More to friendship than meets the eye

Graphic+by+Sophie+Nauyokas.+

Graphic by Sophie Nauyokas.

By: Tuulia Koponen

Staff Writer

Friends. These are the people who make us shine on our gloomy days, the shoulders to lean and cry on during hard times, and the ones who won’t abandon us.

There is more to friendship than meets the eye. By having these people in one’s life, important psychological and social developments take place.

“Friends are important at the teen age,” psychology teacher Jared Stansel said. “You learn a lot through your interactions with friends such as social norms and gender roles.”

Along with learning social norms and gender roles, friends help develop one’s cooperative social and communication skills and teach trust and mistrust in relationships.

“Friends can teach you how to socialize in many areas such as everyday brief relationships with strangers,” Stansel said. “They can also help us mature with our desire to fit in.”

Due to friends being so influential at the teen age, they provide a positive outlook on life along with a vital social and emotional outlet.

“In good relationships, you develop a more positive outlook on life and have a good outlet for emotional support,” Stansel said. “If alone and in isolation, you don’t have this vital social and emotional outlet.”

Without having this social and emotional outlet, the neural-networks in your brain do not meet their milestones and develop correctly, hindering your psychological and social growth.

“Isolation has been proven to be psychologically damaging and dangerous to one’s growth and health,” Stansel said. “You don’t gain the learning experiences friends give you and how to develop personal relationships.”

Stansel speaks of a case study involving a girl named Genie, who spent 12 years in isolation and was constantly abused by her parents. She was labeled mentally challenged due to not being able to speak.

“Genie is unable to speak and develop personal relationships due to not gaining these vital experiences growing up,” Stansel said. “She never gained the social skills necessary for her psychological development and health.”

Aside from the psychological benefits friends give, they also give personal and social benefits as well.

“Through having friends, I’ve learned how to stand up for myself along with how to express myself,” sophomore Emily Martin said.  “I’ve also learned how to become used to my strange self.”

Martin also feels happy around her friends due to them allowing her to be social, have fun, and be her strange, normal self.

“I have to be quiet when I am alone and without my friends and I don’t enjoy it because it won’t allow me to be my strange self,” Martin said.

Another sense of happiness friends give other than being allowed to be one’s self and have fun being social is getting to know people better, according to sophomore Bharati Murthy.

“Friends bring a sense of happiness to my life in getting to know people better who are like me such as what they like and don’t like,” Murthy said.

Between being there as a shoulder to cry and lean on, never abandoning each other, and helping each other grow socially and psychologically, friendship is more than meets the eye and should be kept in one’s life forever.