What is a “friend”? Friend: “A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” In other words, “one that is not hostile.” Okay… maybe it’s a bit more than that, but friendship means a lot to many people, many saying that friendship is a blessing. Friends are always there through the mountains and the valleys. They can also influence a person greatly, and everyone should have someone like my good friend Sam, an amazing and influential friend.Samantha Savelkoul, a quiet freshman at Cambridge Isanti High School is one of my best friends. Sam and I, of course, had met earlier, but we really got to know each other in seventh grade. My usual friend group at the time had not been the nicest to me and I knew I needed to find new people. I found Sam through Mackenzie Pruden, another freshman at CIHS. I joined their table at lunches and found that I really belonged with these guys. She and I clicked right away and I soon gained her trust. Sam and I have hung out many times over the years, but there are just a few that stick out very prominently. Two years ago (2016), Sam and I hung out for New Year’s Eve. We laughed a lot and completely lost track of time, enjoying the time we spent together. Another time Sam and I hung out was just this month. She and I laughed and laughed about the silliest little things.Thinking back, Sam has influenced me and many other people. She is the first person I go to with my problems. I like that I can still trust her after three years of being friends. We are able to share little jokes with each other in the wee hours of the night, and still find each other as not annoying. I thank Miss Savelkoul for being there when I need a person to lean on. She is most definitely my most influential friend.Edna Buchanan said, “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” That, of course, is true in every sense of friendship. If a person chooses to surround themselves with many many friends, they will not know the true meaning of friendship. That sense of family, comfort and happiness one gets when with one’s friends. Influential friends are the best friends, just like Sam.