Friendship is an incredibly important aspect of most people’s lives. Most human beings are not solitary and enjoy being in the company of other people, to differing extents depending on their individual personalities. There is nothing satisfying about being in the company of strangers, which is why we form platonic relationships with other people, and usually the main purpose of these relationships is to bring happiness and fulfilment.
Children learn to begin forming friendships as soon as they reach an age where they are capable of communicating and interacting with other children. Within a larger group of children, it can become quite quickly apparent which children have formed a friendship, as they will be spending time in each other’s company. When children are small, these friendships are very basic and have very little depth to them. It can be as simple as two children liking the look of each other, or finding they both have trainers or a toy featuring a cartoon character that they both like.
When a friendship is this superficial, the disagreements are too. Children just developing the skills necessary to form and maintain a friendship may snatch toys from each other and argue over what belongs to whom. Another common cause of disagreement can be what activity the friends will do together, as we only learn to compromise as we grow and mature.
As people grow older their friendships tend to be formed around more meaningful things. This usually means that the people have something in common which initially gets them talking to each other. This may be a common interest, such as sports, music or dancing. Sometimes people are drawn to each other more for reasons based on their personality. Shy people may gravitate towards other shy people as they can find louder and more extroverted people a little intimidating. Or, they may end up together because all of the more outgoing people in the group have already formed friendships and they are the only ones left.
Once a friendship is on a deeper level, the disagreements usually are too. Big arguments cannot usually be resolved by a quick handshake and the agreement to forget all about it, because there are usually strong emotions and hurt feelings involved. However, having friendships on this deeper level is incredibly valuable. Friends can be the source of much-needed support and comfort when we go through difficult times. Sometimes it can be easier to confide in a friend than a family member, perhaps because friends may be less likely to judge, especially if they are at the same stage of their life. With family there can also be concerns about the whole family finding out what you have confided.
Friends can actually be like a family in many ways, although the obvious advantage is that you can choose who they are. And just like with family, friendship will always have its ups and downs. Friends have the power to bring you a great deal of happiness but also the potential to cause plenty of misery if things turn sour.