The United Nations (UN) has named 30 July the “International Day of Friendship”. When they made this day an international celebration in 2011 they said the idea is “that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.”
These are beautiful and inspiring words, but what does this mean for you in practical terms? After all, people don’t typically have friends for philosophical reasons. What we’re going to explore in this blog is what it means to be a good friend. What are the essential ingredients of friendship and why do people have friends?
People are social beings. We need to feel a part of something and to make social bonds. A good friend is somebody that you connect with, and who makes you feel connected to other people. No man is an island, the expression goes, and that means you!
Trust is key to being a good friend. A good friend is also part psychologist, so you have to be able to trust them with anything. You should be able to tell a friend your darkest secrets and not feel obligated to tell them everything is fine if it’s not. That requires trust and the understanding that your friend won’t tell other people everything you’ve told them.
Obviously, a good friend shouldn’t be exactly like you. What fun would that be if you were basically friends with yourself? You need some variety and someone to challenge your beliefs and assumptions. One the other hand, you can’t really be a close friend to someone you have nothing in common with. What would you do together? What would you talk about? Finding things in common is the cement that creates the first bond between friends. Whether it’s a love of music, film, sport, or literature, something familiar has to create that first spark of friendship.
These are just a few of our suggestions of what makes a good friend, but what do you think? What ingredients of friendship are we missing? We’re open to new ideas, just like a good friend should be.
For inspiration, read some of our other blogs about friendship like, “Better Together”, where we write about the importance of friendship in a pandemic and “The Importance of Friendship”, which we think is self-explanatory.
For each word below from the article choose the best definition, A or B
- 1. Practical (adj.)
- A. Training or preparing to do something
- B. Concerned with doing something, not the theory or idea
- 2. Expression (n.)
- A. Speaking, writing and communicating
- B. A word, phrase, or idiom used to communicate an idea
- 3. Camaraderie (n.)
- A. Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend time together
- B. Being social and friendly with others
- 4. Obligated (v./adj.)
- A. Follow the rules, exactly as they’re written
- B. Require or compel somebody to do something
- 5. Self-explanatory (adj.)
- A. Easily understood; not needing explanation
- B. Explaining something to yourself
- What do you think are the essential ingredients that make a good friend? Do you think you possess these qualities?
- Do you agree with this article? Do you think these qualities are essential in a good friend?
- Do you think similarities or differences are more important when you make a new friend? Why?