Friendships make us thrive

31 Mar 2016 2 Minute Read Article by Emma Kelly

What makes a friendship?

This might be subjective as everyone is looking for something different, but there would certainly be some common ground: mutual respect, trust, the ability to relate and have fun.

Friendships help us to thrive by bringing support, by allowing us to share our fears and secrets and to realise that those crazy thoughts you have in your head are shared by other people.

Often, we are attracted to people that are like us or that we have things in common with. A mutual interest or proximity brings us together and then we find we laugh at the same things, we have the same views on life - or we are totally different and ‘just click’.

Some friendships stand the test of time and I consider myself super lucky that I have friendships that I have had for most of my life, starting in school.

We’ve celebrated 21sts, weddings and babies, and commiserated break-ups, job losses and other hardships. We have lived across many countries, but have remained tight. We still like each other after all these years, we still make time for each other and we nurture the friendship.

My friends stand out for their support for what I’m doing, regardless of their belief in it. They have enough faith in me and who I am as a person to encourage me to run with whatever I’m doing, even when, on occasion, I’ve been hobbling along.

I’d like to think I’m a pretty decent friend in return. I care, I turn up, I listen and I try not to judge. Being with my friends gives me great joy and I feel very strongly that if you value something, you should nurture it. Find the ingredients to help it flourish and provide these generously.

Disclosure and intimacy are the ingredients that form friendships and we sometimes allow these slowly and with great care, like any relationship, to save us from hurt. Over time these two ingredients become the foundation of friendship. When people know your fears you are vulnerable, they know the real you that doesn’t get disclosed to everyone and there is a reciprocity there that binds us together.

Sometimes friendships are tested and they don’t survive. Everyone is different and forgiveness is a key ingredient to friendships too. People can act in thoughtless, uncaring and unkind ways, sometimes without even meaning to. But if you can move beyond whatever hurt you have endured to remain friends, it’ll undoubtedly be a stronger friendship.

It’s important to ask yourself how you feel about your friends. Do you tell them? Do you make time for them? Do you take the risks to be who you really are with them? Because friendships create a space for us to connect with our true selves, they bring us pleasure and help us face the inevitable challenges life throws at us.

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