The Importance of Friendship
When I was in my first week of high school, I met the girl who would be my best friend. We had been given the task of collecting books from the office for our English class, and, delighted by being released from the classroom, we smiled at each other as we slowly walked through the dull brown corridors.
This girl would eventually be the one who I would miss most during holiday time, the one who I would chat to for hours on the phone about anything and everything, the one who I would confide dreams and frustrations to, the one who would stand by my side when I got married to my (now) husband.
Who is your best friend?
Where did you meet them?
What impact have they had on your life?
The people we surround ourselves with impact us the most. It’s often said, or written on cute cards and shiny plaques, that ‘friends are the family we choose for ourselves’. -Who is your chosen family? How do they encourage you? How do they make you laugh? How do they help you? For we all need help!
Through the unprecedented activities, or rather – restrictions – of this year, it has been amazing to see how people have been motivated to help others. Neighbours said hello to each, perhaps for the first time in years. Shop assistants have frantically scurried around their stores gathering items for home deliveries. Religious communities have transformed their services to be able to support and communicate with people through online methods. Volunteers have dropped off shopping and said hello to isolated individuals through their front window. An unending amount of video messages, photos, postcards, letters, and texts have been sent to check in on each other. And countless rainbows have been drawn, painted or coloured to remind us all to hope. For most of us in Europe, there has not been such an outpouring of friendship and support in living memory.
”Friends are the rare people who ask how you are and then wait to hear the answer.” – Ed Cunningham
It is important to have a person, or people, who genuinely listen to you and care for you. There are times when we need to vent those things which annoy or worry us, or make us sad. There are times when we feel such happiness that we want to share that wonderful feeling with someone! Who do you have to share life with?
Why do we care so much? Why is friendship so important to us? Perhaps because it’s part of being human. We are made for community – to have others in our lives. There are few in this world who can survive solo – no matter how introverted we are.
The concept of ‘friend’ has changed somewhat since the dawning of social media sites such as Facebook. A ‘friend’ can now be someone who you went to school with 15 years ago, your mother’s hair dresser’s sister, that girl you met once in a pub sometime last year, or a current influencer for beauty, fashion or music. We long for friendships, for a connection to others. Often huge numbers of friends on social media is a quick way to be brought into a community. However, there are plenty who say from experience that a friendship is not made up of how many ‘likes’/retweets/thumbs-up/etc you get. What do you think makes someone your friend?
I don’t know if you realised, but International Friendship Day was on 30th July. What a great way to be reminded of the people in our lives who care for us, who make us laugh, who are also willing to kindly say if they think we are wrong on something! Someone has said, ‘Don’t take criticism from someone who you wouldn’t also go to for advice.” Who do you turn to when you need advice?
I recently sent a card to my friend, along with a nice bar of chocolate. It’s my tiny way to show her support and ongoing friendship, though now our lives have greatly changed since that first week in high school. We don’t see each other in person very often, but we still smile when we are together. We still share our dreams and frustrations, still chat for hours, ready to stand by each other no matter what.
”Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together” (Woodrow Wilson).