The Importance of Meaningful Friendships

Looking back at the way life unfolded since that morning in February 2015 when I finally asked my now ex-husband for a divorce, I realize that I could have not embarked on and survived the rocky journey without the help, support, and very needed mockery and laughter from my best friend. For months, I suffered in silence knowing that letting go was the best chance I would ever have at blossoming the way I wanted. I decided to forget what I felt and remember what I deserved, and I was able to do this because I had a true friend.

Friendship is one of the most precious gifts anyone can receive. It is one of the greatest and most important assets one can accrue in life.  A person who has true friends is rich enough. Today, I am a filthy rich woman, as I have a few truly amazing friends whom I can count on in sickness and health, marriage and divorce, pregnancy and birth, and everything in between. Friendship makes life exciting, sweeter, and helps carve it into a pleasant experience. Always surround yourself with people who have your best interest and happiness at hand, because friendships are powerful forces that can lead us to success or to doom, if you choose the wrong posse.

True friendship should be sensed as a feeling of love.  It should be sharing and caring. It is a feeling that someone understands and appreciates you as you are, without any need for embellishment, adulation, and pretensions. It gives a feeling that you are wanted, needed, and respected, that you are ‘someone’ and not an unidentified face in the crowd. A true friend stands by you through thick and thin, and with each thick and thin life throws at us, these alliances strengthen to support and empower us. True friendship knows no boundaries or demarcations of caste, creed, race and sex. True friendship doesn’t care whether you voted Democrat or Republican, or whether you are a Libertarian or Green Party supporter. The essence of true friendship, as stated by the late Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue, is that which “awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.” In my case, my best friend has helped me realize that it is okay to be me, and that it is all I need in life to move forward, rebuild my life, and be a happier better mother for my children.

Friendship is both good and necessary at each stage in our lives. Whether we are toddlers learning how to share our toys, teenagers trying to figure out our place in the world, or adults with real life drama, we all need friends. For the most part, humans cannot live alone. We are social beings who seek others to share our ecstasies and sorrows. Generally, we try to find support with people of the same age, character and background, mentality, etc., because we believe these are the best candidates to understand our tribulations, but friendship has no age limit. I have good friends who are 10 years younger and good friends who are 10 years older. It is all about substance.

True friends are those we turn to when there is trouble on the horizon, when we are facing difficult times, and we need support. According to Cicero, “Friendship increases happiness and diminishes misery by doubling our joy and dividing our grief.” I couldn’t agree more. My divorce would have been twice the grief and half the fun had it not been for my best friend’s support (you rock RGD). For this reason, we need to select our friends very carefully. We have to remember that not all that glitters turns out to be gold, and that we must not fall for fake displays of friendship, which unfortunately, are far too common. Bad friendships can lead you through the wrong path, especially at vulnerable times, ages, and stages in our lives.

We spend a good amount of our time with our friends. Their mental state, behavior, and attitude affect us too.  Choosing friends wisely will increase your chances for happiness and success in life. Distinguishing between fair-weather friends and true friends can be difficult, especially during harsh times. Always remember that true friends endure the thick and thin with us, while the fakes only arrive on sunny days to eat your food and drink your beer. This will always be unacceptable.

The profits from the benefits of good friendships are many. Best friends reduce stress. Friendships give you a sense of belonging. Solid friendships help you manage health related issues. True friends will push you to find and practice more self-acceptance. Supportive friends make life’s difficult challenges less daunting. Having honest conversations with your friends will improve your mental well-being. Lasting friendships are better than any religion, government, marriage or business venture one could have. Good friends are the boundless pillars of life. They help us to stand tall and upright in life. Friendship can make or break us. It can lead to good careers and proper living. It is not about how often you meet your friends. It is about how much you care for one another in good and bad times.

True friendship is the greatest asset you will accrue in life because they genuinely make you a happier human.

To RSGD, my Anam Cara. Thank you. Life will truly suck without your friendship.

 

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