Building a foundation based on friendship Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Sep. 10, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

To the shock of absolutely no one who knows me, I am not always a tactful person. It wasn't until well after I graduated from college that I learned to bite my tongue.

It's not that my words were untruthful, but there are times where the truth isn't helpful.

During college, I lived in a co-ed dormitory. A young woman in that dormitory was having relationship problems but instead of comforting her, I said the wrong thing. But I learned something from that experience.

A relationship at that age is like the parable in Matthew 7:24-27, which describes "houses" built on two different kinds of foundations:

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock," and "Everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand."

Sadly, most relationships at that age are like houses built on sand. They lack the foundation to survive the changes that come with college life. But some college couples have a different level of relationship. Theirs is the equivalent of a house built on rock. If you asked many of these fortunate couples, they'd define the rock of their relationship in one word: friendship.

Friendship is the most important bond found in any strong relationship. After all, if you're not friends with someone, it's hard to spend an afternoon together, let alone the rest of your life.

Friendship makes it easier to support someone, to forgive them, to laugh and cry with them. It was through a relationship built on friendship that I discovered empathy. A close friend gave me the opportunity to learn that just because I could say something, it didn't mean I should. I discovered that tactfulness is a habit, one that's taking me a long time to develop.

Through that friendship, I learned many other things as well. For the first time, I learned the joy of doing something with someone else, such as going to a movie with friends. The conversations after the show are more enjoyable, the discoveries much more meaningful.

I also began to appreciate appreciation. I became grateful for gratitude. When you have a friend who believes you can accomplish anything, who you are becomes less important than who you want to become.

With that description of friendship, it should come as no surprise that my friend became much more than a friend. Our friendship became the foundation upon which we built our house. Over the years, it has withstood many challenges and overcome obstacles.

When times get rough, friendship is our unbreakable bond.

I'm still the same person I was when we met, but that friendship has smoothed my rough edges, though they haven't disappeared entirely. It's a truth that she's sure to bring up as she points out exactly how far I've come and how far I still have to go.

Erick Rommel is head staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


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