Times of Oman
Nov 28, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 08:28 AM GMT
Friendship – Life’s support system
July 25, 2013 | 12:00 AM
For illustrative purposes

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than just an association and has been studied in academic fields such as sociology, social psychology, anthropology and philosophy. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed. A World Happiness Database study found that people who have close friends are happier than those who don't.

Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, all friendships have certain common characteristics. These include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty and altruism. It is just not a mutual understanding between two souls but also compassion and trust, true bonding and everlasting relationship. Friendship necessarily imbues one with the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings, and make mistakes without fear of being judged by a friend. While there is practically no bar on what kind of people can form friendships, friends tend to share certain common background, occupation, or interests, and often have similar demographics.

Each friend represents a world within us, a world possibly not born until that friend arrives; only when such a friend comes into our lives, a new world is born within us. If you as a person would go out looking for friends, you'll find them to be a scarce commodity, but if you go out as a friend, you'll find them everywhere.

No one would wish to live without having any friends, though we may have many other worldly riches. There is nothing meritorious but friendship. In the end, we will remember but the words, the life we lived, the people around us, not the money, fortunes, or other virtues. All we will remember is the comforting silence of our friends gathered around us.

There are a few people who are loners by nature, happy without having any friends. I am sure all of us have noticed such people around us. But most of us depend on this strong bond of friendship. As with any other relationship, friendship forms a support system by itself, a kind of vast understanding, a detail of smiles and the opportunity to know another soul. Here's how to make friends: understand friends better and be a confidante to others.

In our ordinary human life, we have two friends: fear and doubt. Fear tells us, "Stay inside your body cage where you are safe. If you come out, the ferocious world will devour you like a tiger, so don't come out of the cage of your body." Doubt tells us that our real friend is our physical mind, the mind that cautions us, warns us, and tells us that the outer world is a real stranger. Doubt says, "If you allow the outer world to enter you, it will be like dealing with a stranger. At any moment you may be exploited, deserted and destroyed for good." Have no faith in anyone. Expect nothing good from anyone. You are your own saviour. You are your own salvation – you and nobody else. Exist for yourself. Friendship is harmony, friendship is peace, and friendship is bliss. Mutual harmony removes all dark conflicts. Each individual has opinions of his own, but when friendship becomes the connecting link between two persons, all conflicts vanish and they become one. We make our own enemies, but few people would remain friends if each one of us knew what one spoke about the other behind our back. I love the friends I have gathered together in my little world. 

In the end, the only way to have a friend is to be one. True friends face in the same direction through thick and thin. They are together in other misfortunes of life; true friends are a sure refuge. Choose your friends wisely; you never know who would take a bullet for you in the end.<

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