Linguists make it clear that the meaning of words changes with time. Check out the meaning of “silly” as it changes from Shakespeare’s to our present usage. Very interesting. They tell us that to try to keep our language usage constant destroys the meaning of a living language.
So one of the words that has undergone a lot of change in recent years is “Friend.” To the detriment IMHO. When I was a young man my dad would often say to me that friendship should be treasured, that if you can make a few good friends in your life then you are very lucky.
Clearly this has changed in recent years. Probably it started with Facebook. What did it mean when I overheard someone talking about their 2083 friends? Another change that confused me was when people started talking about “friends with benefits.” This was always said with a wink and a smirk and I would smile along, although I had no real idea what they were talking about. Not until this trip. When we arrived at Elden’s it began to hit me, and then when we got to Jim and Mary’s it started to sink in. Now, as we are approaching the City of Brotherly Love, I get it. When Shelagh and I get there and Larry and Linda open the door, and they ask us “would you like to use the laundry? You can use the washing machine and dryer as much as you want…” we are “friends with benefits.”
Now I finally get it.