A friend of mine on Facebook asked this question. This is what I thought up as an answer.
A friend will tell you to get up off your butt when you need to hear that. A friend will be there to tell you of your value when you are in the dredges.
The truest friend sees you as God does. I love how Brad Wilcox put it. He was talking about an experience he had with a young lady. She was upset because she thought no one asked her on dates because she had her mom's eyebrows etc. Brad said that 16 year old girls should not base their opinion of themselves on the reactions of 16 year old young men. Neither should they look to the "say no to drugs" speaker that pumps them up at the student assembly telling the kids that they are so awesome. Not the English teacher who says they are "challenged" Not even their mom or dad who say they are so awesome.
We need to see what God sees in us. The Divine and the deep need for change in our lives. When we connect to God, there is no skewed view that you might see in the fun house at the carnival. Or worse the more slightly skewed views we might get from our friends, enemies and ever one in between. With God, we see ourselves most clearly. We see every potential and every obstacle that keeps us from it.
The problem with see ourselves as God does, is that we see through a glass darkly. We are imperfect and our own experiences and biology and sin cloud our perception. In order to see more clearly we must repent. We must rely on the grace of God to overcome damage in our lives that we did not cause. As we do, we see more clearly.
For me it has come in bits and pieces. Line upon line. It takes courage and time to see ourselves as God sees us. It is also the most amazing and liberating experience.
So what is a true friend? One as close to God as you can find. One who is loyal and friendly, courteous and kind. And blunt and energizing.
That is why I love the LDS church. It has a smattering of people in it that are like leaven to a loaf. People who you love to be around because you hope they rub off on you. People who really get the vision of Coming unto Christ. Being perfected in Him.
There was a time that I felt lonely for Jesus. My mind despaired as I thought of how Jesus could possibly be the friend to every being ever that needs Him. I gained hope as I thought of one way he might be able to accomplish this. He might give power to those who become his daughters and sons. Those who learn of him and walk in his ways. Those who through the grace of God become like Him.
I want a friendship with someone becoming like Jesus. I know that I am far from it. I know that much of the time I despair because of my weakness and how far it seems I have to go, But maybe I am in good company. Nephi and Mormon seem to esteem themselves in the same way I do. Do not be confused. I do not equate myself with them. But if they felt such despair and found redemption, I know that I can, If I never give up. Or if I decide to start again after I have given up.
My wife is one of the salt of the earth, the leaven of the loaf. I hope to be that for her. I consider her my best friend. I hope my Facebook friend will find such a mate someday.
1 week ago