This chapter will be covering how to create and maintain healthy friendships. It will define friendship as well as explain what to expect, how to make friends and where to find them, the give-and-take aspects of supportive friendship, what contributes to a friendship’s success, and the changes having friends will make in your life and health. This chapter also touches on how self-confidence and authenticity affect your ability to connect with others. Finally, this chapter will provide resources and suggestions for help finding like-minded people on campus.
Definition of Friendship
What is friendship? Many people view the term friendship as being in close relations with someone or knowing them on a deeper level than just base material. Friendship is about that desire you feel to interact with another person, it’s about knowing and supporting another’s experiences, thoughts, and goals. Also feeling that sense of belonging, connection, Having the same interests, hobbies, ideas, culture, etc., anything that can connect you to someone else.
Sometimes though, friendships are tougher to create than others. Some people can just instantly connect with one another and build a relationship right off the bat, while others require more time and effort to start. When people share the same interest like a hobby or goals can lead to a strong connection which leads to a friendship. Although those are not the only reasons why people make friendships. Life experiences, same stages of life, similar background information, cultures, etc… are also factors that would typically create a strong friendship. Although not only because you shared these same situations means that you would create a fast and strong friendship, it normally takes time to get really deep. But don’t lose hope! If you like someone or want to get to know them it is still possible, all you have to do is put in that time to want to make it work. Some of the strongest relationships are from being around the longest, so don’t feel like you need to have the best relationship with someone right out the bat. It will come with both time and effort, with those almost any person you meet has the potential to become a good friend.
How to Make Friends
As rookie and veteran college students begin to arrive and settle on campus, one of the first thoughts on their minds is making connections with other individuals. Many college freshmen leave the comfort and familiarity of their high school and people they’ve known for many years, and making new friends in a strange place can be intimidating. Many factors might play into it such as homesickness, not knowing who you are, being more introverted, and having little to no confidence. Remember, everyone has troubles like these in some way. Luckily, colleges have many opportunities for students to meet new people and create those much-needed new connections.
Experiences such as joining a sports team or attending a sporting event, joining clubs and other on-campus organizations, rooming with others, and even being more active and open in the classroom can help. But there are other ways too. There are many tips to get you started on your friendship journey and one of the first ones is realizing your fear is in your head. Realizing that meeting new people shouldn’t be seen as a negative experience, but one to be excited for. Most people aren’t worried about you making a bad impression, they’re just trying to make a good one themselves, so be positive and get out there. Another tip is to be open. Don’t hide who you are as a person from people and don’t judge others for who they are either. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated and everything else will fall into place. Everyone has flaws and everyone has parts of themselves they’d rather hide, that’s part of being human. Always be willing and open to new things and meeting new people, and the rest will just come together. Trust that making friends can be easy and fun!
The Benefits and Consequences of Friendships
When it comes to success and happiness in life, it is without question that social interaction plays a great role in it. Arguably one of the most important social relationships one can have could be that of friendship. Human beings, being the social creatures they are, require social interaction and thus form friendships naturally to fulfill that need. Friendships–while a key part of having a healthy and happy life–require a great deal of commitment to maintain and create them, can be extremely varied, and run the risk of becoming soured or detrimental. So is it worth the risk?
First and foremost, what one has to identify are the benefits of having friendships with others. Becoming a friend of another person can become an outlet of expression that was inaccessible prior. Having a friend means having an intimate relationship in which one can confide in another with their worries, thoughts, and ideals. While the way this is expressed can vary slightly by gender, where men share information more freely, provide solutions, or focuses more on activities instead of arguing about problems or emotions meanwhile women tend to focus on sharing weaknesses, emotions, or problems, it is still present regardless of sex. Friendships provide numerous mental benefits. According to Mayo Clinic, friendships can increase one’s sense of belonging and purpose, boost one’s happiness, reduce stress, help with coping with trauma, and encourage positive life choices. This is not free, however, with being a friend to another individual being quite demanding and calling for a significant amount of maintenance.
On the other hand, what is demanded of a person as a friend is numerous, and the inability to fulfill these conditions usually leads to either quick falling out in the relationship, or the friendship wearing away over time. As a friend, one takes on a bevy of responsibility. Some of these responsibilities are a willingness to listen to other’s problems, positive reassurance to the friend, guiding them on the right path, and having time available for spending time with them. One of the most important factors of maintaining or even creating friendships is physical closeness.
Being near someone physically is pivotal in creating and maintaining friendships and romantic relationships where physical nearness is a significant factor in the development of relationships and can serve as a very effective means of furthering these relationships. With proximity being both literal and metaphorical. It is hard to truly support and bond with your friends if they aren’t close enough to see them often. proximity gives us the opportunity to get to know a person more deeply, it could result in a friendship or intimate relationship. Proximity is not all about geographic distance, is about functional distance or the frequency with which we cross paths with others. which effectively says that the higher the number of times we interact with people, the higher the chance of befriending them and/or becoming better friends with them goes up. The correlation between physical proximity and better quality friendships is significant.
So, friends who are attending other schools, already in their careers, or are long-distance are fine, but try to make some friends at your own school and in your classes so you have a support network that can be there when you need them.
In summary, friendships are complicated but not impossible. To receive you must first give. Keep that golden rule in mind and keep yourself open-hearted and open-minded and before you know it you will have supportive friendships. You can’t expect others to be perfect friends just as they can’t expect the same from you, everyone has bad days so support them through it. Remember, part of life is having both good and bad experiences. Learn from your mistakes, don’t dwell on regrets that aren’t directly impacting your day today, and trust that even if the friendships you wanted aren’t a part of your life now they’re somewhere down the road waiting for you to make that leap and put yourself out there.
- PVCC Clubs Page: Your one-stop shop for sniffing out other students with similar interests. An exhaustive list of all school-sponsored clubs (or your first step to starting your own), a blurb explaining each club’s purpose, and how to sign up. Find it all here.
- PVCC Events Calendar: The calendar that tracks every event by PVCC, be it guest speakers, admission deadlines, club meetings, or performances by your very own student artists. Consider adding it to your school email’s calendar for efficiency if you find yourself checking it often. Find this gem here.
- PVCC Athletics Page: If you’re a competitive person, want to try something new, or if you already have a penchant for physical activity then this is the page for you. Includes all sports, how to join, current news and archives, and a place to follow the Puma athletics department on Twitter! Find out more about all that good stuff here.
- PVCC Campus Life Page: The central hub for all PVCC campus information. You can get to the pages for activities like athletics, performing arts, dining, the library, and many more. Find it here.
- PVCC Counseling Page: If you need a little push in the right direction or just someone to talk to, here’s where you find it. These wonderful people do not provide therapy but that doesn’t mean they can’t help with some of the social, personal, or career hesitations you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Reach out to them here.
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