What is a Friend?

Going all the way back to my younger years. I can still hear my mother, in my head, to this day, saying, ” Jesse, do you know what a friend is? Whats you idea of a friend.” And I would say, “I don’t know.” To this day I am still figuring it out. I still her her in my head.

There’s that little voice saying it over and over again. I almost get tired of hearing it. But that’s Mom, always with me.

To me a friend has so many meanings or definitions. There’s just not one way to describe it.

Before I came to prison I thought I had plenty of friends. One’s that I’d know from childhood or even one’s from highschool. I thought they would always be around. There was one that I was so close to, I felt he was like a brother to me. Again, I was wrong.

In here the word friend is a very loose term. For some reason people in prison use the term ‘ partner ‘. They will say “that’s my partner”. You just don’t hear many people say, “that’s my friend”. I attribute it to be just the lingo here in prison.

I don’t have anyone that is a all around friend. I have people that are different kinds of friends for different reasons. None that seem to over lap in any area to often. They all seem to have a purpose.

Friends for sports. Friends to just hang out with on the yard. Friends that I have that go in on meals to cook with, and different ones I go to the chowhall and eat with. One’s I can play cards with or just talk with about life. Some that are close enough to say they would jump in if I was to get in a fight….. I have yet to see that happen.

Friends that I get close to not because of any of these reasons but only because they are better off on my side than not on my side.

My Dad would always tell me, When in a bar, Buy a drink for the biggest or toughest guy first and befriend him, Get in good with him. Because if a fight breaks out, he’s on your side and now. He fights with you rather than against you……That could be because I went to shit hole bars too.

There is a saying I have heard throughout my time being locked up. It’s this, “I came to prison alone, I’ll leave alone.” That is so true. Really, everyone in here messed up some how. And most often, probably not going to be a good friend for the future.

If you have any questions or comments that you want to ask or share with me. Feel free to contact me at

Jesse Bailey
DOC #879476


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