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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Chen

The Value of Friends

Good friends can have a huge impact on your life in so many ways. They can inspire you to become a better version of yourself, introduce you to new experiences and while away their spare time with you. Good friends can give you support through tough times and advise you when you make mistakes. Good friends should not be taken for granted because they are hard to come by — it’s corny but it’s true!

When I am upset or facing one of life’s many challenges, I expect my friends to offer me emotional support as well as solutions for my problems. I would of course do the same for them. The most miserable people are those who care only about themselves, understand only their own troubles and see only their own perspective. I hope my friends can understand my feelings and worries, from my perspective, even if they do not share them. When I make a mistake or act inappropriately, I hope they would point that out instead of keeping silent to spare my feelings.

For me, being reliable and trustworthy is the most important trait in a friend. I want a friend that has my best interests at heart and would not betray me for their own selfish gain. I’d like it if my friends shared good and bad news with me, as well as useful resources and presents. Ideally, I’d like them to share similar values and outlooks on life so we can enjoy the same activities together and support each other to achieve life goals. A healthy friendship is when all parties involved know where they stand with one another and genuinely care for each other’s happiness and welfare.

In contrast, an unhealthy friendship is when one friend gives more – emotionally and materially – than the other; some friends may even be exploitative and cause you harm and suffering in the long run.

If I’m honest, I have never made a ‘real’ friend through social media. With regards to friendship and social media, I have felt more damaged than helped. I had a virtual connection to people who refused to talk to me in real life; I obsessively compared my achievements and lifestyle to others, which only wasted my time instead of inspiring me to achieve more.

I sometimes wish I never signed up to Instagram. Everyone knows it is faked to a large extent since nobody ever posts their hardships or even how people might have overcome problems, for the world to see.

What I value most in a friendship is connecting face-to-face and sharing difficult feelings as well as having light-hearted fun. I have not had friends who planned nice things for me for a long time.

As a teenager, I experienced lots of girls being insecure about their attractiveness. I witnessed some girls taking this way too far as they were willing to bully other girls, they perceived to be more attractive to reduce their confidence. I noticed how an entire friendship group kicked out one of their members after she started to become ‘sluttier’ (i.e., more physically attractive). The friendship group also spread rumours about her and persuaded other girls to stop being friends with her. This was a terrible thing to see and I regret not intervening.

To develop a healthy friendship, my advice would be to find people who share similar ideals to you. A good start would be to treat and interact with them in ways that you’d want a friend to behave towards you. Whilst friendship is a blessed, worthwhile thing to have in your life, you need to cut off and move on from anyone who does not give you joy and support. This advice is very important to your mental health.

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