True Friend Love

 By Kate H., Age 22

I believe in love at first sight, first laugh, and first hug. I’m not talking about romantic love; I mean the kind of love that you have with your best friends who you know you’ll have forever. In high school, my friends were the people who I had known all my life, the ones who knew everything about me because they had lived it all with me. Going away to college and later when I studied in Europe for a semester, I found that there are some people who just understand you from the second you meet them. It’s love at first sight. Of course, you don’t know that it’s true friend-love until there has been some kind of test to it to make sure that your new friend isn’t going to ditch you the second things get a little less than fun. Your true friends become your family, the people who are there for you when you make a fool of yourself, fail an exam, or reach your wildest dreams. They’ll laugh with you until you’re both blue in the face, but they know when to get serious for a shoulder to cry on or to lend you a hand if they can. When you get to this point with someone, you know you’re on your way to a great friend. The defining moment in any friendship, though, is that moment when your friend shows you a truth that you don’t want to see or asks you a hard question that you don’t want to answer. When something goes wrong, a good friend will hold your hand and comfort you, but a great friend will ask why things went wrong and what you plan to do to fix it. Great friends are the ones who remind you of the consequences of the tough choices that have to be made occasionally and the impossible choices that must be made a few times in a lifetime. Love at first sight? Sure, I believe in it because I’ve been lucky enough to experience it a few times in the last few years with the great friends I’ve made. But I know that in the end, the first sight is much less important than the days and years that followed that first bad joke or the first time we cried together at a cheesy movie. Great friends become your family not because you’ve always known them or because you’re related, but because they choose to be there just like you choose to be there for them, for better or worse.