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The Impact of Friendship on Our Wellbeing and Personal Development in an Educational Environment

Friendship is increasingly becoming important with more research studies being undertaken to ascertain their importance and impact on an individual wellbeing. Friendship has both positive and negative influence depending on the type of friendship attracted. It is imperative to know that an individual attracts different types of friends at different stages of life. Friends can make or mar an individual in several ways. The type of friends and individual keeps can significantly develop and make them grow to achieve more in life.

In this article, the concept of friendship is delved into to ascertain several characteristics and qualities associated with the issue. The article further evaluates the benefits of friendship and some relating challenges and dangers of friendship.

The Concept of Friendship

A friend is an individual with whom one has a bond of mutual affection that is exclusive of sex or family relations (Burgess, Sanderson and Umana – Aponte, 2011). Friends can simply be of varying ages implying that the aged can have friends younger than them and vice versa as well as individuals from the same age groups. Realistically, there has not been a definitive time that friendship starts or a unique set of conditions that leads to people becoming friends (Wentzel, Barry and Caldwell, 2004). It is however, important that an individual is able to develop respect, affection and care for the other in the wake of solidifying a friendship.

As people age, the friendship they keep tends to have a significant impact on their health and happiness (Mora and Oreopoulos, 2011). This is so because in the wake of increasing in family lifestyle which is highly dependent on the nucleated family system, friends usually tend to be more supportive as people age as compared to their family members. Friends can hence be associated with better health and happiness likewise family members. However, individuals who enjoy such benefits from friendship usually have a strong relationship which has been developed and tested over time. Friendship can be identified to have a significant impact on the mental health of individuals.

Friends with a high level of intimacy tend to share each other’s experiences since they are generally identified to be part of each other’s lives. As such, they share similar ideas and values that tend to be the foundation of such relationships. In such cases, friends can be identified to have been an integral part of each other’s highs and lows as well as success and failures. Such bonds have the significance of impacting future generations to come (Wentzel, Barry and Caldwell, 2004).

Individuals who do not have friends are identified to be vulnerable and susceptible to loneliness (Mora and Oreopoulos, 2011). This is because they are unable to share with others who are not family members their joys, celebrations and pain. The frustration that usually builds up due to loneliness setting in can be dangerous to their health and personality. Through friendship, people learn to agree and disagree, make gestures and meaningful communication, learn about other people’s temperaments and how to accommodate them. Friendship goes a long way to help the individual develop to be accepted into society.

Friendship provides an avenue for support and counsel when individuals need help (Mora and Oreopoulos, 2011). In an academic and educational environment, the role of friends cannot be under emphasized nor underestimated because one needs the support of friends to understand lessons and modules better. When individuals feel depressed and unworthy to be among others, friends beckon to the rescue. Friends are readily available to comfort and console you in trying times especially if you are behind in lessons. In some circles, they have been identified to push the energy and joy back into the lives of others by supporting them in their various academic and educational pursuits. Friendship must be nurtured and cultivated with an extent of sacrifice in terms of time and resources (Burgess, Sanderson and Umana – Aponte, 2011). In the wake of the increased use of technology and social media, making friends have been considered to be easier with people making online friends. In most cases, such online friends who are considered as ‘virtual’ may provide false information in the bid to attract friends. Friendship made over social media sites in most cases may not last as people tend to make and break up over very trivial issues (Jackson, 2011). This clearly shows that social media and the internet have failed to replace the intimacy and uniqueness as well as the genuineness of face – to – face interactions that traditional friendship has been built on (Mora and Oreopoulos, 2011).

Friendship provides a platform for both good and bad ones (Burgess, Sanderson and Umana – Aponte, 2011). Good friends provide an avenue to test qualities such as genuine, honesty and openness. It also promotes an avenue for tolerance for the weaknesses of others whilst learning to criticize constructively. Friendship possesses a unique platform that provides several dimensions to a relationship. The genesis of several friendships have not been well identified but have been fortified over time, providing several benefits that both parties enjoy and in some cases, trickle down to their family members (Bearman and Moody, 2004).

Some friendships have been identified to have started in a rather unique manner such as two arch enemies becoming friends. Such friendships usually are identified to build a rather strong bond that encourages each other to stay healthy at all times (Wentzel, Barry and Caldwell, 2004).

Conclusion

The article aimed to evaluate the concept of friendship and its benefits in an academic setting. The several outlined benefits critically identified that good quality friendship that is built over time has the tendency to contribute to an individual’s happiness and improve their health status.

Despite the increase in the use in technology and the increasing presence of social media, friendship developed through this avenue, in most cases, has time and again failed. It is therefore imperative for the traditional cultivation of friendship being encouraged rather than the one that thrives on social media where the ability to ascertain the true behaviour of a potential friend cannot be guaranteed.

A friend is an individual with whom one has a bond of mutual affection that is exclusive of sex or family relations. Friends with a high level of intimacy tend to share each other’s experiences since they are generally identified to be part of each other’s lives. Individuals who do not have friends are identified to be vulnerable and susceptible to loneliness. This is because they are unable to share with others who are not family members their joys, celebrations and pain.

At London School of Management Education (LSME), we encourage our cherished students to cultivate the habit of forming friendships with those who can positively impact their academic and professional life. We believe such friendships when developed can be useful now and in the future for the individual student.

References  

  • Bearman, P. and Moody, J. (2004). Suicide and friendships among American adolescents, American Journal of Public Health 94(1): 89.
  • Burgess, S., Sanderson, E. and Umana-Aponte, M. (2011). School ties: An analysis of homophily in an adolescent friendship network. The Centre for Market and Public Organization 11/267. Accessed from URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2011/wp267.pdf
  • Jackson, M. (2010). An Overview of Social Networks and Economic Applications, in Handbook of Social Economics, edited by J. Benhabib, A. Bisin and M. Jackson.
  • Mora, T. and Oreopoulos, P. (2011). Peers effects on high school aspirations: Evidence from a sample of close and not-so-close friends, Economics of Education Review 30: 575–581.
  • Wentzel, K., Barry, C. and Caldwell, K. (2004). Friendships in middle school: Influences on motivation and school adjustment. Journal of educational psychology 96(2): 195.
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