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Why did we make friends with the people who are friends with us today? The answer to this question can be at least understood as the answer of ‘why do we fall in love?’ It is doubtful whether one can give a clear cut answer to this question, and it will remain a question forever.

When we were kids, friendships were less complicated. We made friends out of the best pacts we could get. In nursery schools, we made friends because one let us use their color pencils, because one shared their lunchbox, because he/she let us use their clay or simply because we were asked to sit next to each other.

In primary school, we became a bit advanced. We became thoughtful and made friends with the ones who were smart, ones who would let you copy their homework or ones who lend you their storybooks.

As we grew, similar to all the other aspects of life, selecting friends also got complicated. The blessed ones remained to maintain the friendships they formed when they were young. But others couldn’t, because the friends they chose didn’t meet the expected demands of friendship. So we deliberately lost touch with our school-time besties and formed new friends.

Have you ever wondered why we are friends with the people we are friends with? Why did your best friend become your best friend? Why wasn’t it someone else?  These are quite difficult to be answered.

It is fair to say that sometimes we make friends because of reciprocity. We like them and they like us back, so we become friends. Sometimes we share mutual interests. Friends influence our life; they influence the way we think. Good or bad, if we start liking this influence, we become friends with them.

However, these friendships we form are not as simple as the friendships we formed back in school days. These friendships seem to offer us more, and seem to take more from us in order to maintain them. We have to put a lot of effort in maintaining a friendship.

When the friendship goes the way we want, it becomes a blessing. A good friend is something wonderful that can be cherished throughout our lives. But, there is a horrifying factor to be considered in making new friends.

People are not as innocent as they used to be when they were back in school. When we were kids, we didn’t have to worry much about our friends being ‘fake’ or being ‘hypocrites’. Back in the childhood days if we didn’t like someone, we didn’t make friends with them. We didn’t have to wear a fake smile on our faces in order to fake loyalty or didn’t have to please them in order to get something from them. If we hated someone, we were free to frown at them or ignore them. We weren’t compelled to maintain friendships.

World seems to have become a nasty place after school, and forming authentic friendships has becomes a difficult task, as some people are more oriented in fulfilling their demands than being friends. Worst possible, when they matured with age, people seemed to have learnt how to become ‘less genuine’ in order to build new relationships. And, sadly, we fall prey to these ‘less genuine’ people.

We tend to pick friends who are similar to us. If people around us learn our interest, and fake them in order to befriend us, there is a higher possibility of us being fooled by them. However, since it is not a genuine relationship, the odds are high for the relationship not to last very long.

Once a person becomes closer to another, it becomes easier to observe them closely. The other person will pick it up if the attempts are not genuine.  Danger in this is on the genuine one’s account. To realize that he/she was taken advantage of will lead to him or her ending up heartbroken.

We have to be extremely cautious in choosing friends at workplace, university or simply anywhere you walk in. Before giving in your maximum to a newly-made friend, observe the person. It is not that everyone we meet outside is vicious, waiting to take advantage of you, but not everyone you meet out there in the world is genuine too. Choose your friends wisely; you don’t want to end up heartbroken trying to help a ‘fake-friend’.

Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna