Friendships and the company we keep
School and friendships
Our friendships are an important part of growing up. Our friendships define who we are. They can wane and wither or stay loyal and strong. No matter what stage of school you’re at, your friends will always be your companions.
As we grow taller and more mature, we spend more time in school, first junior and then senior school, making friends with classmates who slowly but surely become our new extended family. Through these formative years, we develop our own interests and preferences and start becoming more selective with whom we spend our time. We gravitate towards peers with whom we have things in common, a shared interest in books or Netflix series, a similar cultural background where you are both Pakistani British or Palestinian by origin, or a shared interest on the latest apps. Perhaps your new friend is chatty like you, someone who understands your views on the environment, shares your hopes and dreams, or wears her hijab and loves football. Soon you form a friendship group and these become your friends and peers whom you frequently hang out with.
Sometimes the friendships can turn out a bit sour, a misunderstanding may ensue, a disagreement of sorts where you hear something about yourself from another friend that broke your heart. Perhaps your friend wasn’t so reliable after all or perhaps you misunderstood her intent.
What about those tricky situations where you kept falling into the same company, trying really hard to fit in and feel accepted not so much because you loved being around them but because you weren’t quite being true to yourself. You laughed on jokes that made no sense and felt totally out of place. But, if you were strong enough to stand your ground, you may have realized that the internal conflict resulting from this friendship group was just too strong and finally you found the courage to take the bold step and break away.
Friends influence our behaviour
Our friends play a huge role in our lives whether we’re young or old, but significantly playing an instrumental role as we transition from being children to young adults. Our friends influence us in myriad of positive and negative ways. There are those friends who will always give us sincere advice when we can’t figure out a solution, or encourage us to do good when we come up with a bold initiative. Equally, they can influence us in ways that go contrary to our character. When we come out of their company, we may end up using harsh words or language which we may get pointed at home as being inappropriate, we may start dressing in ways that succumb to fashion rather than our Islamic sense of modesty, we may start talking over our parents, frequently engage in conversation behind our friends’ backs, or we end up spending excess amounts of time on social media, and fall out of balance with school work.
The company we keep in the growing years is critical to where we turn up and how we show up in life.
New Year New Beginnings
Each year begins with a fresh start to a new class, possibly new environment, maybe a new school. Some of you might be starting sixth form, others might be in the midst of their GCSE year or changing schools midway your 10th year. In either case, you find yourself spending consistent amount of time with your existing friends or if you are at a different stage, perhaps you are struggling to make new friends.
As this new year begins, why not take time to reflect about your own self? After all the friends you seek are going to reflect who you are as a person. What has changed for you in how you look at the world over the last few years? Have you become closer to Allah in your spiritual journey? How have your interests in books, movies, sports, video games changed?
We often don’t normally think about what type of friends we’re going to seek. We just meet a group of people and find common things to talk about. If we’re lucky we may end up getting to know some wonderful peers and they become our friends for life. Other times, we make friends for a reason or friends that last only in senior school.
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