What is a friend?

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Earlier this summer, we had the opportunity to view an artist’s world-wide, four year photographic study of her 400-plus Facebook friends.   Through her photography, she took us into their homes, their families, their lifestyles.

The exhibition by itself was intimate and engaging.  But she took it a step further.

Her four-year study apparently compelled her to ask the question: “What is a friend?”  In her search for answers, she offered everyone who visited her exhibit an opportunity to respond to that question, via little post-it notes, handily positioned in the gallery.   She then transferred those responses onto gauzy strips of material and hung them, floor to ceiling, in the gallery along side the photographs.

We read as many as we could.  Most were general, some very personal.  All very thoughtful.

I particularly liked one that said: “A friend is someone you make with.”

No, the writer didn’t leave out a word.  You fill in your own.   As in make dinner with, make plans with, make art with.

I didn’t submit my favorite because I didn’t see the post-it-notes but if I had, this is what I would have said:  “A friend is someone who asks the second question.”