Friends are among the most valued people in our lives. Friendships are the basis of our social lives and measures of our happiness. It said that we can choose our friends but not our relatives, and that is a telling statement.
The point is that we come into life without friends and our choice of friends is our sole responsibility. We cannot choose to be born in a wealthy, poor, caring, uncaring family but we can choose the people we want to spend the rest of our lives around, in this sense we are all born equal.
The most important friendships are often those we make when we are young. School friends can be friends for life, teenagers make friends easily in a social environment conducive to friendship. Young mums make friends at the maternity clinic and then at the school gate. Men play sport, attend football together. Married couples share the novelty of starting a family and sharing their experiences.
In the early days friends are many and various, but as time goes by we get more selective and new friendships are formed more carefully, many of them based on sharing the ups and downs of adult life.
Not all friends are a good influence however and it is a wise person who seeks friendship with others who share their standards, share their humour and show their concern. It is said that ‘a real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out’ and among our best friends there is usually that kind of a relationship, it is called ‘loyalty’. We need friends who we can trust and who trust us. Friends have mutual love, care and respect for one another. We need to nurture such friendships.
It is true that some friends just seem to come as a gift. We don’t look for them, we don’t have to work at being friends, at least initially - they just arrive. Even so, as time goes by we need to work at every friendship. Another saying that has become popular is ‘the best vitamin for making friends is B1!
It should come naturally but in the pace of modern life we can neglect friendships out of business pressures and family life. That is a pity because although friendships come easily when we are young they are thinner on the ground when we are older so we need to look after the ones we have. It is also a sad fact that friends move away, some die and some marry partners that make the friendship difficult to continue.
Thanks to the internet we can now find long lost friends and relatives. It is interesting to discover that a close friendship can be picked up again long years later and it is just as though you had never lost one another. Finding a relative however can be quite a different story. Sometimes blood is not thicker than water.
Friends are a precious part of our lives, we will live to regret it if we lose some of them through neglect. It is pitiful to look back and wonder ‘What happened to .....’ when a little effort now will ensure that this question will not need to be asked.
If you have some very good friends of your own, you will have experienced that friends are not on the take, they are on the give. As one who is yourself a good friend you will have practiced this too. When so many people put themselves and their interests first it is a real privilege to have friends who don’t. Friends are like a breath of fresh air on a hot stifling day.
It is so much easier these days to keep in touch with friends, greetings on birthdays, short up to date regular letters, a phone call just to enjoy the sound of their voice all electronically enabling friendships to last a lifetime. There is no need to lose contact with a single one.