Friends indeed!

True friendship is a tree of slow growth, and friends are the most important part of our life

FriendsIn the increasingly "use and throw" society we live in, friends - relations that last a lifetime - are a solid support that keep us rooted to positive reality.

Last year brought me many pleasant surprises. Yet, I'd say none compared with a chance reunion with two school friends. Thanks to Batchmates.com, I connected with one who is now in UK and through her to another in USA. As I had only stayed in touch with two of our original group of seven, this was a bonus - renewing contact with readymade friends!

When my friend called me from USA, it was - as they say - like yesterday. We chatted over an hour, almost instantly launching into an animated conversation about our marital status [how typical!] - both unmarried, although for totally different reasons! As she shared her concerns of not "even" being engaged by now, and how she felt time was passing her by - in this aspect of life - I could feel her angst. She didn't have to spell out her inner state of mind; it was there for me to read. The intimacy in our chat was palpable. After all, we'd been friends. Heck, what am I saying, we're still friends!

This is one of the most beautiful facets of friendship. You meet an old friend - as we spoke after sixteen long years - and, the camaraderie or closeness was immediate, and as strong as ever, as though only sixteen days, or weeks, had passed.

This is what friendship is all about. It stays alive, in spite of your not having a clue of the others' whereabouts, or doings. Thanks to this, you are able to pick up the threads of the bond without any ado.

Pick and choose

I sometimes muse over the wonder of friends. It seems to me that much like stars in the sky, we form little constellations of our own, as we make our way through life. You could say that we don't choose our family, but we do choose our friends - the stars we connect with so closely.

After all, there were over 120 girls in our batch at school, but I specially "clicked" with just six of them. Today, I call scores of people colleagues, yet only a handful as friends. If you think of it, hundreds of people come into our lives. Sometimes, we confuse mere contacts with friendship, calling our many acquaintances our "friends," when they are really far less than that.

What measure would you use to whittle down your many associates to those who are true friends? I'd say friends stick around for you, and you alone, and no other reason. They have no hidden agendas tucked away. They don't hang around because of your fortune, or to use you as a stepping stone to success. Their interest, though it may sound boring, is plainly - you and your wellbeing.

Phone a friend!

Ever heard of the phrase, "That's what friends are for?" More importantly, have you ever experienced the high this stands for?

If you feel sorrow, just talking to a friend will work as a pick-me-up. If you're happy, sharing your joy with a friend will double, nay treble it. If you need a pep-up, confiding in a friend will do shoals to boost your confidence levels. If you've lost hope, a friend will point out the silver lining that you've overlooked.

Does this give you a hint about the health benefits of friends? Friends help you build a positive perspective so that you feel well-adjusted to whatever circumstances life throws at you. Thus, they balance your emotional health.

What's more, chatting with a friend is often easier than talking to a family member, irrespective of how close you may be. Why? Well - chatting is a far more relaxed pastime than conversing. It doesn't call for any preparation. No worrying about "How will s/he react?" or, "Will s/he feel hurt about so and so?" and it does not put you on your guard.

With friends, you can be spontaneous - just say it! Perhaps, this is why guys [particularly] enjoy hanging out with their buddies even after they're hitched. Pals don't expect you to fit into a role - husband, father, or son. They're happy for you to just be yourself, because their only interest is "you." Naturally, being "you" is easy, so spending time with friends works as a natural de-stressor.

No judgments please, we're friends!

With a friend, you can give vent to your concerns, or anger, without fear of ruffling any feathers. Most likely, a friend will eventually help find a solution to a pressing problem, or cause you to laugh away your predicament. Even when friends can't do much for you at a practical level, just opening up your heart to them is therapeutic. Issues automatically get diluted and you don't feel you're facing them alone, with- out support.

One reason why we feel it's easier to talk to friends is that they're much less likely to accuse, or make you feel guilty. Although friends often "tell it like it is," that is, in your face, without mincing words, they stay clear of more vindictive "I-told-you-so" phrases. This is because friends desire to know you for who you are, and accept you as you are.

In times of trouble, you may have the entire world pointing fingers at you for whatever reason, demanding explanation for your supposed misdeeds. Your friends, however, will stand solid by your side. They will not need your words - they'll just know. Do you know what they say about justifying your stance in such instances: "Your friends don't need it; your enemies will never believe it!"

Stay clear of fair weather friends

Difficult days are a test for you. But, in a sense, troubled times are also a test for your supposed circle of friends. The true ones will stand tall, while the others will fade away as though they never knew you. Friends certainly enrich your life, but only if they're not fair weather friends.

Undoubtedly, we'd all like to count a few good men and women as our friends. To a large extent, this depends on the kind of friends we make, as to have a good friend calls for you to be a good friend.

Choose your friends wisely. They may not share all your interests, but it is more important for you to share the same values. Remember, the character of the people you hang out with often rubs off on you. Boisterous, loud people may leave you feeling drained, or too excited for your own good. The company of critics may have you finding fault with everything and everyone you see. What kind of person do you want to be?

Your friends should reflect the best of your positive aspirations.

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