Psychology | Friendships
How many friends do you have? Do you you have lots of friends whose company you enjoy? Or do you have a few friends who are very loyal to you. We often don’t even think about what friendship is or how important it is.
We form human relationships because we are basically social animals and act collectively rather than just individually. Beliefs about friendships, vary from person to person. Some people have lots of numbers in the address book of their cell phones and call them often. They have a good social life, going out with friends drinking and eating. But are those friends who seem such good fun real friends? Would they be the friend who brings you a bunch of grapes when you’re in hospital or listens to your problems when you feel down? Many people feel that’s the job of family, not friends. Friends are just for having a laugh with.
The nature of friendship has changed in the past few years with new and different relationships forming online through social networking sites. It seems obvious that some of these ‘friends’ might give you some emotional support, but it seems they are unlikely to be helpful in practical ways. They can add strength to your believes, if you have common believes. Political campaigns often mean people are grouped together on social networking sites like Facebook. People with right wing views tend to have friends with similar views and people with left wing views collect friends who support their ideology. I think my friends on Facebook tend to be fairly diverse in their political views. There are religious beliefs too and some of my friends share religious posts, share this if you believe in Jesus, kind of posts. I also have friends who are agnostic and some who have turned being atheist into a religion!
To become friends with people, we have to have something in common with them. If that is simply a love of good food or alcohol, then the friendship will be fairly superficial. If your friends use expressions like, ‘we have a laugh don’t we?’ Then they probably aren’t taking the friendship too seriously and you shouldn’t expect them to turn up with grapes or flowers when you’re in hospital. Loneliness can be the common factor in friendship and if both parties recognise that, then the friendship can become very close and valuable.
We often expect a lot from friends, we expect loyalty, but they give us a little companionship, they are really offering nothing more and expecting nothing more in return. We can take our friends for granted and that can lead to a resentment building up over a period of time that can lead to the end of a friendship, when we just go too far in our demands on the friend. It might be acceptable to borrow from a friend, but there is a limit to how much you use the friendship for your own aims.
Friends tend to be there to be used and if your use your friend’s generous nature, special skill or even their time, then they can ask you for something in return without feeling an undue obligation. It is a good idea, if you are taking advantage of a friend to consider first what you can do to repay them. Frequently, just supporting them in whatever they are trying to do is enough. If you criticise them, whether they are aware of it or not, that is undermining their confidence and not a friendly thing to do. Friendship is about helping your friends believe in themselves, because you believe in them enough to be their friend. If you don’t believe in them, you’re not a real friend and if they don’t believe in you; they’re not a real friend.
My friends are important; both of them… How about yours? Please comment and share your views.