Growing up, I’ve always been a pretty independent person. I tend to shy away from large groups and instead, just do my own thing sometimes. I’m that person you see roaming the shelves of a bookstore alone, early on Sunday mornings. I like to go to cafes by myself or even take myself on mini “date” nights. Trust me, it’s not as pathetic as it sounds though. As long as I have my headphones, I’m good. I appreciate solitude and I believe it is an important aspect of our lives.
Although I value solitude and spending time alone, we all need friends. In class this week, we discussed the topic of “Friendship” and the variety of needs many people have in these types of relationships.
One necessity I think we all look for in our friendships would be the need for stimulation. This refers to the new ideas and experiences you can attain through becoming friends with someone of a different culture, someone of a different religion, someone older or younger than you, or even someone who is apart of clubs and organizations you’ve never heard about. We become exposed to new ideas and a new way of thinking about or looking at things and this is something I cherish in the friendships I hold. In the article BFFAEAE: 10 Qualities That Make Someone Your Best Friend For Life, the author discusses ten qualities she believes makes someone your best friend. In regards to stimulation, Deirdre McAndrew writes that a best friend is someone who changes your life just by being part of it. She states, “It’s someone you worked with, learned with, played with, partied with, laughed with, cried with and so many other things.” This made me think of my own friends. During my freshman year of college, aka last year, I met a great friend who I immediately knew would impact my life for as long as I live. Tiffany, being the passionate and energetic person she is, stimulated my mind and changed my perspective on the way I viewed so many things in life. After every conversation we had, I went home in a daze just lost in my own thoughts. I can honestly say that meeting her was one of the greatest things that have happened to me and I’ve become a little more of myself because of her.
Another important necessity in friendships would include the need for affirmation. And by affirmation, I mean the need for emotional support or encouragement our friends (hopefully) often give us. In the Elite Daily article, the writer states that a friend is also someone who “convinces you there is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it.” She goes on to discuss the idea that a friend should be there for you when you need them, claiming “when you’re down and the world seems dark and empty, your forever friend lifts you up in spirit, and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full.” Affirmation is a common need amongst us all because, let’s face it, we all go through tough times, and it’s nice to have someone on your side, helping you cope with any and every situation.
Likewise, we discussed key strategies in regards to maintaining a friendship. Two key strategies I believe are the most important in order to uphold a friendship include first, Self Disclosure between all parties involved in said friendship, as well as the ability of providing support for one another. This part of the lecture made me reflect on my own friends. I have been blessed with a handful of amazing friends I am truly thankful for, but I specifically thought of my friend Mina. Mina and I have been friends since middle school: a time when the terms “BFFAEAE” and “BFFL” actually meant something. We go to different universities now, hundreds of miles away and both travel to different countries during the summer, so it’s surprising we’ve remained friends this long considering our situation. However, because of our openness with each other, aka self-disclosure, we are extremely close. Every summer after we both return to the US and before we go our separate ways for school again, we meet up for lunch or dinner which usually turns into us talking about any and everything for over three hours. Needless to say, waiters at restaurants we frequent know what to expect when they see us come in. Another crucial strategy that has helped us maintain our relationship thus far is the fact that we provide each other with support. I know that I can always count on Mina. No matter what, she listens to everything I have to say and helps me in any way she can. And I try my very best to do the same for her. Although we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, because we work to maintain our friendship and provide each other with a variety of needs, we have succeeded so far.
They say many things in life come and go, but friends are forever. And that is something I truly believe.