By Fidel Elizchrist Ujunwa

The first word I remember my mum always say while growing up is – ‘Choose your friends wisely and be careful with the kind of friends you mingle with, it’s very important.’

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association and has been studied in an academic field such as communication, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy.

Friendship is a friendly relation or attachment to a person or between persons, affection arising from mutual esteem and goodwill, friendliness, amity, goodwill. That all sounds nice, but it doesn’t cover the fact that true friendship is a relationship that can survive the test of time and remain unconditionally.

Friendship for most people is a combination of affection, loyalty, love, respect, and trust. The general traits of friendship include similar interests, mutual respect, and an attachment to each other. And in order to experience friendship, you need to have friends,.

The emotional safety provided by friendship means not having to weigh your thoughts and measure words. True friendship is when someone knows you better than yourself and takes a position in your best interests in a crisis. Friendship goes beyond just sharing things together, it is long-lasting.

Friendship can mean different things to different people, for some people it is simply the trust that someone will not hurt them, it might be unconditional love or just normal companionship. However, you must know that friendship is often considered as a mutual and agreeable relationship between two individuals irrespective of what your own definition is. There is a saying that a person who finds a true friend has found a priceless treasure.

Thomas Jefferson once said – ‘Peace and friendship, all mankind is our wisest policy and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.’ Friendship is rarely one-sided. It takes two individuals to negotiate the boundaries in a relationship in order for a friendship to survive very long. If only one person is making the effort to sustain the relationship without any help or recognition from the other person, such friendship won’t last.

It takes both positive and negative experiences to define a personality. It is essential to build your friendship with people who are compatible with you on both an emotional and psychological basis. That’s the reason Muhammad Ali said – “If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

Some attributes of friendship;

-Spending time together
-Sharing ideas and treats
-Having fun together
-Respecting each others difference
-Loyalty, sticking up for each other
-Caring for each others safety and well being

Psychologist sees Friendship as an interpersonal relationship between two or more people who care about each other.
Psychologists classify friendship according to life stages such as childhood, adulthood, and later life.

According to Aristotle, there are three kinds of friendship;

1) Friendship of utility
2) Friendship of pleasure
3) Perfect Friendship

– Friendship of Utility: Utility is defined as a state of being useful or beneficial. This kind of friendship is focused on what one party is able to gain from another person. They do not love each other for the sake of love itself, but for the good, they get from each other. This kind of friendship can also be referred to as friends with benefits.

– Friendship of pleasure: In this kind of friendship, one party takes advantage of another person. They love another not for the sake of who the other person is but for the pleasure they gain from each other. This relationship does not flourish because when one party is no longer useful or pleasant to the other party, their friendship ends.

Many young people are usually in the category of the friendship of pleasure. This is because when we are young, our friendship seems to aim at pleasure, we live under the guidance of emotions and immediately go after what we like or what is pleasant.

As we grow old, our expectations of what we look for in a friendship changes with the word “pleasure” in mind. We begin to yearn for that friendship where the other person can love us for who we are despite our imperfections.

– Perfect Friendship: Almost everyone yearns for this kind of friendship. During adversities and tough times, we usually look for these kinds of friends for refuge. Perfect friendship is the master and the goal of all friendship. A person in this friendship wishes the good of another for his or her own sake which makes it the highest degree of all friendship. Perfect friendship is when people love another for the sake of who that person is.

Each individual in the perfect friendship receives a mutually recognized love. Those in this kind of friendship know and affirm their friendship and wish well of each other. One does not have to worry much about satisfying the other party because he or she is loved just the way he/she is. Both parties are prudent in their acts and in their desires, there is pleasure in utility involved in this perfect friendship.

People involved in these friendships are patient with each other. Such friendship is rare and uncommon because it requires time and familiarity to form.
Like Oscar Wilde said – “Laughter is not a bad beginning for a friendship and it is by far the best ending for one.”

There are good and bad friends like Aristotle rightly explained. Some friends are genuine, while some came to extort or pretend to be friends with you.

Choosing one’s friends wisely should be considered with the utmost care because the wrong association might lead to greater damage to one’s future. That is while there is this saying that goes like this – ‘Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are.’ Friends or who one associates with has a great influence on us. They can either influence negatively or positively.

Parents should monitor their children to know the type of friends they associate with. It is best if children are encouraged to bring their friends home.

Youngsters should always choose their friends wisely, they should mingle with people that will add value to their life. Positive things should be emulated and learned from friends, not the negative ones.

Youngsters always have the zeal to explore, to try out new things. It is good but only good ones should be tried out, not the bad ones, like learning how to smoke, robbery, theft, e.t.c.

They should use their time to explore things like how to get those difficult mathematics solved, learning new skills from their peers, and many other relevant things.
True friends are rare, but it feels good if you get one.

How to know a good friend;

1) They go out of their way to connect with your family.
2) They don’t hold grudges against you.
3) They have your best interest at heart.
4) They don’t sabotage any of your relationships.
5) They will always be there for you.
6) They are selfless in the friendship.
7) They will always keep your secret to themselves without telling a soul.
8) They are always there for you, even at your worst moments.
9) They will always give you the best advice.

You should be conscious of the kind of friends you move out with because some are a wolf in sheep clothing. I have seen a scenario whereby a girl poisoned her girlfriend on her birthday just because her fiance bought her iPhone 11. Also, a guy poisoned his friend because he bought a Lexus jeep. All these happen because of jealousy, the deceased never knew they had a wolf in sheep clothing as friends.

Some laugh with you physically but deep down their mind, they have huge hatred for you. Some friends don’t wish good for their friends because their friends are more prosperous than them. Instead of being happy for them and claim the favour, they get envious and strive to terminate their friend’s lives.

While choosing friends, let’s be careful and observant. Choose your friends today and do not allow your friends to choose you.

Choose friends that behave like you. May God give us the strength and wisdom to choose a perfect friend.

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