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I have never been the nicest, most attractive, funniest or smartest person in the world nor can I boast to have even been the most popular girl in school; in fact, some instances would have made me question whether I was liked at all (I’m sure many of us can relate to that feeling at some point in time). But, despite all those things, I do pride myself in my ability to be a good friend. Near or far, centimetres or miles away, friendships are important to me.

There are not many people who I refer to as a friend; If I call you a “friend,” I mean it.  The word “friend” is thrown around loosely but I found one definition that actually aligned with my idea of a friend. Ironically enough, my favourite explanation of the word “friendship” is taken from Wikipedia. (Don’t judge me!)

Wikipedia wrote:

“Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

-The tendency to desire what is best for the other

Sympathy and empathy

-Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart

-Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support

Enjoyment of each other’s company

-Trust in one another

-Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.

-The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.”

 

I have found that going abroad always makes it clear who my friends are and who they are not. When I am out of the loop of normal activities with others, only a few will actually take the time to tweet, fb, skype, email, etc. to see how I am doing (outside of family). Now, I understand that everyone is busy and have their own things to do, people to see, but knowing that someone back home cared enough about me to take time out of their busy schedule to just say “hi, I hope you are having a fabulous time” shows who my friends are.

 

This weekend has been full of wonderful skype sessions, emails, fb messages, tweets, etc. with many of my family and friends back home. While abroad, it helps to be able to see a familiar face or hear a familiar voice every once in a while.  It keeps my spirits up on days when I literally wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

While here, I have also had the opportunity to make new  friends (Some of them are featured on the “New Friends” section of the blog). These people have to be the nicest people I have ever met and I hope that some of their generosity, empathy, care, etc. rub off on me while here.

For example, I had not left my flat yesterday because I had been working on an assignment due the next day. Igho, my flatmate bought me dinner and brought it to me because she saw that I had not taken a proper break to eat any real food. She also checked on me periodically to ensure that I was staying on task in order to meet my deadline.

When she came in the room with the food, I thanked her. As she left out of my room, she replied, “That’s what friends are for.” I smiled and thought to myself, “yes, that’s what friends are for.” To be there. To make those rough days a little bit smoother. To lend a helping hand or a kind word. Near or far, that’s what my friends have done while I have been here. Although there are too many people to name, you know who you are. I appreciate you. Thanks.

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