To most people, there might be no difference between a (best) friend saying to you "I am your friend" or "you are my friend". But I've been thinking of the possible differences between the two, and what they may or may not mean.

If my friend tells me "I am your friend", it feels like that someone in the world is willing to trust me, is loyal to me, and will never ever give up on me -- and it makes me feel that something in the world is right when everything else has gone bad.

In contrast, if my friend tells me "You are my friend", it feels like that I have done something right when I thought that wasn't possible. Maybe I thought I was always trying to do my best and never getting things to work out. And so when a friend tells me this, it re-affirms the fact that here's some goodness in me.

Of course, these are just my interpretations. I'm wondering what your thoughts are? Do both sayings mean the same to you? Which would you rather prefer your friend saying to you?

Just thought I might start a possible thought-provoking discussion.

R.A.

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Well, I'm glad you started this discussion, because I've had a connection to it in the recent past. About 2 months ago I decided to kind of end a friendship I thought I had with someone who I later came to feel was not reciprocating my affections.

A friendship is like a romantic relationship in the sense that it's a two-way stream; both individuals need to feel like they are getting something as much as they are giving something. I have been friends with some guy from school, and in some of our conversations I'd say things like "I acknowledge that we are friends," "...this is why you are my friend..." But not once had I ever heard him refer to our relationship as one he was in acknowledgement of. In short, I ended up feeling like I was in the friendship alone, and decided to quit it. Although I never explained such thoughts to him because I did not think it mattered. I realised when I said the line, "...that's why you are my friend..." that I hadn't felt the same kind of acknowledgement from him. At the end, I felt like I needed him as a friend and he did not need me.

This may have been just my interpretation, as I can have an active imagination, but I decided not to project anything of friendship. I don't hate him. I don't even dislike him. I'm just indifferent now. Sure, we still talk from time to time, but it does not mean anything to me any more.

So, yes. "I am your friend" holds a different meaning to me than "you are my friend". The former means the same as you have explained and also that that particular person feels close to me. Such is an intimate level of friendship. The latter means that the one from whom it originates has invested a certain amount of trust. In other cases, however, it has to be reciprocated, lest it feels one-sided, therefore not worth the effort.

To me, "I am your friend" usually means they did something thats gonna piss me off. In contrast, "you are my friend" is generally followed by "BUT.... (something along the lines of "ya done fucked up")"

If you say to me, "You are my friend," I think you're saying you appreciate me. If you say, "I am your friend," I think you're saying that I should appreciate you.

In terms of trust, "you are my friend" sounds like "I trust you". "I am you friend" sounds like "trust me". Therefor, "you are my friend" the more highly coveted.

Either way they'd get me bawling because no one ever has told me either one of those before.

I hope that just means that you do have friends who have difficulty expressing friendship, which is still sad, but not tragic.

I used to be repressive of anything associated with stong feelings, but then I realized that making people feel valued makes them feel good, and adds value to the world. Your mention of bawling undoubtedly means being overwhelmed with positive not negative emotions. So, I regularly make a point of expressing appreciation for my friends. Some of them are unable to reciprocate but do tell me that they like hearing as much.

It recognizes the inherent asymmetry of most friendships.  Subtle, but telling.  Nice.

I thought about this for a while, and realized that neither sounds quite right to me.  I think that the way I usually say it, and the way it's usually said to me is "We're friends."  It kind of expresses the reciprocal nature of the relationship, that the trust goes both ways. 

Otherwise, I kind of agree with Lucius.

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