When do you call someone a friend?

When do you call someone a friend? Coming from someone who considers few people as real friends, the answer is important.
Do you consider someone a friend simply because they were introduced to you by a mutual acquaintance? Do you have to know them for months or years before you consider them as a friend, or do you call them a friend mere minutes after you’ve met?

I used to have a very naive concept of what a friend is. Back then, I thought friendship was when you got along perfectly with someone. I thought that you couldn’t consider a person your friend if she annoyed the hell out of you. This sort of thinking changed when I was in my senior year of high school. Yup, it took me that long to realize it.
My high school best friend was someone I disliked upon meeting. Eventually, I found her to be really great, fun, and understanding; she was that rare someone who was nearly on the same wavelength as myself.
However, there were times when she annoyed me completely. Whether it was her constant rebelling against her parents, or neglecting her schoolwork, there was always something that made me wonder why I put up with her antics.
The realization—that you can’t say you love a person if you don’t see his imperfections—hit me hard when I did a very, very stupid thing near the end of that year. Instead of backing me up in my crazy/dumb antics, my best friend dragged a very unwilling me towards the right direction. At that moment, I hated her guts so much I wanted to scream, “You’re my best friend. I trusted you. I would have thought, of all people, you would back me up! But you ratted me out and screwed me over.”
When we met later that day, I apologized, realizing that she did it out of love and concern. Aww. *puppy dog eyes* 
Similarly, I used to think that you could only call someone your best friend if you knew everything about each other. A best friend, to me, was someone to whom you tell all your lock-and-key secrets.
That’s why I always felt kinda guilty when I kept secrets to myself. Privacy, to me back then, was nonexistent between best friends. That’s also why I spoonfed my thoughts to my friends. I thought they wouldn’t get to know me if I didn’t share everything with them.
It was only this year (could I be a slower learner?) that I’ve found you don’t have to tell your best friends everything. Sure, the important things, you tell them. But just because they don’t know your entire dirty past doesn’t mean that they doesn’t know you.
Take, for example, my newfound friends in USTe. We’ve only known each other for less than a year, but I trust them. There are a couple of people in the YC Buddies to whom I tell things I don’t tell anyone else, not even my high school best friend.
Another good example is my best guy friend, who knows me pretty well, even if doesn’t know half the dumbass things I did way back then. My tarnished history isn’t something I’m proud of. I’ll get around to telling him in due time. (Hi, Peter Angelo.)

Ela is a twentysomething who is constantly getting stuck in self-destructive behavior and bouts of low self-esteem. She struggles with depression and writes to relieve herself of her feelings. Sometimes she even blogs about other things like makeup and positivity. One of her pieces was published in the Inquirer Young Blood in October 2017. She likes cats, dogs, and sometimes even people.

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