Love the one you’re with, goes the Crosby, Stills, Nash song chorus, from the dippy, hippy days of almost 50 years ago. Wait, what? 50 years? Yup, 50 years. And let’s take the lyrics at an innocent level, and say the song’s about simple friendship. Friendship and love is big on the agenda at the moment, with the summer music festival season just beginning – great place to make new friends – wasn’t Glastonbury amazing this year? As always, summer also means the end of an era for many students, as they finish school/uni and move on to the next adventure, leaving friends behind, and making new ones.
Friendship is as simple as it is complicated. It’s interesting to watch, and be part of, developing friendships, whether over a short weekend in a tent in a field, or over several years in a more intense environment. But friends can appear from unexpected places sometimes too. Have a think about your “friends for a reason, friends for a season, friends for a lifetime”. You’ll have friends you’ve lost touch with, because they were “friends for a reason”, and that reason has gone, or changed. You make friends at work, on holiday, or on a course, even during a hospital stay. They may be your “friends for a season” or that friendship may develop into “friends for a lifetime”.
However you came about your friendships, however long they last, or lasted, they will have helped you build and maintain your personal resilience. A short friendship can be fun and fulfilling, and a lifetime friendship can meet completely different needs. The point is, since we’re social animals, friends are key. They sustain us. They support us. They ground us. They bring reciprocal love to us.
Your friends are your tribe. Connect. Keep in touch. Hold them close. Tell them what they mean to you. You’ll get as much as you give, which is why friendship is a key tool in your personal resilience toolbox, and theirs too.
Back in the day when I was teaching, and students struggled to spell the word “friend” (ei rather than ie being the usual misspelling), I taught them “A friend is a friend to the end” to help them remember. So true.