From the moment of birth, friendship nurtures a sense of human connection and in the first instance it is usually our family offering us safe security in our social interactions. As we grow, having good friends, appreciated by even the very young accessing social media, is integral to mature development.

Schools are significant in inspiring and inviting friendships, encouraging enrichment of our knowledge, understanding and empathy for those different to ourselves. Creating respectful, amicable intimacies with friends is fundamental for positive mental and physical well-being, sharing personal passions and even private secrets that can engender a close and valuable rapport to accompany us on life’s journey. Over time we forge new friendships, but they can dissolve as we grow apart and change perspective, invoking consistent effort for diverse relationships.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter et al highlight a need for acceptance and approval by acquiring new persons on our friendship list, but recently, several social commentators have scribed about “toxic” friendships and how inimical they can be to good health and peace of mind. Friendship may be humanly natural and fortunately inevitable for personal stability, but establishing genuine friendships that foster sincere and sane sensitivities is not intrinsic to our DNA, at least not to most of us. It can be fraught finding real friends.

As Proverbs 12:26 asserts: “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray”, implying we can all be vulnerable to deception. Proverbs 14:6-7 advises sagely instead to “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” Reality suggests it is not always easy to flick off the foolish.

Currently, as the federal government inquires into laws to protect against cyber bullying, often depressingly perpetrated by so-called friends, perceiving people of benevolence towards us can involve trial and error with mistaken misjudgment in our naivety and ignorance.

Unequivocally, transcending the hurt of those believed friends encompasses trust in recognising true amity as American author and poet, Joan Walsh Anglund, wrote in her international best seller in 1958, “A friend is someone who likes you.” Nonetheless, people can be consciously or unconsciously capricious, manifesting amiability only for their actions online or offline to betray them. Maintaining faith in making new friends must remain paramount and as Simon and Garfunkel sing in “Bridge Over Troubled Water“, “if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind…”

Faith in friendship, through both good and adverse times, subsumes meeting and greeting new people with enlightened enjoyment.

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