With the International Day of Friendship coming in a couple of months, it’s time to talk about friends and friendships. The World’s Friendship Day is created by the United Nation and the idea is to promote the role friendship plays in many cultures. As the official friendship day, the UN made July 30th every year.
UN encourages organizations, community groups, and governments to hold activities and events for promoting unity, mutual understanding, and compromising. Even though this is a special day for Friendship, it is not counted as a public holiday.
The International Day of Friendship was made in 2011. The UN created this day with the idea that friendship between people from different countries and cultures can create harmony by building bridges between themselves. This day is meant for the understanding and respecting diversity from different cultures by the involvement of young people as the future leaders in our society.
Definition of Friend & Friendship
Many people do not understand the exact meaning between friend, friendship, and acquaintance.
When talking about a friend, that person is someone outside your family or partner which you share some kind of affection with. Aside from having fun with them, the friend shares sympathy, kindness, common interests, loyalty, beliefs, and empathy with you. The person doesn’t have to be someone that you’ve met in real life. It can be someone you’ve met on Facebook. However, not everyone you meet in your life is your friend.
Some of these people can be your acquaintance, which means that you talk to this person on occasion. The main difference is that you don’t have a friendship bond with each other. If both of you connected and spoke to each other more, the two of you might become friends. This person won’t be the one that you’ll go to whenever you have troubles and you probably don’t see yourself spending lots of time with them. They can even be a friend of someone close to you who you just tolerate being around you.
When speaking about actual friendship, there are different degrees of friends.
The casual friends are somewhat similar to the acquaintances. You enjoy talking to the casual friend, have some interests with them, and can spend the same amount of time or more than the time you share with your acquaintance. However, you cannot be as open or as close to them as you can with others.
With your close or best friends, you spend as much time as you can. You probably have been through lots together, whether you met with them during your childhood or have just connected in recent years. No matter what happens between you two, you remained friends.
Choosing Friends with Similar Viewpoints
Everyone needs to make friends in their life because it’s our emotional need. It’s somewhat similar to our physical need for sleeping or eating.
Most of the time, we chose friends that have similar viewpoints to ours or the same beliefs. One such example is people who are interested or believe in animal rights. Someone who believes in animal rights won’t become close to someone who is a poacher or an illegal pet trader.
It’s normal for us to search for someone who is similar to us and understands us. Finding a common language for someone similar to you is much easier. This kind of friendship is amazing since you can spend a lot of time with each other and do activities that you’re both interested in. However, finding someone that’s exactly like you is impossible. Even if you do eventually find someone very close to who you are, it has its disadvantages. Both of you will have the same flaws or bad habits. There will be no one who can tell you that you’re doing something which is not acceptable or disagree with you. There won’t be anyone showing you a different way of life.
You should never be discouraged to meet and befriend someone that has different viewpoints than you. These people will allow you to learn something that you’re unfamiliar with and view things outside your perspective.
Disagreements and Conflicts
No matter how much you’re similar or how many viewpoints and beliefs you share mutually with a friend, there’s bound to be some kind of disagreement. Whether it’s having different ideas and beliefs on a subject or having different tastes in partners or food, disagreements are a normal process with a friend.
At this point in our society, if you have a different view or belief from someone else, many people view it as hating on a person. This results from people basing their identity on their opinions. Because someone disagrees with you on a subject or a belief does not mean that they are insulting you personally. You shouldn’t feel attacked by a friend that has a different viewpoint on something.
We can see examples of people having huge problems from others disagreeing with them. Whether it’s on an online comment section or family dinners, some people get too provoked and think that they have to argue and defend their belief and feel offended by the opposite side.
Associating disagreement with hate is a horrible trend that is in no way productive for dialogue between two people, especially friends. People need to figure out that disagreement and having different beliefs with another person is completely normal. When you disagree with someone on a particular subject and want to discuss it with each other, it usually sparks a debate. This debate, if done honestly, can bring lots of truth behind the subject.
It might be hard to accept another person’s viewpoint, especially if you think your belief is important to you and righteous. Finding a common ground of understanding and debating on the subject, whether its human rights, politics, or a banal subject such as the perfect pet, is a crucial step of friendship.
Hearing out people with different opinions than yourself and debating on the subjects can lead to you understanding their point of view. Additionally, you might learn something from the opposite perspective which might change your beliefs or help you learn something which can help you persuade the opposite person with your beliefs. Changing someone’s viewpoint and beliefs are tricky and sometimes impossible, so don’t try that with everyone. It depends on the character of the person and their understanding of the subject, as well as how strong their belief is.
Handling Difference of Opinions
What people don’t understand about disagreement and conflict is that often they forget the character of the person. The dehumanization of one’s character and allowing only the opinions at hand is a terrible way of discussing with a friend. This is not a way to base one’s friendship. Keep in mind that it’s not always about the disagreement that you have with the person but his character that determines the value of your friendship.
Handling disagreement is a weak spot for most people in today’s society.
One way of handling a disagreement is to just simply agree to disagree on certain subjects. Both of you need to show which subjects are off-topic if they make you frustrated and heated. However, if both of you think that you can lead a rational discussion without any frustration which can jeopardize your friendship, then continue discussing the subject. Keep in mind that when discussing a subject with someone, you have to respect his opinions and his way of thinking.
Having a respectful discussion with one another can make both of you better and more tolerant people. However, don’t take this the wrong way and just accept someone whose opinions you’re definitely against. One example is finding out that one of your friends is racist or likes to hurt animals. If you think that some of your friend’s opinions on certain subjects are unacceptable and completely intolerable, then simply walk away from them. You will have to decide for yourself if your opinion is more valuable than your friendship with that person.
Understand that even if you decide to stop being friends with one another, you must do it in a certain way. Allowing your friend to know exactly why you’re breaking your friendship off might lead to a fight. Simply stop calling them and distance yourself from this person and they will get the message.
If you think that whatever unacceptable opinion they have is not worth losing your friendship, then discuss with them that you don’t want that subject opened between each other and they will understand. If they don’t, then he doesn’t value your friendship as much as you value theirs.