When was the last time you hung out with your best friend from grade schools? The one you told all your secrets to, had inside jokes with, even did a blood oath with? It’s probably been a while. The truth is we’re all time-poor. Arranging a friend date involves effort, conflicting calendars, partners and priorities.
As childern, we proclaim BFFs on the playground, only to experience painful friendship breakups as a pre-teen. Our lives, once centered around sleepovers and who sit next to in class, suddenly became a sea of work commitments, dating and extracurricular activities. We make friendship the foundation of our young lives, only to discover that in adulthood things change, people change and friendship falter. It’s tough. It can be isolating.
But it’s vital that in the process of building life, we don’t forget to build our friendships, too.
I’m not here to tell you how to manage your friendship better — only you know the answer to that. But no matter how busy you become, friendship is terribly, terribly important. When things get tough, you won’t be consoled by your five-figure bank balance, or your overflowing wardrobe. Trust me. You’ll need the people who get it. Who get you.
Friendship, to me, isn’t about birthday cards, or smiling selfies, or how long you’ve known eachother. It’s about knowing that that person is flawed and busy and not always available, and choosing to be in their life anyway.
Admittedly, I’m not the world’s greatest friend. I can be woefully slow at replying to WhatsApp messages. Maybe, as we navigate adulthood and all it entails, that’s what true, realistic and long-lasting friendship is all about?
The scientific literature offers plenty of insight on what close friends do for us. They give us confidence and bolster our sense of self, especially during tough times. They increase our sense of purpose and belonging. And they significantly influence some of our most important behaviours. In other words, the people with whom you surround yourself have an enormous impact on your life. In many ways, they shape it.
Yes, these kind of relationships demand lots of effort and are hard to come by — “great friendships can only be felt toward a few people but they yield a wonderful sense of satisfaction and contentment”. It is a rare blessing to connect with people on this deeper level.
The greek philosopher ‘Aristotle’ defined different kinds of friendship and what I found couldn’t be more insightful, and it rings just as true today as it may have then.
- Friendship based on utility, in which one or both individuals gain something as a result of friendship.
- Friendship based on pleasure, or those centered around pleasant experiences.
- Friendship based on virtue, in which both individuals share same values (people whom you admire and respect, and with whom you align on what you find most important in life).
And I completely believe that the friendships based on virtue are ir-replacable.
Thank you SO much for reading. If you enjoyed this piece, it’d make a world’s difference in my day.