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I don't want to Make friends

I don't want to make friends!

"I don't want to make friends! - I want REAL ones!"   Little 3 year old Tommy is screaming away because in his mind, he equates "making" to "faking".   Tommy, at his tender age, already knows that friendships cannot be forced or faked, and whether you are 3 years old or 30 years old, you know, you need REAL friends.

Good evening Contest Chair, ladies and gentlemen.

The great Philosopher, Aristotle identifies three kinds of friendship: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure and perfect friendship.  

In friendships of utility we love people because they are useful to us. Many workplace friendships are based on utility.  This is not to say that they are necessarily bad.  On the contrary, they help us to work more productively and make our workdays more enjoyable.  But it is perhaps foolish to expect too much from these kind of friendships, which quickly dissolves once you are no longer working together.

In friendships of pleasure we love people because we find their company pleasant.  Hence, friendships of pleasure exists commonly between people who share hobbies and interests.  But it stops there, it rarely goes beyond the "doing things together".  For example, I have friends who I play badminton with, but we seldom go beyond our games to find out more about each other, and for that matter, contact each other beyond our weekly sessions.

 The third kind of friendships, which is the highest and noblest of all, is perfect friendship, where we love people not merely because they are useful or pleasant, but because of who they are.  This is what most of us would call true or real friendship. Friendship with a capital ‘F’.   Friendships like this give value and meaning to our lives.  Without them, life would be empty.  Aristotle went on to say, “Without friends no-one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”

But how are such friendships forged?  I will attempt to answer this through the acronym "REAL"  - R for Rapport, E-Experience, A-Acceptance, L-Love

R stands for Rapport.  You have to be comfortable with each other.  There is a Chinese sayings that goes 话不投机三句多 = translated, it means "if there is no rapport, speaking more than three sentences to each other is difficult".  Let's be honest, have you come across people who doesn't seem to able to understand what you are saying, and you wonder if they operate in the same "frequency"?   It is as if there is this unknown "vibration" that can connect people together.  The first step towards REAL friendship is thus to be able to speak in the same language.  I called this the "barriers of entry"!

E is for Experience. When you are comfortable with each other, you will definitely speak for more than 3 sentences.  Have you ever remember talking to someone, with so much in common, that you hardly notice the hours that passed by?  Once you pass the stage of rapport, you will start to develop common experiences by doing things together.  Remember your best friends from your secondary school or from college?  You went through so much together, your experiences forged and cemented your friendship.

Next, A means Acceptance.  At this stage, you get to know each other better, you would have created some common experience together, and you are going to be tested on whether you can accept the person as who he or she is.  Acceptance goes beyond liking the person because he or she is like you.  Acceptance is about knowing the person's strengths and weaknesses, and embracing the strengths, while tolerating the weaknesses.  Acceptance, simply put, is about coming to terms, you are different from each other, but you still like the companionship!

Finally, L stands for Love! Yes, and it's not romantic love as we know it.  "Love" is a verb, and not a state of mind.  Many couples in relationships are confused about this, but this is a separate discussion for another day.  However, what we do know, is that while all good marriages are made up of REAL friendships, not all REAL friendships will end up in marriages.

Love, in REAL friendship, is about sacrifice.  It is about giving.  It is about being genuinely concern for each other.

REAL friends cry with you and cry for you.  Real friends share your joy and spread your happiness. 

They don't judge, they empathize. They don't demand, they forgive.  They don't doubt, they trust.

In short, they love us for who we are.

So there you are - to have REAL friends, you got to have Rapport, build common Experiences together, learn to Accept each other, and most important of all, to have the capacity to Love, and be ready to be loved!

Conclusion:

You know, they say "At primary school, it is about how many friends you have.  At secondary school, it is about how many you can keep.  When we are adults and don't go about looking for friends, unexpected friendships can sweep us off our feet.  " REAL friendship do not drop from the sky, it takes effort and commitment.

My friends, have you made any REAL friends lately?  I know I have, did you?  Back to you, Contest Chair.

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