True friendship is often misunderstood as constantly being together or knowing the most about each other, but really, it can mean so much more…

What started out as a fun night of card games filled with laughter and friends turned into an alarming, yet enlightening experience. Tonight, I learned what true friendship is and saw for myself how far someone who truly cares about you is willing to go, facing the dangers of night and personal welfare to see you safe and happy.

A real friend is loyal to not only you, but the friendship itself. They’ll drop everything at 2 a.m., sprint to their car, and speed across the city after a single phone call if they hear the alarm in your voice. They’ll face any threat that stands before them to get to you without hesitation and without considering the potential harm that may come to them because they care that much.

For so long I relied mostly on myself, always questioning who was my friend and who was just along for the ride. Sure, I have a best friend and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without her support and love and I know we would do anything for each other, no matter how much time or how many miles stand between us, but tonight I saw something beyond a best friend, I had a chance to see from a new perspective a group of people bonded by dedication and love for one another.

To see one worry over another so strongly, so passionately, made me pause and really look at how the overwhelming fear radiated from one person to another in our small group when one seemed distressed. Seeing such a unique group of people become a single unit of strategy and strength made me doubt everything I thought “friends” to be.

The conversation that followed after such a long night and into the early morning really inspired me to write this piece. The quiver in their voice, the sense of knowing they’ll do something reckless to protect their friends, the admittance of fear and panic, all of these I saw in the eyes of someone who has to be the truest friend I have ever come across. Such a friend sensed the fear in the voice of someone they cared about and in a single moment, the fear was so strong, it was like they felt themselves to be in danger.

A real friend will stand by you through tears of laughter and tears of sadness, they’ll put you before themselves when they suspect something’s not right with you, they’ll bring you to their light in your darkest moments. But, most of all, they’ll bring you home to safety at the end of the day.

True friendship cannot be measured by the messages sent back and forth or the amount of hours spent together in a day. When someone truly is your friend, they become a wall of protection, shielding you from the threats of the world, they become a personal hospital to treat your physical wounds and your emotional ones too, and at the end of the day, when the night gets too dark and the world gets too loud, they become your shelter. A true friend is hard to come by these days and hard times will reveal the truest friends. I’m glad I found some to consider my own.