The Art of Friendship.

Life is a revolving door of lessons and mistakes.  Do you remember the first lesson you ever learned?… You were probably taught it in grade school.  No, no I am not referring to “keep your hands to yourself.” I am talking about the lesson called “how to make friends.” In this lesson we were taught to say ‘hello,’ smile, and introduce ourselves.  Elementary school was an institution that focused not only on academic skills, but on the importance of social skills. We were taught the meaning of teamwork and found ourselves playing together on the playground — little did we know, we were making friends..

Later on in life we were taught how to drive, how to apply for college and eventually how to apply for a job.  Throughout our careers we are coached on ways to develop as professionals. We are given tools on how to get better..  Similar tools and resources are provided to us  when it comes to relationships . Everywhere you go, you see articles on how to find a relationship, and how to raise children or how to train a puppy, but why don’t I ever see articles on how to make friends?

So i’ve been thinking…why is it we are surrounded by tips and tricks on how to foster romantic relationships, but not friendships? Why we are beat over the head with the idea of love and couples and romanticism….? Can’t find someone to date?? —  maybe you are just TOO busy! Don’t worry  there are a million websites available at your finger tips….but where does friendship fit in?  I haven’t seen one “friendship matching” website. Why is that? As adults why is no emphasis placed on the importance of having friends ? Do we no longer have the urge to invest in these types of relationships? Is it because once you find your “love” you don’t need to have friends, so just be lonely until that happens? What kind of message are we sending to the adult demographic? Do we not have the tools to really make friends anymore?.. are these type of relationships…. just not important anymore.

When was the last time you made a new friend? Not an acquaintance, not a co-worker, a friend….think about it.  Why is it the older we get the less and less likely it is that we make new friends. How come there are no “How to make friends” articles in Cosmo or GQ? Because the focus on “relationships”seems to only include those of a romantic nature.

I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends have had the same group of friends for a long time and I also know a lot of people who don’t have any friends.  Hell, I can think of a handful of senior citizens that do not have friends. And no, your boyfriend or girlfriend does not count. I am talking about the – i’m having a breakdown– i need to call a friend.  I just broke up with said boyfriend — who is coming over to drink wine and cry with me. — Who can i call or text at 4am if I were having an emergency? Who can i stay up with all night and eat frozen pizza and play video games with? Who knows me (and still loves me regardless).  Who are your friends?

I agree that you don’t need a million friends in this world, just a few really GOOD ones will suffice. I have friends that I’ve known 20+ years and ones that I’ve known less than 2 years. I think I consciously put in an effort to make friends, and be social — it just makes me feel good to be around people.. I wish I had more time to be around everyone… I have also learned that my friends are the ones that have been there from the start and end of many conflicts. They have held my hand, gotten me drunk, hugged me, loved me, talked to me, sang to me, danced with me, and made any negative feeling in my body dissolve into laughter. They have been there and pushed me through the revolving life door.

I think as adults it is important to put in the effort to foster these types of relationships. So pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.  I also think society should teach us how to make friends (and maintain them). I think there should be more meet-up groups and places that strangers with similar interests can meet and talk, and interact without the constraints that any relationship that could develop HAS to be a romantic one.  I also think as adults we need to make it a priority to seek these opportunities out. Put yourself out there! Make friends! And  most importantly, put in the effort to keep them. If you see a lack of friendship in your life, you need to do something about it. So say hello. And smile. These simple things can go a long way.

So get out there…..and make some friends.

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