The current connotation of the phrase "a friend in need is a friend indeed" tends to be a very cynical one. It's usually meant in the sense that someone who needs something is easy to be taken advantage of, or they're willing to act very friendly to get what they want. It's a great phrase for budding mobsters and desperate charlatans. I think it's probably the product of using the phrase in a few too many television episode and movie titles in an ironic fashion. What's sure is that nowadays it doesn't get carried around as a banner of service much.
It turns out that the real meaning of the phrase is much more true and honorable. A friend in need is a friend indeed. When you have a friend in need, it gives you the opportunity to serve that friendship properly. Isn't that neat? (source)
We all have people we talk at, and people we talk to, and if we're lucky we have people we talk with. ("with whom we talk" but, whatever) - Whether it's coworkers and people you hang out with, people on the internet and family members, any of them can be "at, to, or with." Sometimes it's the necessity of a friend in need that creates the opportunity for transitioning from "at" to "with." Sometimes that transition never happens, for any number of reasons. But it doesn't hurt to try.
Is anyone in your life a friend in need?
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