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The Value of Friendship: What are true friends made of?

Jess C. Scott said, "Friends are the family you choose". Do we really choose our friends? I don't know if we choose who our friends are and they choose us or if it is a mix between choice and fate. What I do know is that we have a say in our friendships.

Usually when someone meets me the first time, they see me as a social and extrovert person. I do love people and I truly enjoy being around them, so I get why would someone describe me in this way. Maybe some even assume I have a bunch of friends as a reflection of my open-minded personality.

I have indeed met a lot of people throughout the years, including while I lived abroad in different countries. However, during my teen years, I struggled with making friends. I switched schools quite a lot and I was never the popular girl. I have no intentions of painting a dark scenario! It was not like I was getting bullied or mistreated. I just felt out of place, like I didn't belong. This feeling of non-belonging remained with me and grew deeper and stronger. Eventually, I knew I had to do something to adapt myself.

What happened after is that I found strategies to deal with my lack of belongingness. Some of these strategies included observing carefully other people's behaviors, listening to others more than I'd talk, agreeing with others' opinions even if I'd think differently, smiling and nodding even when I was tired or just wanted to scream. Among those, I picked up smoking which is something I'm not proud of until this date! As a teenager I thought I was doing what was right for me – if only I knew what this would cost me.

What is the link to friendship here? Well, for years this meant having a frantic social life without true friends, a rolodex of acquaintances without real connection. This also meant not knowing what having a true friend looked like. By the time I made my first true best friend, I had to quit a lot of bad relationship habits and relearn how to be myself around those who truly cared. Not everything was a waste – all that time observing and listening others came in handy for my understanding and love of people.

Surely, it took me a while to open myself up and build a deep connection. But when I did, I experienced the true meaning of friendship. I remember the relief I felt when I dropped my extrovert act and just poured my heart out. Nowadays I have a handful of friends to whom I feel incredibly grateful for.

Trust. Honesty. Empathy. Growth.

These are the elements I value most in a friendship. A friend is someone whose trustworthiness allows them to be empathetically honest while supporting your growth.

They may not always understand you and they may disagree with your opinions and choices, though they always care. They may not always know what to say or do, though they respect and value you for who you are. They may not be part of your daily life, though they are always part of you.

What about you, what do you value in friendship?



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