Friends! How many of us have them? The 80s hip hop group Whodini summed it up perfectly! If you know, then you know! So are friendships important? Are they even necessary? What exactly defines a friendship? Well, when I think of a friend, I think of someone you can trust and confide in with your inner most thoughts. Trust is the key word there. It takes a lot for some people to be trusted with deep information. First off, there has to be a connection. There has to be some commonality between you and the person who could potentially be considered a friend.
Growing up as a kid in a very small town made it somewhat difficult for me to develop friendships. In elementary school, I had one good friend that I can remember that meant the absolute world to me. Then one day, that friendship changed somewhere between 5th or 6th grade. That’s the dreadful period in a young person’s life when the cliques form. I hated cliques. My so called friend decided she wanted to hang with the popular kids, and I guess I just wasn’t popular enough. I was devastated and hurt that someone who I grew to adore and even love to a certain extent just forgot about me like what we had was nothing. I think it made me a little hesitant to make new friends at all because I didn’t like that feeling of being let down.
Ok, enough with that sad story. So the point in all that is to shed light on the fact that a friendship like any relationship is what you make it. It can be beneficial, as well as damaging. It can build you up, or let you down. It can also be difficult to keep putting yourself out there to find those friendships when the ones that you’ve previously established just fall apart. However, maybe they don’t fall apart, but rather come to there predetermined end. I’m a firm believer that some people come into your life for a reason. Whether it be for the long haul or a brief moment in time, all relationships serve a purpose. Friendships are no different.
So are they important? As a school aged adolescent, I would have blatantly said no. However, as an adult in my early 40s, I would say friendships are absolutely important. Companionship is what most humans desire in life, and a friendship can provide that. I’m married, so my spouse is my friend. We started out as friends, which brings me to a very important point. Friends can look like many things. Your friend can be your spouse, your sibling, your parent, your grandparent and so on. I think a lot of people tend to get hung up on finding friendship in people we don’t really know all that well, but sometimes your best friend is someone who knows you better than you know yourself.
I have to be honest here for a moment and tell you that I too was hung up on that. I was thinking to myself that here I am 40 years old and have maybe two friends. I would think to myself, how cool it would be to hang out with my girls on the weekends, have brunch, and talk about our lives and what went down that week. I would go to restaurants and see tables full of women who just looked like they were having the time of their lives chatting and laughing hysterically, and I would think to myself I wish I had that. Then I realized that was nobody’s fault but mine. I realized that if I wanted that, I had to go out and get it. I realized that in order to make friends, I had to be a friend. Sometimes you have to make that first step and approach people. Not in a weirded out stalker way, but in a friendly, “hey girl how are you”, kind of way. Trust me, when you get older, it gets much weirder to make friends. Most people my age already have established friendships, and have no room for outsiders.
So the best advice I could give is to make friends whether it be with males or females. The first step is just to be friendly and approachable. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there. However, don’t neglect the ones right under your nose who would be willing to do any and everything for you at the drop of a hat. You may get hurt. You may get disappointed, but don’t close yourself off to the possibility of a long lasting friendship because camaraderie is necessary.