The Importance of Friends in a Fulfilled Life

Remi Ragland, Staff Writer

The companionship of another helps us lead great lives full of adventure, fun, and support. As we grow in life, some friends stay with us and some go, but each has an important impact on our futures. As friendships develop, we learn more about ourselves and the relationships we strive to create. Our friendships provide us with healthy benefits and it is important that we know how to maintain them through life. 

The relationships that are created with other people often give us a sense of purpose and a place in the world. Humans can benefit from significant physical and mental improvements simply through interactions and bonds with others. The New York Times even stated information from the AARP that “42.6 million Americans over the age of 45 suffer from chronic loneliness, which significantly raises their risk for premature death.” Loneliness is a highly debilitating factor leading to significant health issues, proving that friendships are more than essential to preventing the problem. Along with preventing loneliness, they help lead to a healthy immune system, a more organized and invested lifestyle, and the ability to connect with others for the rest of your life. The more you communicate and learn about the way others think, act, and live, the easier it is to sympathize, work alongside others, and receive the support you need. Junior Emma Mazzotta says, “Friendships are important because it’s good to have people there for you and be able to express yourself around people you’re comfortable with.” Having support through difficult times allows us to get through issues in a healthy matter, and gives an important outsider’s view into tough situations. 

Friendships begin at an early age, usually from simple mutual liking. These simple relationships begin with an attraction to people similar to ourselves. Freshman Bennett Adams adds to this by sharing that he finds friends from “sports and video games.” When we share common hobbies and interests with others, we tend to create a bond. It makes it more convenient to see each other more often and to engage in conversations and activities that both people enjoy. Friendships become a form of independence as we get older, as we now have the authority and responsibility of a relationship. Also, these connections deepen, often with factors of intimacy and greater awareness. As friendships deepen, they also might become more scarce or difficult to maintain. For example, adult Joe Ragland states that friendships are not the same with growing age as you “don’t see them all the time.” Friends move and progress with new families, career interests, and paths of life. Even through these obstacles, friendships remain important relationships to keep. 

Friendships are a mutual relationship. Both people involved have a liking and respect of each other, and one of the most important qualities that we desire is loyalty. Loyalty can come in many shapes and forms, but can easily be fulfilled by making time for your friend, showing you care, and holding friendships at a high priority. It is always important to accept and extend. If a friend invites you to an event, accept their invitation. If you are attending an event, extend an invitation to your friend! Friends pay attention to the effort you put into a relationship and will often match this effort to their own. They are a great resource for advice and companionship during difficult times. Senior Amanda Wong recommends to “keep up, check in, and make time” for friends. Simple efforts go a long way and ensure that a friendship stays authentic and reliable. 

Some may shy away from friendships because of fears of betrayal or vulnerability. Becoming friends with someone requires you to let your walls down and show your true self. Some may be wary of this idea because at any moment, a friend could switch their motives or desires. Although this is always a possibility in a friendship with another person, it is also true that the more friends you acquire, the more you learn about the types of people that are beneficial to your life and to you as a person. Through trial and error, we are able to discover signs of friends that might not be right for us, while at the same time, finding those who are supportive, loyal, and kind. With this mentality, we are able to acquire more knowledge about different types of people, helping ourselves find our perfect matches. 

Although times like today, especially with COVID-19, are known to be more difficult surrounding friendships and contact, there are still easy ways to make sure that these connections stay strong and mutual. Make a quick call or text to a friend to let them know you are thinking of them. Safely meet up with them and enjoy a shared activity! There are many ways to make sure you are balancing friendships appropriately, and maintaining ones that can provide life-long companionship.