If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you probably remember the very popular TLC song, What About Your Friends. You might even remember the After School Special of the same name. The message from both the song and movie tells us one important thing: friendships matter.
Our true friends are a fixture in our lives. They help sustain us through the good times, and support us through the trying times.
Think about the people you call friend. I bet you can think of more than a few times when they have been there for you. You can probably even recall times when you’ve returned the favor.
To fully understand the power of friendship, you have to first really understand the meaning of friendship.
Psychology Dictionary describes friendship as:
A voluntary relationship between people that lasts a long time and those involved are concerned about each other. It develops from shared interests and experiences and is mutually gratifying.
The Stanford Encyclopedia adds that:
Friendship is undoubtedly central to our lives…because our friends can help shape who we are as persons.
It is important to understand that friendship in its truest form is backed by mutual love and respect. It should be an experience that you cherish, not something you dread. One of the things I always share with people is my firm belief that your friends should be people who can share in your vision and see significance in the things that matter most to you.
Do your friends respect your thoughts and ideas? Do they see the value in the things you hold dear? Encourage you to be better? Do you do the same for them?
Remember, no friendship, no matter how long-standing, will be perfect. I bet we’ve all said things like, “Nothing will ever get in the way of this friendship,” or “We will be best friends forever.” But sometimes life has other plans that we are too near-sighted to see. We will lose touch. There will be falling-outs. Boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses will come along and alter the dynamic of the relationship. Kids, new jobs, school, political or religious beliefs, and a whole lot more will be there to wedge a divide in the friendship you thought was invincible. We will grow apart, and we will change.
And in spite of all that, these things will not change the true impact of a friend. Recall the Stanford Encyclopedia definition of friendship…friends help shape who we are as a person. A true friend leaves a lasting imprint on your soul and your heart, and nothing changes that.
How have your friendships shaped who you are as a person? Join us on Facebook or comment below with your answer.
This article is intended for general education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or medical care. If you are interested in seeking professional counseling, please contact The Stone Foundation by clicking here, or by phone at 410-296-2004.
Melissa Brooks-Cuffee holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from Towson University: one in Psychology, the other in English. She has sustained memberships with both the Psi Chi and Lambda Iota Tau honor fraternities, and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. Melissa also volunteers with E-buddies-a program of Best Buddies International.