It’s easy to be caught up with our hectic lives, but we should reach out, strengthen, relish and treasure the gift that is friendship

What does friendship mean to you?

According to journalist Carlin Flora and author of Friendfluence; she believes friendships play a vital role in shaping who we are. Friends from the past and present help mould and shape how we think, what we deem important and the values we hold close to our hearts. Studies on friendship are far fewer that studies between families but Flora believes our friendships could even determine the direction we take in life.

To be a good friend, we need to adhere to a silent code of being a good listener and being fully present when friends need our attention and help. We need to let go of judgement or painful experiences in the past to fully give current relationships a chance. We need to compliment and thank the people around us for what they do, reminding ourselves before we take it for granted.

Friends are the family we get to choose, but it’s easy to place more importance on blood ties and have lesser expectations from our friends. Yet studies have shown we need social interaction with others to feel good, raise our self-esteem and even boost our mood. From the time we are young, start school, and begin interacting with others, there is a teaching in forming friendships, keeping them, and learning how to be around all kinds of people. As we move into adolescence, our friendship can morph into learning about love and falling in and out of it. It even shapes the kind of people we choose to be around and ultimately how we want to live our lives.

See also: How to Cultivate Mindful Moments to Improve Your Well-Being

My Friendships

From the time when I was a kid, my closest friends have always been my parents and sister, but I always had a few close friends I could count on. Growing up in several countries also taught me to strengthen only the strongest connections. My gang of four girlfriends from high school still feed my teenage soul with all of us spread out in England, Canada and the US. I am so deeply grateful to have them. As I grow older, and now living in Singapore away from my immediate family, my friendships mean even more to me today than ever before.

Reflecting on Flora’s analogy of how friends influence so much of who we are today, I believe at this stage in life it is about finding people that fill your cup with kindness, appreciation, respect, learning, love and happiness. Especially for people separated from their families, our friends become family and we work towards building and strengthening those bonds. At a certain age, we should no longer feel insecure around others or be pulled into negative, soul-destroying friendships. In contrast, we should surround ourselves with people that have similar values and life goals, and if I analyse the friendships I have now, the most meaningful would be the ones that are with people like me, with similar values and life goals.

See also: Re:Qi Retreat: How This Wellness Retreat in Singapore Can Help You Achieve Mindfulness

Friendships Require Effort

I am firmly against the phrase that the best friendships are just easy to maintain. Sure, being able to feel completely yourself, not judged, or not having to fight for your friendship is great, but equally, I believe, being mindful of your friendships and how to strengthen them is paramount. It is too easy to take people for granted. With Covid-19 effects on our lives, we have the chance to slow down and reflect on what’s most important to us. We need to notice the kind actions our friends do for us and we need to acknowledge, through words or actions how special it makes us feel and we need to express it. Friendships take time, trust and patience to grow and once you have it, hold on to it, treasure it and do the things in your control to grow it.

See also: 11 Netflix Documentaries to Inspire You to Make 2021 Your Most Positive Year So Far

Spend a Little

Studies show that spending on others makes not only the recipient feel good, but us too! Why not spoil your friends from our mini guide below?  

o   For friends obsessed with self-care: Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Tri Light facial device

Shop now

o   For friends who love to cook: Arthur Zaaro customisable serving boards

Shop now

o   For friends who love to journal: Bynd Artisan journals

Shop now

o   For friends who need better sleep: Silk eye masks and pillows

Shop now

o   For friends who need a happiness boost: Getting to Happy card set

Shop now

o   For friends who need pampering: Epion Aesthetics for the best facials in town

Shop now

o   For friends who need to get the blood pumping: Phyzique Singapore to get some personal training

Shop now

o   For friends who love entertaining: Domi Living cutlery and tableware

Shop now

o   For friends who need a staycation: Kesa House

Shop now

o   For friends in need of a little TLC: A Slow Exhale essential oils and balms

Shop now

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.