Reevaluating the value of friendship

By Fatihah Irdina

How often do we reevaluate the value of friendship with our friends as we grow older? In a discourse with a stranger on the internet, the stranger enlightened me on avoiding sacrificial friendships and maintaining and creating meaningful ones because as we grow older, the value of each friendship serves a different purpose.

But to what extent do we know about sacrificial friendships? Could it be that sacrificial friendships is what we have been doing all along but fail to pay attention to, hence resulting in hidden feelings remaining unshared?

The online stranger shared with me that friendship extends beyond passing by one another and saying hi and bye, exchanging TikTok videos, catching-up for coffee or a short call with one another but rather taking the time to know each other through all the highs and lows, putting the decision entirely on yourself whether or not to continue with the friendship afterwards.

During my first year of degree, my friendships were developing smoothly but as I am entering my third year, I realised that friendship comes with crushing responsibilities. As you grow into a person with ever changing conditions around you, friendship will also bloom into maturity.

On an individual level we should stick to our values without forgetting the friends we have made along the way and those who have helped us blossom. In university, friends from different courses have also their own responsibilities to pay attention to. I have discovered that it is totally normal when you find yourself no longer talking to the friends you have made in  early semesters. University is a huge place where in the midst of it you make and lose friends, if ample time is given, perhaps you may find that university is more than a place to study in.

This means less time for each other to hang out and spend quality time because your friend is piled with homeworks and assignments; is too mentally exhausted for social interaction; requires family-time on weekends; is working in a part time job over the week and is attending to other matters too.

This is the reality of friendship in university life.

The stranger then continued elaborating on the patterns of sacrificial friendships and how to avoid them. Beginning with knowing that friendship is a two-way street, oftentimes we forget that we can choose to be in a friendship with someone but what happens when the other person chooses to not return the friendship?

It was easier as a child to understand that when one is rebuffed, walking away and making new friends seems like the easier option but the complexity of human emotions changes as we age. Love in a friendship in the adult world requires discipline. Maturity includes no longer leaving communication hanging but also acting in the best interest of others. Facing the coldness of adversity with a willing heart is without question one of the hardest of all the disciplines to exercise.

Loving oneself and others is a work in progress. Taking the time to love is also a work in progress. ***

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