Why Do We Need Friends?
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We have friends because we need to feel wanted, accepted and loved. As human beings, it is not right that we be isolated and kept apart from others. Being sociable creatures, it is only second nature that we look to others outside of our blood family to help and guide us on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, in our search for truly genuine friends, we sometimes make the mistake of placing our trust and respect in the wrong people…people who are not good for us and who take advantage of our kind nature.
In the quest for a sense of belonging, we tend to associate with those who actually hinder rather than help us on our life’s journey. Similar to love and relationships, we as individuals convince ourselves that we are not capable of having something different – and that this is how it is for us now and forever.
Young And Impressionable
When I was little, I was always the one who you would find reading alone in the playground. I was never the child who would be in the thick of the action – laughing and playing with all the others. I kept myself to myself and would only have a small circle of friends.
Although I was and have never been the life and soul of the party in social gatherings, I too have made the mistake of surrounding myself with the wrong people, and wasting my time and energy in bad company. I also went through a phase for many years where I wanted to please others.
Like many adolescents, I had the need to feel popular and fit in with everyone else. It has only been until recently that I have started to question just how much I have in common with those I spend or have spent a lot of time with in the past, and the truth is… absolutely nothing. Now, as stupid or even mean as that may sound, it’s a fact.
There was a time when I genuinely believed there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t loud or outgoing like others. I was quiet and didn’t talk too much – neither was I overly confident, and people would dismiss me as being weird.
Although, as I have got older it has suddenly occurred to me that being in the right company is what enables me to be the true person I want to be. Get me started on certain subjects – and I won’t shut up. Put me in a room full of people who love to talk about travel and culture… and I would be in my element without a second thought to whether or not I was shy.
In contrast, those who I feel socially awkward around is due to the reason I actually have nothing to say to them. In fact the more and more I spend around people in the office or at parties etc. the more I observe just how fake and false most people are.
We are always out to impress and try to be something we are not. I suppose being the stubborn child I was, I always just stuck out as someone who wouldn’t easily conform like everyone else. Instead of feeling insecure about it now – I actually feel liberated to have learnt this very basic lesson while I am still young.
My 3 Top Tips
So if you would like to start having more meaningful friendships that add value to your life rather than drain it – ask yourself these three questions.
- What do I have in common with my current circle of friends? When you are with your friend/s does the conversation flow easily and do you always have things to talk about it, or does it feel like a struggle? Having lots of things in common from your views in life to what you enjoy doing in your spare time is normally a good indication as to whether you are compatible with someone as a friend. If, however, you feel stifled and need to pretend to be interested when he/she talks – it’s not a good sign.
- Can I be my true self with my friend/s? Are you able to spill your guts if you’re having a bad day, or celebrate and be happy if things are going really well for you? A true friend should be consistently supportive and be there for you equally during the highs and lows. That means being a shoulder to cry on when need be, and raising a glass to you when you’re on top of the world.
- Am I inspired by my friend/s? When you spend time with them do they make you feel good and are you better off having been with them? Do they actively encourage your direction in life and believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself?
If you can answer yes to all of the above, then you are very lucky. True friends are hard to come by. If you have answered no to one or more of these three points, then perhaps you need to be casting your net further afield for some new company.
If you’re not sure whether it is worth remaining friends with someone, then think about all the positives and negatives of the friendship. If the negatives outweigh the positives then why are you friends with them? How do they enrich your life?
Friends are the people who make us laugh, who comfort us when we are sad and who build us up when we are feeling hopelessly low. Our friends will stand by us when no one else will and no matter what life throws at us they will always be there, without judgement, without any ulterior motive or begrudging feelings; they are just there… simply because they care about us and have our best interests at heart.
They believe in our dreams as much as we do and personify our values and principals. In a nutshell, a true friend is someone who enriches our life just by being in the same room as us, because we are inspired by their energy. Companionable silence can be enjoyed without words even needed to be exchanged.
Now…. why should you settle for anything less?