Most people rely on their friends to have a good time and to get through the bad times. Friends can make our lives better in hundreds of ways, big and small. Despite this, a bad friend can also have an impact on our lives. Bad friendships have been shown to be a source of depression and anxiety (Selfhout et al. 819), meaning that is even more important to understand what it means to be a “true friend”. This paper will explore what being a “true friend” means to me, and the “true friends” that I have had in my life. I will mix my own personal experiences with friendship with some of the evidence that shows that a good friend is a benefit to our lives. This paper will argue that in order for someone to be considered a true frien he or she must be kind, funny, and supportive.
Firstly, it is important to understand what friendship is. Friendship is like a meeting of the minds – two people who enjoy each other’s company and that want to be around each other (La Greca and Harrison 49). Friendships can happen because two people share the same interests, or simply because they happen to be in the same place at the same time (Mathur and Berndt 365). Like any relationship, a friendship takes work. You must put in effort to make sure that your friend is getting the support and love that they need, and listen to them when they are having problems. In return, you get this benefit for yourself. Friendships have several similarities to physical relationships (and in some cases, can even turn into romance). They both require work, and both require that someone is kind, funny, and supportive.
In my life, I have had a lot of different friendships, both good and bad. One of my oldest friends I met in kindergarten. We were both five, and we both wanted to play with the same toy – I don’t remember which. She let me have the toy first but I decided that it was better to play with it together. Although we became friends because we were in the same situation, the fact that we both acted “nicely” meant that we became friends and ended up staying that way for a long time. We both still talk to each other every week and it is one of the most important relationships in my life.
It is also important for a friend to make you laugh. Studies have shown that laughter makes us live longer (Mathur and Berndy 366) and that stronger relationships are formed when people laugh together (Linden-Andersen et al. 19-20). These two factors are the reason a good sense of humor is an important quality to have in a “true friend”. Although we all need people that we can moan to or to talk to about more serious things, I believe a true friend will help us to laugh our way out of these situations and to allow us to see the funny side.
The final characteristic chosen is the trait of supportiveness. Supportiveness is important because humans rely on social support to build our networks (Holt and Espelage 984). Support coming from a good friend can be given in the form of laughter, as above, or lending a caring ear when we have bad things happening in our lives. A “true friendship” will require that both people are supportive because we each go through stressful things. Supportiveness is important because friends help us to get through the bad times and make sure that we are still around to enjoy the good ones!
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- La Greca, Annette M., and Hannah Moore Harrison. “Adolescent Peer Relations, Friendships, and Romantic Relationships: Do They Predict Social Anxiety and Depression?” Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 34.1 (2005): 49–61.
- Linden-Andersen, Stine, Dorothy Markiewicz, and Anna-Beth Doyle. “Perceived Similarity among Adolescent Friends: The Role of Reciprocity, Friendship Quality, and Gender.” The Journal of Early Adolescence 14.1 (2008): 18–25.
- Mathur, Ravisha, and Thomas J. Berndt. “Relations of Friends’ Activities to Friendship Quality.” The Journal of Early Adolescence 26.3 (2006): 365–388.
- Selfhout, Maarten HW et al. “Different Types of Internet Use, Depression, and Social Anxiety: The Role of Perceived Friendship Quality.” Journal of adolescence 32.4 (2009): 819–833.