Friendship, Then and Now

By on August 4, 2013
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Friendship, Then and Now

Friends are considered a necessity of life; an indispensable part of our existence. But it never ceases to amaze me how our understanding of the word and the dimensions of its meaning vary drastically with age.

How a person perceives friendship at the age of 16 varies greatly than at the age of 18, and again varies drastically than at the age of 24. The older we get the less selfless we are and the more we need to gain from our relationships with the people around us, especially our friends. When we are younger, in our teens perhaps, we have friends for the sake of having friends, and everybody has a best friend that they could sacrifice their blood for.

Friendships are built on blind trust and willingness to go to extremes to help your friend or make them happy. A few years down the road, we settle down and our needs increase, which is accompanied by a decrease in our willingness to give. We need more and we need to give less, and we are then perceived by our friends as selfish.

The way I personally perceive this change rotates around a single word; maturity. The way we rush into our decisions when we are teens is a simple cause of raging hormones and rebellion with no cause. These decisions include who we consider to be a best friend and who we sacrifice things for. The older we get; the smarter we become, the easier it is to slow down and think of things from all perspectives, putting a word such as ‘consequences’ into consideration.

Think of your relationship with your best friend when you were 16 and, if you still know that person today, compare your relationship with them back then with the present one. How willing are you today to skip work or class to be with your friend? How willing are you to drive your friend all the way across the city just so they could run an errand or satisfy a whim? I bet you need a really good reason to do something like that now.

So, does changing our perspective about friendship so dramatically make us bad people? Absolutely not. As I said before, it’s called maturity. We have simply reached a stage where we need to have a good reason to do things, there needs to be a returning benefit for it to be worthy, if even this benefit is a mere good laugh.

I’m sure most of you are beating yourselves up for not being as easygoing as you were with your best friend as you used to be, but don’t fret; it’s human nature, and it definitely goes both ways. Your friend feels exactly the same way you do, you’re just too guilt-stricken to notice, so take it easy, and enjoy the new phase of your relationship with your friends.

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