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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Meet Victoria

It’s the last Thursday of the month, so it must be interview day! Today I’d like you to meet Victoria, a 20-something student, who is single, no children, and living in residence at her school. It’s valuable to get perspective on friendship from people of all different ages, backgrounds and cultures, don’t you agree?
S: Good morning, Victoria! Let’s get right to it. What is your definition of friendship?
Hey, Susan – thanks for letting me share. My definition of friendship is individuals in a group of two or more, who care for and support each other and journey through life together. They may hold similar interests, perspectives, or be at the same stage in life. However, they can also be quite different from each other, but still fit well together, be loyal and help the other to develop and grow. 

S: Wow. Great definition; well thought out. And what characteristics do you look for in a friend?

V: Honesty, loyalty, and trust are important characteristics to look for in a friend. When I'm looking to make a friend I search for someone who will put the same level of dedication in the relationship as I will. I strive to make long-lasting friendships - people who will be there for me and who I can support as well. I also like to have friends who will do fun things with me, who I can get to know, and have deep conversations with. 

S: You mention doing fun things. What do you enjoy doing with your friends? Also, what is your biggest challenge to developing new friendships?
V: Going to movies, out for tea or a meal, playing games like Dutch Blitz or Apples-to-Apples. Horseback riding, skating or hiking with more sporty friends.

One of the challenges I face in developing new friendships results from my introversion. I take a bit longer to get to know people, develop trust and make friends. This can turn off some people who like to make friends quickly. Not everyone will invest the extra time it takes for me to come out of my shell. Thus, most people will see me as shy and quiet, and leave it at that. 

S: As you know, I’m an introvert also. I totally get what you are saying here. But those who do invest the extra time usually find it well worth it.
So, what is your approach to finding/making new friends? Has this worked effectively in your experience?
V: In the environment I am in - whether it is church, college or elsewhere - I try to be involved in some events where I can be social and meet people. This can be coffee houses, movie nights, lunches out, and more. After putting myself out there for a while, I will usually connect with a few people from those events and then can begin developing a closer relationship with those individuals. Generally, this approach has been effective for me. Although, sometimes I need to put in more effort to see the best results. 

S: Do you think you are a good friend to others? Why or why not?

V: I don't want to come across as conceited. However, I do believe that I'm a good friend. I care very deeply about my friends and family. I invest my time and energy into bettering the relationship. I am a good listener and support my friends through the good and bad times. 

S: Sounds like you’re a great friend. And no one here will think you’re conceited; it was a leading question!

Can you think of any friends you could call at 2 a.m. and know that they would be there for you?

V: Yes I can! I have had the pleasure of becoming friends with some great and loyal people. I have a small group of close friends from high school, including one of my best friends, who I know would all be there for me in a heartbeat. Additionally, I've made some new friends recently, who I'm becoming increasingly close with. I know they're caring, thoughtful and supportive. 

S: You’re pretty blessed then. I’m sure there are people in my age category who have those kinds of friends, but for myself I’d be more likely to call a family member if I were in need at that hour of night. Just because most of my friends are married and have children, jobs, etc. and I wouldn’t want to disrupt everyone.

What does your ideal friendship look like and do you feel you’re pretty intentional about making and keeping friends?

V: The best way I can think of to describe my ideal friendship would be to use the analogy of a seesaw in a children's playground. When you use a seesaw, there is a certain amount of trust involved. If one person decides to get up and walk away, the other person comes crashing down to the ground. For friendship to be truly successful, both parties need to be invested in the relationship. Two people who trust and love each other and who think of the other person before themselves. That is what ideal friendship looks like to me. 

I believe I am pretty intentional in making and keeping friends. Friendship means a lot to me - I take it seriously. Therefore, when I become friends with someone, I put a lot of myself into that relationship and strive to make it lasting and fruitful.

S: The seesaw is a great analogy, Victoria. I can see you really put your thinking cap on for this interview and I really appreciate your insightful answers.

Can a friendship run its course? How do you know when it's time to move on?

V: I believe that some friends come into your life for a season, while others last a life time. So yes, in my opinion, a friendship can run its course. In the past I've known it's time to move on from us drifting apart. It can be hard to explain, but sometimes it's my intuition that helps me realize. Friends don't always stay where you are - you change and reach different stages in your life. Also, people move and live farther away from each other. Sometimes you just have to move on and make new friends that are in the same place as you. 

S: That’s very true. In a similar vein, what's the worst thing a friend could do to you?

V: The worst thing a friend can do to me is give me the "cold shoulder". It is the worst when a friend suddenly acts distant, stops talking to me, and/or pulls away, not telling me why. I like to always better myself and would rather be told if I'm doing anything offensive than to continue living in the dark wondering what happened. I am a very sensitive person, so even if the situation is not my fault, I still find myself being self-critical and anxious. 

S: A lot of people prefer to avoid conflict than deal with issues in a relationship. It can be awkward, right? But I think everyone would agree with you that it’s better to be told if there’s a problem “than to continue living in the dark.” Even if the issue isn’t fixable, at least you’re not left wondering.
Just a couple more questions. First, what is your best advice on the subject of friendship?
V: Be dedicated in your friendships. Be real and honest. Have fun, but also know when to be serious. Be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on when they need you. Above all, show love to the other person. Friendships, like any relationship is a two-way street. The friendship will only be as good as you make it. 

S: Finally, what have you learned about friendship from older people? What do young people have to teach older people about friendship? What do you think of intergenerational friendships?

V: From when I was young, I was learning how to treat others from my parents. Growing up through school, I also had friendships modelled to me by people in groups I attended - church, camp, school, etc. Older people have wisdom to offer those who are younger. They have been "around the block" and have had more life experience. The older and younger generation may not always understand each other. However, older people are only trying to impart wisdom to the younger, so that they avoid the same mistakes that they made.

Additionally, the younger generation have something valuable to offer as well. Young people are who will make up the next world-changers and leaders in society. They have new ways of thinking and perspectives that can benefit the older generation. Older people are more set in their ways, because of living in a certain way for years. However, younger people are more fluid and can change easier. Because of this, they can shed new light on how society should work and how people treat one another. For example, they can share a distinct view on the marginalized, as well as the unethical, inhumane and immoral ways of life that people have overlooked. 

S: I like your mature, balanced response. You recognize the value offered by people in every age category. No one should be written off; there should be respect between the young and the aged and those in between. There is a lot to be said for older women mentoring younger ones, but the older women also gain much from the experience.

Thanks for joining us today, Victoria. All the best in your studies!

V: My pleasure, and thanks again for having me.

And now, dear readers, if you’d care to chime in (and I hope you do!), please leave a comment below. Victoria and I would love to hear from you!

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed the interview!
    -- pj


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