Friendship is one of the most difficult things in the world to explain. It is not something that people have to be taught at school or go for seminars to learn. Every individual grows up knowing the significance of friendship in one’s life. Any person who has not learned about friendship has not learned about anything despite their academic progress. A real friend is one who knows the personality of a fellow or colleague, understands the ups and downs in one’s life, and still gives one the chance to grow. One of the best qualities of true friendship is, therefore, to understand and to be understood (Pak, 2012).
In my lifetime experience, I have come across fellows with fascinating friendship stories, all revolving around the need to understand and to be understood. For instance, there was a very popular boy called Bill in my high school, who was well endorsed with different abilities and talents. Bill was extraordinarily bright and interacting with him was a lot of fun, leave alone getting well with everyone. It appeared that the fame at school was not out of chance since the boy evidently made efforts to socialize freely with everybody in the school, be it teachers, school workers or his fellow students.
It happened that the high school was a boarding school was everybody seemed to miss their loved ones back at home. For Bill, the school environment made no difference from the situation at home since he was the most famous guy in the entire compound and had a good time with whomever he would interact. Bill was very eloquent as well in his speech, giving him an added advantage of being understood whenever he could speak. I can distinctly remember during school debates when Bill would get the majority of the students siding with his point of view. Students would appreciate his argument even if it was wrong. The whole support Bill received from fellow students during the school debates was due to his eloquence and his outspoken character.
Anybody could tell from the look on Bill’s face that he sincerely felt lucky for being the most famous student at the school. The popularity grew as time went by, to the nearby schools that made it a trend to attend symposiums at our school. Bill made efforts to extend his friendship to the neighborhood through his interaction with other students from other schools, both males, and females.
The fame that Bill achieved all started from our first year in high school when the outspoken individual invited everybody for his birthday party during the holiday session. The whole event left everybody wondering the kind of a person Bill was. Day by day, Bill got engaged in a lot of school activities due to his sociable personality. He could attend music festivals to represent our school by issuing speeches on key issues in the society. In the long run, Bill got so busy that he hardly found time to interact with individuals. He could communicate with people who were in a crowd since it was quite easier for him, rather than interacting with each.
Notably, the few personal friends whom Bill met during our first year at high school felt neglected by their friend. Billy made it a habit to enjoy his leisure time with groups of students who could be scattered all over the school playing ground, forgetting the need to have few close friends who could understand his needs as well. It is a fact that Bill could not understand the needs of the students with whom he was socializing in various groups. Nobody likes it when his needs and problems are known by a large number of people gathered in a place for a discussion or refreshment.
During national friendship days, students were given the opportunity to share their friendship experiences through giving of cards and other gifts. The national friendship holidays were purely meant for true friends who happened to understand the needs of each other. Despite the challenges, friends faced at school, the day was set aside for solving all the issues that might have cropped in to interrupt the kind of friendship that had been formed.
For Bill, the kind of friendship he formed with groups of people was that of interacting to have fun and enjoy the company of one another. During such days, nobody expected Bill to be left out in the celebrations since the students assumed that someone of his personality could not miss having his real friends in the entire institution. Apparently, we all got it wrong. I can clearly commemorate the events of the national friendship day that marked the long journey that the students had all led together. Initially, such an event had never happened in the institution. The issue of giving gifts and having a good time during the day seemed to be an innovation in the school’s system of administration.
There was somehow a competition that was intended for purposes of fun and making known to the entire school the most popular student. We all had in mind that Bill would clinch the seat due to his outspoken character. Earlier that day, we were addressed in the playground by teachers on the importance of engaging in true friendship and the definition of true friendship. I assume the teachers intended to make clear to everyone that everybody who happened to be so close did not automatically qualify to be a true friend.
Back in the classroom, a simple activity was spearheaded by the class teacher as a way of sharing part of the day as fellows who have been studying in the same room for some time. We were encouraged to draw, paint, and present our sincere friends with items that would make the friendship grow further. As far as I can remember, our teacher suggested that each student would make three presents that he would give to his best three friends. I remember having the perception that Bill would get the most gifts in the whole class. It appears everybody else had the same perception but never intended to have him on their list of three best friends. Bill too made his gifts that he would present to the selected three best friends.
In religious studies, it is mentioned that there is time for everything. Real friends show their friendship when it is required (Ditsky, 1986). After all the involving activities of making presents, it was then the time to give out the gifts. Bill gave out his to the chosen three best friends, just as every other student did. Interestingly, it turned out that Bill never received any gift in the class. Not even those whom Bill had presented gifts chose him as a true friend.
Critically, Bill had no time to create the kind of friendship whereby he could know the needs and secrets of his friends. The group mentality that he had kept with him all along seemed to have doomed him. We could judge that Bill was a disappointed man on the great day that everybody else enjoyed. To make matters worse, it is the same people who did not present him with presents that went back to form a discussion group with him outside the classroom. It is quite ironical that not even a single individual could drag Bill aside to console him and urge him on the best way forward so as to overcome the embarrassment and frustration. Moreover, the few people who pretended to be in his company only stayed with him for a short time before leaving to continue spending the day with their best friends.
In the real sense, the same treatment that Bill was exposed to is what he had done so many times to others. He never realized that he was a good companion and acquaintance to others, but she had not been a true friend to anyone. His efforts that were driven by the desire to avoid arguing with anyone while paying attention to crowds of people eventually turned out to be wrong. Any sober mind could realize that all the efforts made by Bill were not enough to create true friendship.
From the look of his visage, Bill was tormented by the fact that he had no true friends in the classroom. We all believed he was inspired, encouraged, and uplifted by the experience he obtained in class. The personality of Bill changed gradually from that of group oriented to that of individual friendship. With time, Bill managed to change his ways, and he acquired new friends who were ever willing to help him despite their little arguments.
In a nutshell, true friendship is the most prized item on earth, given that a real friend would walk in when the rest of the world walks out. It took Bill a life experience to learn the importance of friendship in one’s life. He did not have to attend classes to get the idea that he ought to have friends who can always stand with him at his time of need.