Nurtured relationships last longer

By Lovette Ajayi

Relationships are hard, whether between family members, romantic partners, or just friends. With the exception of family, however, all our relationships are bound simply by free will. Bonds between unrelated individuals can be broken pretty easily and must be nurtured in order to strengthen them.

Besides family, friends are our immediate support system, and their presence can sometimes be taken for granted. We get used to having them around and assume they will always be there when we need them. This can be true, but this assumption might also be the reason why some people experience a revolving door of friends coming and leaving. This is particularly the case when we have friends back home, and we subconsciously neglect them, with weeks, sometimes months, going by before we realize we haven’t talked to them in a while.

Like the game The Sims, a friendship needs maintenance. In the game, when you make friends, you have to keep in touch with them, otherwise your relationship points decrease, and they are eventually no longer considered “friends.” Of course real life cannot be taken this literally, but the same concept should apply to the people that matter to us. The fact that we have a group of friends close to us can result in the disregard of our long distance ones and, in time, can end friendships.

Our arrival at college leads to us making a new group of friends, and this is perfectly OK. However, when these new relationships lead to us pushing older friends aside, we might need to re-evaluate our motives. We must not forget those who were with us in the beginning, and although it might take more effort, it is important that we don’t lose those friends that knew us when we went through that phase we’d like to forget about; those who your mother treats like they were hers, and those who know your whole family and get invited to the reunion.

Another thing to keep in mind in maintaining stronger friendships is reciprocity. This refers to the mutual exchange of gestures or words that show consideration. This means that when you need to vent, you know that you can call your friends up and get an outlet for your issues.

On the other hand, it should also mean that you could be counted on for the same thing. People must learn to sacrifice their time, and it can go a long way. “A true friend is someone who is there for you when they would rather be some place else.” I’ve heard this quote many times before, and the source is unbeknownst to me, but it rings true.

To have a friend, you have to be a friend. Keep in mind that expectations must be reciprocal, and sometimes, maybe we could even do more than expected. Let’s go out on a limb and call one of our friends up randomly. If you see one of your crewmembers feeling less than happy, take time out of your day to talk to them and make them feel a little better. Little gestures like this go a long way.

The word “friend” is often used too loosely. Truly great friends are hard to find. When we find people worthy of the title, it’s essential that we hold on to them, because they can be our strongest support system and pull us through harsh times. We don’t often acknowledge their significance enough, and in turn can lose some of our most valuable assets. Nevertheless, simple things can make that promise of “Friends Forever” come true. It’s the little things that count. Stay positive, folks!