In these times of unavoidable social malady, I can’t help but think about people I know, outside of my home, where I have been staying 24/7 for almost 106 days now. Truth be told, its only 105 days and 22.5 hours for I went out a couple of times for very short errands. To make the story short, I just miss my friends! Not that I’ve had enough with my boys at home, but I just look forward to being with my girls, for a change!
All these triggered me to look deep into friendship and to air my thoughts about this unique outlet of humanity’s much needed belongingness outside of blood and marriage. I am not in anyway, an expert in this area.
Actually, I need help myself since I have quite just a few close friends to vaunt.
Forgive me, but for the sake of documentation, I would like to harp on about how many friends I have. Three childhood peers, 2 of which, I haven’t talked with in years; a grade school gang, a high school pal, but with whom I wasn’t able to click with through (high school and) college; one close friend from church; two best friends from college; and several, several chums from work (a chunk of my close friends today come from work); my husband (yes, he is truly one of my best friends); sisters-in-law, plus my new-found mom-friends from my son’s school are all I have. This is my Friendship Profile and since I am counting more than 10, with whom I have spoken with, fairly of late, I think, I can say that I have been friendly enough. Or not?
Here and now, however, realizing that I have a lot more friends from work, I might be what can be considered as a convenient friend. Work is where I spent most of my pre-pandemic time in, and after giving this a thought, I’ve learned that I have a lot less friends from the past segments of my life. Now, I am regrettably thinking, if I have only been more assertive and thoughtful to nurture the friendship I have had, then I would have probably brought more to my now.
Let the digging deep begin. What is friendship?
According to Wikipedia, Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association. It is an essential aspect of relationship building.
The first sentence implies that to be friends, you have to like one another. The second, though, adds that it should be stronger, or probably, deeper than just a mere association. But then, the third sentence lightens it again, inferring that friendship, in itself is not yet a relationship, but a foundation.
How do we make friends?
In childhood, we make friends by playing. Throughout our educative years, we become friends with our classmates because we study (and play) together. This, I believe, is true from preschool to college, and even higher education. Then, at work, we also make friends with our officemates, co-teachers and co-workers, because we work together. I, therefore, conclude that if we do something together, we become friends. But, it is not as easy as it seems, for we have had N number of people in our different circles over the years but we don’t call all of them our friends, except in the context of Facebook, right?
When do we call a person our friend?
According to personalexcellence.co, there are broadly three types of friends:
- Acquiantances (Hi-Bye Friends)
They are the ones at our school or work and we see them because context calls for it. When context is removed, there is no relationship.
- Regular friends
They are our social activity buddies. We catch up and hang out with them and we can talk about regular topics.
- True soul friends (Best friends)
They are the people we can talk to everything about. We trust them to be there when we need them, and them, us. They go the extra mile for us.
Clear as day, we can call everybody we know as our friend and categorize them later in our heads, whether they are one of our Hi-Bye, Friend-friend or Best friend. In my honest opinion, we don’t really need to. Why don’t we just let things be and watch what happens?
This friend-typing is good in that it gives us, what can be, a Friendship Rubric. We can then, use it to “promote” our friends lagging behind. I know some people who are “satisfied” with their one best friend. And I have also read somewhere that having a few true friends is better than having a lot. I just cannot stop myself from imagining a world where everybody cares for everybody. People going the extra mile for another is the dream. Yes to world peace! And the more (true friends), the merrier, so I hope!
How do we become a true friend?
Au.reachout.com defines a good friend as:
- is there for you, no matter what
- doesn’t judge you
- doesn’t put you down or deliberately hurt your feelings
- is kind and respectful to you
- is someone whose company you enjoy
- is loyal
- is trustworthy and willing to tell you the truth, even when it’s hard for you to hear
- laughs with you
- sticks around when things get tough
- makes you smile
- is there to listen
- comforts you when you cry
Of course, you have to like each other first. That is the first parameter of being friends, for me. You have to agree on certain, but not all things. I also happen to think that you have to be in the same class, despite the age, gender, status and other worldly measures. You have to see each other eye to eye, hence, respect one another for who you really are is there. Finding this person, I guess is like finding your soul mate. We should never let it go to waste.
How do we nurture our friendship?
Lifehack.org lists these 10 tips to help keep more good friends:
- Make time to connect
- Set and respect boundaries
- Communicate mindfully
- Be open to feedback
- Keep them accountable
- Get to know them personally
- Give them space
- Build trust
- Resolve disagreements in emotionally mature ways
- Be a positive force
If I may add, opening ourselves up would also be a plus. Letting them know of our weaknesses and strengths so they know when and when not to come in. These, I have learned through the years. It does not pay to be avoidant to being attached. Let yourself go, so someone may have the opportunity to catch you.
I say, let us not be one of those close-minded peeps who say they have plenty of friends and that they do not need any more addition. Friendship is one of God’s precious gifts to us as humans. If you refuse to share it further, then might as well, lock yourself up in a cage, if you know what I mean.
I pray for more true friendship for myself and the husband and that we stay BFFs with each other until the end of time. Yes, I meant to be redundant. Also, I pray that my son finds true friends as he grows up and that they will be a positive force for him, instead of otherwise. How could I forget the very subject of my writing? I ask for the same, for best friendship, for my past friends (It is never too late for us), present friends (May we nurture what we have now) and future friends (I am excited to meet them). And yes, I pray for world peace, which I believe can be achieved through friendship.