When I think of friendship, I think about a relationship between two people that comes in the form of a deep personal bond. The best thing about friendship is that unlike family, who someone is bonded to by blood and often has no choice in the matter, one chooses their friends depending on what they get out of the connection. Friends are supposed to bring out the best in each other. However, even when they bring out the worst in each other, they are there for each other through the hardship of it all. One of the best things about friendship is that age, gender or labels cannot contain it (Henrik, 2004). One can be friends with people from across continents and still make it work. I have experienced real friendship, and I know it is something one can rely on in difficult times.

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I met my closest friend when we were in kindergarten. I can’t recall the premise of our friendship, all I know is that suddenly, I was spending most of my childhood playing with her, talking to her, having sleepovers at her place. Most childhood friendships are based on friendships with parents, for us, however, our parents were never friends (Foot, Chapman & Smith, 1980). In fact, our moms seemed to have a disdain for each other. They hid it well, but we always knew. We ignored their disapproving looks when we spent time together. We spent more time together than we spent apart. At some point, we were even put on a timeout by our parents, they had us spend a whole week apart, and it felt like years. As we grew into adulthood, we learned that we don’t have to see each other every day for our friendship to survive.

When I was thirteen years, I went through a difficult time when a close family member died. I was so broken over the bereavement especially because it happened when he was away and though we talked to each other often, I hadn’t seen him in a while. When I received the news of his death, my best friend was at my side because my family knew I would need the support system (Coleman, 1980). She held my hand while I was told the news. For the longest time, she let me cry without interrupting, she knew I needed to let it out. She then listened as I talked and talked about my relative, she joined in the conversation but without intruding on my memories. Throughout the period, until I got back on my feet emotionally, she was there for me. When I was finally ready to join the rest of the world, she walked me through the pitiful looks of schoolmates who had witnessed my meltdown without complaint. It was the hardest period of my life, but she made it bearable for me.

Because my friend and I had been close for almost a decade at the time, we knew each other intimately. She knew how I responded to trauma and what I needed every step of the way, just as I knew her. Even though at some point I pushed her away and felt like I needed to be alone, she knew that was not what I needed. On the contrary, having support is crucial to me. I prefer to let things out rather than hold it in. I trusted her to keep me sane while my world was spinning out of control. When I had been out too long, she was honest about the fact that I needed to get a hold of myself and go back to school. I also needed to allow other people in my life to be there for me rather than living in a bubble with just the two of us.