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Making friends and building relationships
A successful television personality once said “surround yourself with excellence”. ..the way I interpret it- is to be involved in interesting and meaningful projects at work, having great friends who are good human beings as well as fascinating company , always keeping oneself busy in interesting activities apart from work like dance lessons, book clubs, biking etc. It basically implies to me to lead a fulfilling life filled with achievements and trying to check mark as many things in life that you deem important and are probably a 'bucket list'.
Judge a man by the friends he keeps?
One of the key features of anybody’s life is the company they keep; the friends who matter and those whom we can count on. How does one go about building such meaningful relationships? Well, sometimes, it is the luck of the draw. You are at the right time at the right place and you may make great friends at either school or at the work place or at the tennis courts!
There is also a saying that states- we cannot choose the family we are born in, but we can choose our friends and a lot of who we are and what we do is defined by these friendships.
it takes all kinds of people to make this life..
Some of us are extroverts and some introverts. In life, you come across so called popular folks who are always surrounded by a host of people and some who are loners. Neither is good or bad, it is what suits each individual. But there are definitely benefits of having a large group of good natured and diverse friends.
Friends are of different types- some who you can call at any time of the day and just unload what is on your mind. Others who need your advice and company more than you need theirs. Some whom you would like to hang out more with but they seem to have other priorities. Again there is no ideal friend; it is what suits you as a person and what make you happy. But friendship should never be conceited and used for ulterior purposes or as a status symbol in society.
Don't be shy
Back in 80’s when we were kids entering our early teens, our mother used to encourage us to step out and make new friends. She was teaching us to socialize, to mix with new people and build new friendships. The key was building relationships and interacting with people, not being shy!
We were also taught the importance of ‘staying in touch’; of replying to letters received and returning phone calls that we had missed. Thanks to these teaching’s, today I have friends all over the world some of whom I have known for over fifteen years. Full credit to my friends also who reciprocated these practices of keeping our friendship alive in spite of the distance. How do we do it? Well, first of all you need to have the desire to stay in touch and the inherent concern of how the other person is doing.
Doing those small things that matter in a friendship
Earlier we wrote snail mail and we wrote pages! It was fun to buy pretty writing pads from the stationery stores and matching envelopes to go along. Other days we created our own individually designed letter writing paper with crayons or water colours. So yes, we wrote letters, stamped them and posted them out to friends far off, at least once a month!
Sometimes we sent cards, especially if it was a birthday or a congratulatory note for school examination results. We got creative when it came to greeting cards too.
As we grew up, we were allowed phone calls, so occasionally we called friends, those long distance phone calls had their own charm with unclear lines and not knowing when the connection might actually disconnect, but call we did.
If possible and affordable, we went visiting our friends! Caught that train or went on a bus ride to meet up with near and dear ones.
Then came college and access to email and the internet, so away went the snail mail and enter theworld of regular checking of emails. In spite of the ease, there are many folks who don’t respond to emails or take the effort of replying to one! It is something that has never ceased to amaze me!
As work life and social life picked up, we entered the adult world and embarked on serious studies or busy careers, yet where there was commitment and affection, we still called –cell phones made that aspect easy. Text messages- national and international became an option that meant instant news delivery.
Online chatting on Yahoo or MSN messenger was great; we explored the world of the web to stay in touch with friends in different time zones and geographies.
We took out time for weekend trips and short vacations to catch up on good old times.
We were there for important events like weddings, birthdays and graduation.
We were there in times of grief, even if it meant catching a quick expensive flight.
We used the ‘courier services’ and sent memorabilia or gifts from various parts of the world.
When we occasionally met, we parted with ‘till we meet again’ tokens like pictures or stamps.
No matter what and how, you keep friendships alive because you care, you want to and value sharing your life and its moments with these few people. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are in or what you did in terms of life’s choices, true friendship survives the test of time and distance because of the will and effort that people make time after time.
It is said, as we grow old, we value the people who knew us when we were younger. It is very true. You can have that in this fast paced modern world only if you try and take small steps to ensuring that you are there for the people who matter and know that they will land up at your doorstep when you need them, simply because it does makes a difference.