When we want to exercise our body, we go to the gym, we walk, we jog, and so on. Similarly, to exercise our brain, we read, we write, etc. However, have you ever thought about how we exercise our personalities? We do this by interacting, building and maintaining relationships with people. One of the most potentially significant relationships of this kind is friendship. Therefore, just like the exercise of the body and brain are essential elements of a healthy and happy lifestyle, so too is friendship.
But what exactly is friendship? As wise-guy Albert Camus said, “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Friendship is a relationship of mutual support, full of compromises to provide happiness to the other person. Thus, the planting and nurturing of the seed of friendship is an exercise of our personality, helping us growing as people.
All of our lives are eventful and dynamic: a minor flight with a partner, a drop in grades, the passing of a loved one, or even the burglary of one’s chocolate stash. Nonetheless, we require friends during and after these happenings. Be it positive or negative, sharing and expressing our feelings when we are undergoing emotional turbulence not only helps the release of emotional build up but may, through a healthy and natural way, help the individual find a solution to the problem, having achieved a more composed state of mind. However, it is essential to remember that friendship is not only about sharing our troubles but also our happiness, because, as Paolo Coehlo said, “Happiness is something that multiples when it is divided.”
Friends are also major influences on different parts of our lives. Some become our consciences guiding us as our guardian Angels and Demons. As we grow from teenagers into youths and then into adults, we begin to make friends who significantly shape our beliefs, values, and personalities which help us discover who we truly are. Good friends boost our self-confidence and worth whilst ensuring we remain grounded and encourage us to stay away from unhealthy surroundings. Some merely give us reason to see a silver lining during our lowest phases. They provide a perspective that helps understand the rights and wrongs of life. Such friends provide us with the comfort that wherever we may be, however far apart we may be, we will always belong together as a group of friends.
Complications in friendships are common and are best dissolved through conversation and communication. But that’s not news. Sometimes when there is substantial conflict in a larger group of friends, it is difficult to sit down and tackle issues head on. This is particularly the case when the group contains relations purely based on third-person mutual friendships.
Some of us forget that different friendships have different levels, which means that we cannot hold the same expectations for everyone. In other words, although friendship is a two-way street, understanding the extent and limitations of both directions of that street is incredibly important. A misunderstanding is commonly the root of many conflicts which can grow, resulting in unhealthy outcomes on both individuals but also third parties who are forced to ‘pick a side’. Here, it is important that problems are sorted out personally and maturely without allowing outsiders to be affected negatively.
Overall, albeit friendships fluctuate, without friendship, none of us could live a healthy and happy life. Without the beauty of friends, a rainbow would be black and white, a summer would have no sunlight, and life just wouldn’t be right!