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In life, there are different types of relationships that a person can possess and experience. One of these is the relationship that people have with their friends. At a very young age, people are encouraged to meet other people and interact with them. This is usually where friendship begins. It has to have a strong foundation to last forever. In addition, a friendship also has to have loyalty, acceptance, understanding, and love. “Friendship is a special sort of relationship between folks that is voluntary, informal, dynamic, and satisfying, one in which clear communication exists side by side with mutual acceptance and where the people actually like each other, and value one another’s company” (Dawley, Dawley, & Frazier, 2000, p. 8).
Friends are there for a reason and the number one would be to have people that can serve as companions. Experiences in life are much easier and happier if it were shared with others. If a person was to take a road trip around the country and decided to go alone, he or she will have a good time and would be able to learn more about him or herself. However, the person would more likely have a better time if he or she took the trip with friends because they would be able to interact and would have the chance to enjoy the sceneries together. To make it clear, there is nothing wrong with being alone. In fact, being alone allows a person to reflect on his or her life, and would make him or her independent. Still, friends can brighten a person’s day anytime and they have the ability to make an experience unforgettable for an individual.
The best-known reason as to why people believe that it is important to have friends is that they are able to provide help whenever people need it. True friends always have time for each other. They help without any questions asked and they do not judge because they believe in their friend’s decisions. Problems are a daily occurrence in life. As good as it is to develop certain skills and abilities that would enable people to handle such difficulties, there will always be times and situations where people would need help. Having friends around that they can depend on or even for moral support can lessen the gravity of such problems.
There is no doubt that life is happier with friends around. There are so many activities that people can do as friends. However, this is not to say that friends always need to do something to have fun nor do they have to be in large groups to feel happy. Friends can hang out and talk and this can be considered as having a good time. This can be done by two persons or as many as 20 people. It does not matter as long as everyone is enjoying their time together and making the most out of their experience.
There are people who believe that they do not need friends because they have their families or partners to share their lives with. While this is true, the experience that friends can give is still different from those that families or loved ones can provide. A person can be his or herself in front of his or her friends without holding back because they are not afraid of what these people would think. Friends are able to provide advice that family members would not normally give. The comfort that friends can give to each other is entirely different from that given by family members.
There are things that set friendship apart from family. In the family, there are certain restrictions with regards to the stories a person can tell or the secrets that are revealed. These restrictions are due to the fact that most of the time, people spend their time outside of family – in work, school or places of interests. That is why these experiences are more easily understood by friends rather than family. Friends tend to understand better the situations, which involve experiences outside the home. Therefore, they are able to offer advice and share experiences better than family concerning these things. There is also a status quo, which must be kept inside the family. Parents are power figures, and, therefore, would rather keep problems away from their children especially when they are too young. Here, friends are better to talk to than their children. Likewise, children and adolescents going through the rigors of puberty are expected to withhold certain information they do not want their parents to find out for various reasons. In such cases, friendship helps them from being alienated and friends can offer comfort, security and help that they are reluctant to ask for inside the home.
Friends also tend to give a person a wider look at the world. Having different people around you with different perspectives and opinions can broaden your mind and help you learn new things. They can offer a new way of looking at things or maybe teach certain skills and make the person a better person. That is why having people around you, with whom you can share yourself as well as learn from, is essential in one’s development as a whole person. It allows a person to realize that it is not only his or her opinion that matters and that there are other sides of the story as well. For instance, a person can decide to continue his or her studies while working. That person’s friends can offer opinions about telecommuting and the different schools that the person can apply to so that he or she can choose the best option available. An individual can learn how to become more open-minded about things through the help of his or her friends. This is especially seen in a group of friends who come from different backgrounds and who have different perspectives in life.
However, there are some people who believe that there is more to life than having friends. They believe that they can survive the harshness of the world on their own. This is sad because having friends and having a social life is important to proper growth and development. A person will not be able to experience the most of out of life if he or she does not experience having at least one friend to share it with. It is always good to have someone to talk to other than a family member because a friend can divert one’s attention to the problem, especially if the conflict involves family issues.
Some people might say that as good as friends are, the family is more important. This might be the case for most people because they consider families as their closest relationships. They are the ones whom people grow up with and are most comfortable with. When all friends have left, family members will be the one to pick a person up. Family ties are very strong, and friendship cannot compete with this. Still, it does not decrease the importance of friendships. In cases where people have very bad home lives, friendships become their blanket of security, offering them love, trust, and hope that their failed home lives could not offer them. Friendship and family life need not be pitted against each other. In fact, they are more complementary than most people think. They make for a better growth and development of a person because there are things families can offer than friends can and vice versa. Having friends, therefore, makes up for any deficiencies in families as well as offer things family life could not.
However, this does not say that all friendships are beneficial to the person. The world is a messy place with many dodgy people. Friend come and go and this is a fact. Many times, people say that friendship is not important because some friends do not stay for a long time. These friends are only there for the good times and abandon people when the going gets tough. While others are pretty good friends for a while and then drift apart. The former is a bigger problem than the latter because of bad friends for most of the times are not friends at all. These people are mere acquaintances or people who are taking advantage of some benefit for themselves, which they find in the relationship. There are also times when friends cannot help but separate because this is where their lives lead them. Friends cannot always be together at all times. They will drift apart. Some will have the opportunity to rekindle their relationship in the future but others will completely forget each other as time passes by. The true test here is if a friendship will stand against time and space. True friends will always be friends no matter how long they have been apart or how long they have not spoken with each other.
For the people that have found true friends in each other but have drifted apart, the importance of such friendships cannot be denied. Unlike families, we choose our friends. We also choose not to be friends anymore. This is not such a bad thing because sometimes when the foundations of friendships do not hold anymore, they become restricting. In order to grow into a better person, we choose friends that are able to help us along the way even if it means growing apart with some of our past friends. However, the experiences we have had with these friends, the symbiotic relationships we shared and the lessons learned will never go away. These relationships make us who we are even if these relationships have ceased to exist. Therefore, regardless of the fact that friendships tend to end, the importance of such relationships cannot be denied.
This is why friendship should not be compared to other relationships such as those of husband and wife or family or those casual acquaintances at work or school. Friendship is an entity of its own, with its own benefits and risks. They offer something unique to the table, which makes it irreplaceable in a hierarchy against other relationships. Friendship is able to do what other relationships cannot and they are also devoid of things that other relationships are able to offer. However, all these relationships make up for a complete and whole life and the importance of each kind of relationship cannot be stressed enough. No matter how much people would deny it, having friends is one of the best things that a person can have in life.
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