The phone rang and my good friend was on the other end. She said, "Are you ready for a visit from me? I'm flying from PA to FL." My response was quick and heartfelt – "Yeah! Great!" She said, "It will be good to just sit and talk." I knew what she meant. True friends don't need to tour the countryside or fill every minute with activity during a visit. The best times with a friend involve sitting together and talking – perhaps over coffee or a glass of wine.

Actually, the "language of friendship is not words, but meanings." That wise quotation came from Henry David Thoreau. In my experience, that is true. Good friends don't need to worry about what they say or how they say it. The other friend will know the real meaning of those words.

In the 1960's movie "Love Story," Jennifer Cavalleri (played by Ali McGraw) speaks a famous line- "Love means never having to say you're sorry." When I first heard that line, I didn't understand it. It took years of aging for me to fathom that remark. I believe that, finally, I can explain it to my satisfaction.

When love is true, there is no hurt intended, there is no slight imagined, there is no question about meaning. Between two good friends, there is no doubt or confusion. When one speaks, the other one knows that the words chosen are coming from the heart. Even if the words are seemingly hurtful, they derive from great love.

Does that mean that friends will never argue? No. It means that their arguments don't fracture the relationship, but improve it. The most solid lifelong friendships derive from honesty, caring, and empathy. In order to be a friend, one must care enough about the other person to "walk a mile in his shoes" and nourish the relationship.

Let's explore some other people's ideas of friendship……

"How few of his friends' houses would a man choose to be when he is sick."

Dr. Johnson

"Those friends who are above interest are seldom above jealousy."

Halifax

"Most people enjoy the inferiority of their friends."

Chesterfield

"She is such a good friend that she would throw all her acquaintances into the water for the pleasure of fishing them out."

Talleyrand

"The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay."

Dr. Johnson

"Friendship is like money – easier made than kept."

Samuel Butler

"The more we love our friends, the less we flatter them."

Moliere

"Everybody's friend is nobody's."

Schopenhauer

"We have fewer friends than we imagine, but more than we know."

Hofmannsthal

"If anyone is to remain pleased with you, he should be pleased with himself whenever he thinks of you."

Bradley

"Shared joys make a friend."

Nietzsche

And finally…….

"A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friendship unchangeably."

William Penn

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: jsmith1313@cfl.rr.com OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.