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'A friend is a gift you give yourself'

I have a friend, A, who is someone that I am very comfortable with because A accepts me for who I am and never challenges or distrusts me. Sometimes I don't need comments from people but I just want to talk to someone and A is just an "sms" away.

Another friend, B, who is in Hong Kong, is very kind and sweet; very funny and fun to be with; ever ready to encourage me in everything that I do and cheer me up when I am down. B always reminds me not to give up on my dream.

C, the other friend is a lucky person but always complains that life is not fair! C is bossy, hot-tempered and spoilt. Sometimes, we will boycott C but after a while we just accept the fact that C is different, insecure and needs friends like us to support and encourage her!

It's OK, after all we are here to help one another along life's journey, right?

Everybody needs friends. Friends are very important [especially to young people like us]. Friends are like angels who lift us to our feet

when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

To me, a good friend is someone we can count on. A friend is someone with whom we can relax, just hang out with, have fun, talk and share our thoughts and needs, our goals, our hopes, joys and fears, minus the worry of being laughed at or criticized!!

Of course I have friends who dare to criticize me but it's OK because I know that friend is trying to help me and not just condemn me for no reason. I believe that a good friend can help us become a better and wiser person than we might have been without that friend in our life. Actually friends help us grow into being who we are today.

Friends cheer each other on, laugh and cry together, or just sit and listen to each other, allow each other to do silly things at times, give us the space to be ourselves, free to feel the way we do and think the way we like.

I feel safe [and I think you do too!] because of the sense of connection that I know my friends will be there for me, my friends who understand me and who will support me.

Now, what about you??
What kind of friends do you have?
Who makes a good friend?
How do you choose your friends?
What about you yourself as a friend?

Remember to choose your friends carefully ...

Did you notice something? I did. I noticed that I never choose my friends consciously. But I am aware that I stay away from some friends that I don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with. Think again. Did you notice anything?

You see, if you don’t smoke and no one around you smokes, you never even think of smoking. But if all your friends [or some] smoke and you hang out in a smoky environment, you get used to it. Sooner or later, you’re smoking. I know cause it happened to me – what’s the big deal, everyone is smoking and they are cool! But then, I stopped because I didn’t like it. Now if I go out and someone offers me a cigarette, I will politely say, ‘No, TQ’.

Do you agree, if you hang out with miserable people, you become miserable – and you think it’s normal! Mix with critical people, you become critical – and you think its normal too!

Hang out with friends who are happy and motivated, then you become happy and motivated – and you think that is normal as well!

Now, how I wish that if I hang out with friends who are clever, good-looking and rich, I might become like them too ...

We tend to accept, adapt and get use to whatever environment we are in. Call it survival skills or whatever you like but we must realize that friends bring influence. Good and bad, positive and negative. So we need to screen, process and filter before we swallow and digest our ‘friendship’ and friends’.

Keep away from friends who try to belittle your ambitions.
The really great friends make you feel that you too, can become great and do great things.

BELIEVE in yourself and your ideas and share your ideas
only with those who will encourage and support YOU

Remember, I am responsible for myself …n’ what I do to others!! [including family n’ friends!]

We are infected and affected by people and attitudes around us, everyday in our lives. Sometimes, when “something smells around here”, we need to do something, we need to get out, we need to take action, we need to change – or even change friends!

Think about it. While friends are there for us when we walk through the headaches and heartaches, sometimes we need even more than that! If you face any difficult situation, we urge you to try seeking the support of your family, your teacher and counselor or any adult [or relatives] that you can trust - they can be your friends too! Try to talk or open up to them. They can help us too!

Mae Tan
Federation of Family Planning Associations, Malaysia

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