any language to English holds different meaning culturally.

Do certain languages have many different words to indicate certain relationships, but in the translation of these words, they are directed to use the English word, "friend"?

In English, we certainly do the same. We call acquaintances our friends. We do the same with colleagues and business partners. We also do so in relationships of more intimate nature, at times.

One that has always bothered me is the "friends with benefits" (FWB) label. This indicates that someone is in a "friendship" that involves sexual intimacy, without any responsibility for emotional feelings or involvement. Some might refer to this as a "booty call."

The English language also is confusing because in English-speaking countries words for the noun, "friend" may have another meaning as a verb in another country. One example of this is "mate."

In Australia, "Hello, mate!" is a greeting used between friends. Elsewhere, the same greeting might hold a different meaning.

"Hello! Mate!" may have a more directive meaning. This might suffice for those FWBs who want to get down to business without much conversation.

I think that friendship can have many different levels. I have called acquaintances my friends. I have also had romantic relationships where we were friends, and then taken the relationship to a more intimate level. I have also remained friends with those whom were previously love relationships.

I have stayed away from the FWB relationships, because I must like someone and truly be friends before entering into a physical romantic intimacy. defines friend as:
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2 .a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
5. ( initial capital letter ) a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.

When I most often use the word, I define a friend as the first definition: I have feelings of affection and personal regard for you. The other definitions are merely a label to me. So, should I call you my friend, it is not a symbolic gesture. Substance over symbolism will always win with me.

Whether in face-to-face life, or social media, when one calls one another "friend," it implies that true support is given.

Let us all remember that, should we be bold enough to do so.

Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang

Adapted from article written February 2014 and submitted on Bubblews, but removed by author.

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Adapted from

Image Credit » by cherylholt

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Paulie wrote on December 3, 2015, 1:28 AM

To me, a friend is a person who understands me and a person who I understand. There is also mutual assistance between us. Too many times, a distinction is not made between an acquaintance and a true friend.

BarbRad wrote on December 3, 2015, 4:42 AM

There are so many beautiful friend definitions that explain what friends means to me. For me there are four levels of friendship -- acquaintance, comrade, companion, and intimate. The comrade is one with whom you may share an interest, such as a fellow club member. The companion is the person you might like to do things or go places with. The intimate friend is the one you share thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams with and who shares your most important values. It is the intimate friend I think of when I think of friend.

MegL wrote on December 3, 2015, 5:14 AM

Yes, I quite like Tsu, where you can "follow" someone and ALSO, if you choose, "friend" them. On there, I follow quite a number but "friend" fewer.

acelawrites wrote on December 3, 2015, 5:52 AM

I call someone a friend if we share the same views over a lot of things, if we agree on so many issues at hand though I only met her/him in different writing sites.

markgraham wrote on December 3, 2015, 10:21 AM

We all need support some time and just having a friend or acquaintance may be just enough.

WordChazer wrote on December 3, 2015, 2:39 PM

I hate that phrase 'my friend'. I used to be heavily into penpalling and the sleaziest blokes after being bankrolled into the country by a gullible female would address me as 'My dearest friend'. Makes me bristle to this day. Once I switched to using my initial and a surname that was also a male first name, I received letters addressed 'Dear Sir, By the grace of God, I beg you to accept me as your penfriend' and other similar flowery phrases. A former colleague was so social media saturated he addressed everyone as 'friend'. It took the rest of the team a LONG while before we managed to persuade him that was an inappropriate form of greeting for a colleague, and moreover, fistbumps were not an acceptable substitute for a handshake in a business situation. Unfortunately, he is not alone...