The Japanese use the word kenzoku to describe family. It suggests that there is a bond that two or more people have with each other that is very similar to a commitment, and even the same destiny. It is also the most profound connection of friendship. There are so many of us who have people in their lives that share what feels like a distant past. We have this strong bond with them, and we consider them to be just like family, kenzoku. They may be a parent, sibling, or even a friend from high school that we haven’t spoken to in years although time and distance don’t diminish the type of bond that we have with these people. I often wonder, why do we have this kind of chemistry and why does this kenzoku is only shared with a few people? We may never know the actual answer to that question, but the background to kenzoku and these kinds of relationships can be defined.
Common interests that bring people together, stressful situations, shared values, and having the ability to support and encourage another person is what draws people together. It’s what brings us to make friends and to be worthy of being called a friend. A true friend is someone who is unshakably willing to put your happiness before your friendship. They don’t lack giving mercy over correcting when their friend is wrong or is dealing with a problem. True friends don’t ask to compromise on your principles but inspire you to live up to your best potential. You may have friends who fit this thinking, but still, they don’t quite feel kenzoku.
Becoming a true friend yourself, as Gandhi has said: “Be the friend you want to have,” we all tend to invite people into our lives that mirror our character. You don’t have to be something that you’re not, all to have that person’s friendship. No matter what interests you, there is always someone who will share it somewhere. It’s about taking action to build like-minded people into our lives.
I can count on my hand the number of people in my life who are kenzoku, those true friends. They are like my family. It’s difficult in today’s world to find these types of people, but when you do, it’s like finding a rare diamond. It’s what’s meant to be. They’re like finding home.