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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Finding fabulous friends: the truth about friendship

Published: November 18, 2011
Section: Opinions

When it comes to friends, which is better: quality or quantity? Some people prefer to have a lot of friends regardless of how close they are—a friend for every occasion, if you will. They need friends with whom to go to the movies, friends with whom to party, friends with whom to be silly and friends with whom to do absolutely nothing. Some people, meanwhile, can count their friends on one hand and prefer one truly good friend over a million acquaintances.

The problem with friendships is that a truly good friend—one who will always be there, one on whom you can always count, one who will always look out for you—is not easy to find and, even when found, is usually taken for granted. And, while it is easier to keep a lot of acquaintances, making and keeping close friends is never easy. Trust is earned; it is not casually handed to strangers or suddenly given to a friend. It takes time to trust someone—and even longer to surrender that trust yourself—but it takes very little time and even less effort to lose that trust. That is why making friends is so difficult and losing them so easy.

I personally believe that friends—even good friends—come and go. But if you look back over the years and find that there has always been someone there for you through the good and the not so good, through the fun and the tears, through the heart aches and the smiles, then you know you are in possession of a fortune. Only then can you know for sure that you have what others consider a “friend.”

Even though it is really sad to end friendships, it always happens for a reason. It is heartbreaking to look back at the past, back to the time of silliness, questions and giggles, and think about the friends we made, the friends we once considered “best friends” and then notice that they are not in our present. But I really believe in fate and I trust there is a reason for every one of the people in our pasts that did not make it to our futures. While it is tempting to blame yourself, to think that if you ever lost a friend it was your fault and never their’s, it is important to know that such a thing is impossible. As they say, it takes two to tango.

Maybe the people that we meet are people we are meant to meet, people we can learn something from, people we can admire, people that at a given time are exactly what we need. And losing a friend, even though it is sad, should not be so deeply regretted. What should be regretted is not learning from the friends that were once had, not appreciating the good times that were spent with them, not cherishing the good memories instead of remembering the bad ones.

People change and friends change as well. It would be fun to able to look to the future for answers, to ask, for example: Who will be my ultimate best friend? Do I know someone now who I will know forever? Unfortunately, it’s not actually possible to get these answers. If it were, there would be no point in meeting new people, in being many different versions of yourself with many best friends, in getting a feeling of warmth when someone opens up to you, in hoping to befriend someone whom you admire and being happy when you succeed.

Sometimes friends come and go; you learn something from them and then you move on. Sometimes, without realizing it, you look back to the friends once made and lost and find that there was one friend who never left your side, who stood by you through everything, who grew up with you and laughed with you. And if you have that, that friend who knows you better than you know yourself, that friend who will always be there for you, then be happy. You have that thing for which some people spend their entire lives looking.