Opinion: International Day of Friendship and what it means to be a good friend

Tamlynn Torchon

We all (or perhaps most of us) have friends; those people who come into our lives and bring change. Of course, that change can be either positive, negative or nuanced. Those individuals, regardless of what they may bring, are necessary. Therefore, let’s talk about what makes a great friendship and how to keep it going for as long as possible.

Since July 30 of 2011, The United Nations has observed this date as the International Day of Friendship. As university students going through an important phase of life, do we truly understand what makes a good group of friends? Friendship is generally known as simply having friends, but isn’t it more than just knowing people?

Meeting people is never hard. You are attending a university, and you will have to meet new people, regardless as to whether or not you want to. That being said, having a friend starts with frequent meetings as acquaintances. Whether it is due to classes or group study sessions, there are commonalities (or maybe even strong differences) that will lead to interesting interactions, but this must be taken a step further to become friends. A friendship is formed when meeting this person or these people becomes an enjoyable and fruitful habit.

Why is friendship so important? Well, there’s only so much we are aware of as busy individuals. It is always great to have a reliable support system, as well as to receive commentary about our growth. Oftentimes, we may do things that we are unaware of, and a real friend always knows when to help us set things straight.

Interestingly, solid friendships are very good for your health. This bonding process has significant impacts in your life, from increasing your self-worth to releasing “happiness” chemicals to your brain. It is very good at combating depression and reducing blood pressure all because of the comfort a healthy friendship brings. Also, creating new bonds in college is a healthy habit to develop because it fosters communication and interaction skills we will need as future members of the workforce.

How do we maintain a solid friendship? Well, let’s remember that no one needs many friends, but we do need faithful and real ones. To maintain a friendship is to treat it like it is of great value to us; therefore, get to better know the person or the people. Preserve that bond by meeting, sharing and working together. Any shared activity will reinforce the friendship.

We must also be great friends, ourselves. That is extremely crucial. People are generally afraid to be used as commodities or be objectified for what they have rather than be appreciated for who they truly are. We must understand that they are not tools, but people who are rightfully in our sphere. Friends are individuals needing our attention and our respect as much as they give those things to us. There is mutuality in friendship: what’s given must be received and vice-versa.

People have so much to bring into your life, and you have the ability to do the same. Often times, we forget how important it is to share your life and intimacy with people who truly care. Let’s try not to forget that, as students, one of our major problems is that we forget faces instead of trying to understand them. Everyone is going through something, especially during their academic years. Perhaps if we stop and simply greet someone, it can change someone’s outlook on things for the better.

It is important that we cherish our friends and remind them of their special part in our lives. Therefore, happy International Day of Friendship, and may positive and healthy friends flood your life to contribute to your joy and success!

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