What Friendship Means: A 21st Century Guide

Jessica Tee Owunna (nee Orika)

Jessica Tee Owunna (nee Orika)

12 minutes

Friendship

What Friendship Means: A 21st Century Guide For Young People

Let’s be honest.

Finding and keeping good friends in the 21st century is hard. Like super hard! That’s because most people don’t know what friendship means anymore. 

Back in the day, sharing a meal, group plays, waving back, standing up for a classmate, or even your parents’ long-standing relationship was enough to fuel a friendship. You didn’t have to do so much to maintain the relationship. Until age came with tons of responsibilities, busy schedules, and unmet expectations.

So, where do we go from here? How do we build, maintain, and enjoy great quality, true friendships in the 21st century? 

It starts with going back to the basics—understanding what friendship means, why it matters, the different types of friendships, how to define friendships at different stages of the relationship, and what to look out for in a friend. 

Here’s what’s to come:

I know you care about building intentional, healthy, and thriving friendships. That’s why you’re reading this piece right now. You made the right choice. This piece will help you get started so let’s dive right in.

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What Does Friendship Mean?

A friendship is a mutual, platonic relationship between two people who share similar values, interests, or experiences. Sometimes it evolves into a romantic relationship when opposite-sex friends become attracted to each other. 

Healthy friendships are mutual because both parties make a conscious effort to add value to each other’s lives. That means:

What friendship really means

You could sum up these responsibilities to treating your friend the way you’d want them to do to you, despite your busy schedule. 

Of course, this feels like a lot of work, especially since everyone is busy and social media has reduced friendships to cute selfies and reactions. However, genuine friendships don’t start with this level of commitment. 

A simple “hello”, a question, or a warm smile usually sparks a single or series of conversations that can lead to an “aha!” moment.

Your aha! moment could be realising that you both have similar interests, a shared experience, or heritage. Sometimes it could be a kind or thoughtful act that creates a connection. But you can’t tell if that relationship is worth starting or investing in without a conversation or series of conversations. 

Now we know what friendship means, let’s see why you need friends.

Why You Need Friends

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Last, but not least, a heading

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Jessica Tee Owunna (nee Orika)

Hey friend 😊. I'm Jessica, the Creative Lead and Managing Editor of therealconvos. I share practical tips to help you heal from past hurt, rediscover your identity, and make better relationship and life choices so that you can lift others.

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