If you were to ask someone, “What is the meaning of friendship?” there’s a big chance that most of their answers would vary. After all, like most relationships, friendships differ between individuals despite sharing several experiences.
Friendship, in a nutshell, is a gift. There’s nothing quite like knowing somehow who knows and understands you the way a true friend does. However, that deep relationship doesn’t start immediately. If anything, it takes a while before we consider such a relationship a “real friendship.”
As children, it was easier for us to make friends. If you went to the same school, or had the same favorite color, you were practically best friends for life. The simplicity and innocence of youth can be refreshing, but also naive. Children, as you know, have simple interests. Hence, their way of making friends is also simple.
However, when we grow older, our standards change. Circumstances like taste in music, fashion, popular culture, movies, and TV shows play a big part in high school. Teenage friendships come at a tumultuous stage in life. As a result, it’s not uncommon for many “friends” to suddenly turn on each other. It’s not necessarily bad, of course. After all, the stage between childhood and adulthood is not easy. This is the part when you start to realize what kind of person you are and who you want to be with.
When we were children, we repair our friendships with apologies and playtime. As teenagers, it may require more effort; even then, it’s not a guarantee that the relationship will mend. As we grow older, we finally realize that real friendship requires hard work and effort like everything else in life.
Now that we are adults, we realize that such friendship opportunities are not as plentiful as in our youth. We now know it’s not as easy as suddenly declaring you are friends with someone you just met. Now we know that this label requires two people to share at least mutual like and respect towards each other. You can’t just claim someone is your friend. Plus, even if you happen to work in the same environment, you’re “work friends” at best.
When all is said and done, and one of you has to leave, that work friendship may also end. As cynical as it may sound, it’s actually hopeful. Friendship, no matter how brief, is still valuable. Sure, you may not be each other’s ‘forever friend,’ but sometimes, a simple relationship is enough.
There is no simple answer. As we grow older, the answer to “What is real friendship?” becomes less simplistic. We may not always look for people with the same interests like before. Now, we’ll subconsciously look for people who share the same values. When we decide to share our thoughts and feelings, we must understand that maintaining the relationship is also important.