The following quote is from Michael Quoist. I like the whole quote but I want to reference just the last line.
We are satisfied by our decent little life. We are pleased with our good habits; we take them for virtues. We are pleased with our little efforts; we take them for progress. We are proud of our activities; they make us think that we are giving ourselves. We are impressed with our influence; we imagine that it will transform lives. We are proud of what we give, though it hides what we withhold. We may even be mistaking a set of coinciding egoisms for real friendship.
What is friendship? For a long time I had so many people vying for my time I thought I had lots of friends. For years there were groups of people I met with regularly, so I assumed we were friends. I thought that because there were people who came to see me when they needed something, they must be friends. I had coffee on a regular basis with the same people and so I thought we were friends. What I believed to be friendships were in many cases just coinciding egoisms.
Many of our day to day relationships, that we might call friendships, are people with whom we get together because we need something or they need something. We gather for decision making meetings, planning meetings, meetings to get things done. We like each other well enough but are these relationships, friendships?
I am not trying to say that the people you go to meetings with are not your friends but ask yourself the question, why are we together and if we didn’t “have to” would we?
Who calls just to see how you are? Who do you invite over just to play games? Who emails you with a Word of encouragement? Who do you invite to coffee for no reason? Who do you call when things have gone south, who calls you?
Proverbs 27 says a lot about friendship: v.6 Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. v.9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. v.17 As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. Apparently friendship is something deeper than coinciding egoisms.
I must be a friend to have a friend and sadly most of my life has been invested in coinciding egoisms rather than friendships. I am working on changing that.