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DURING the festive season, one of the highlights has to be open houses.

While food is usually the attraction, most people go not just to eat. It’s more like a social gathering where families and friends come together to catch up with one another.

This was what I experienced recently. A good friend organised an open house and invited childhood friends from our secondary school to come over.

I gladly accepted the invitation and looked forward to meeting all of them, some of whom I’d not seen in years. Needless to say, it turned out to be a memorable event.

Why do friends have such a big impact on our lives?

Throughout the years, we would have gone through numerous major changes, such as going to school, leaving home to go to college, graduating from college, getting a job, having a family and spending time and making a serious effort to have a comfortable and happy home.

Along the way, even our physical appearance goes through major changes. What used to be small or medium has now become “extra-large”.

However, there are some things that remain constant amidst all the changes –— friendship!

According to Suzanne Degges-White, a professor at Northern Illinois University, we like to be around people who make us feel good about who we are, what we believe in, and what we enjoy doing.

Although not every friend will tick all those boxes all the time, the ones who come close to such aspects that matter the most to us would often end up being the ones that we count among our close or inner circle of good friends.

Furthermore, making and keeping friends such as these decreases the possibility of interpersonal conflict.

UNBREAKABLE BOND

I recall reading a quote that goes something like this: As you grow older, it’s safer to share your stories with your friends. It’s not because they’re becoming less judgmental or critical, it’s simply because their memories are diminishing and it’s likely that they’ll forget your stories tomorrow!

It’s wonderful to know that sharing with friends is safe. Just like the time when we were little, we can be ourselves and enjoy their company.

The same thing can’t be said when we’re surrounded by colleagues, neighbours or complete strangers.

We’d usually be on guard for fear that we might say or do something that could be wrongly construed by others.

I’ve attended many reunions before, but I’ve noticed that as I get older, reunions become even more special.

It has certainly become easier to mingle despite the years that have passed. This is probably due to the fact that as we get older, we feel a greater sense of brotherly or sisterly love with our friends.

We can always count on real friends to lift our spirits especially in times of need.

It was an amazing feeling to be able to put aside our titles, positions, wealth and even troubles, worries and concerns when we’re together.

Your friends can be a welcome source of inspiration and help renew belief and faith about this world and even life itself.

It’s a good feeling to know that I’m never alone. I count my blessings as I have my beloved family on my right and trusted friends on my left.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at [email protected]

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