Several years ago I ran into a Christian television presenter. On his program and elsewhere he was always known simply by his first name. So I said “Hello Brian”. (Not his real name)  He looked at me as though I was an alien from space and replied, “Do I know you?” I was really tempted to say “No, but you should!”   Instead I answered “No, but I know you!”   With not so much as a “Nice to meet you” he moved on, ignoring my greeting.  I felt sorry that there was such a sense of arrogance from a respected Christian leader. Obviously it proved I was wrong. I knew of him but I didn’t really know him!!

The question he asked of me, “Do I know you?” is an interesting question.  It makes me wonder how well we know each other.

Almost every week I have coffee with a friend. We discuss many issues of life and especially that which applies to our own personal and family life.  I have learned from him his thinking on many subjects but do I really know him? Likewise he has heard my views and opinions on many topics but can he say he really knows me?

It is probably true to say that few of us really know each other even though we may have regular contact. It is rare that we share our deepest thoughts. For the most part we talk as we think others would expect to hear.  The private person remains private.

It has been said that you need to live with someone before you can genuinely get to know them. I am not sure that is totally true but the investment of time together is essential to begin such an understanding relationship. Open and honest conversation coupled with the knowledge that criticism is not even a remote possibility, are the foundational blocks on which to build a friendship of love, trust and support.

A trusted friend outside of the family circle often has a better understanding and perspective on us than we might think. This is where real friendship occurs.  To have a friend with whom you can share and discuss anything without recrimination or intimidation is an invaluable treasure. Having such a confidant allows one to verbalize thoughts which otherwise might cause stress and go round and round in the mind and never find a proper place to rest.  Such a person can offer advice, give encouragement and affirmations when needed.  They become a reflecting wall and a strong wall of support in times of crisis.

If you have such a friend, hold on to them. They are worth their weight in gold.  With gold at its present price those friends would be worth a fortune!