I loved the seaside and enjoyed watching the sunsets across the Straits of Malacca when I was little. Often, I would wish to board one of the merchant ships and travel the world. Since then, life has brought me to live in places: Canterbury, London in the U.K., the Loire Valley in France, and Kentucky in the U.S. before returning to Asia, where Singapore is now home.
Those who experience a similar globetrotter lifestyle understand each move involves uprooting oneself from a familiar environment and reestablishing a new social support circle. Learning and forming new connections are vital. While one may develop social friendships quickly, gaining genuine acceptance is much more difficult. Social friendship refers to connections primarily based on convenience, shared activities, or common circumstances. While enjoyable, the depth of these friendships tends to be limited and often more superficial.
When there is genuine acceptance, the relationship adds vibrancy to each other’s peronal development, crafting precious and lasting memories in one’s journey. Friendships with genuine acceptance are often built on trust, mutual respect, and a willingness to invest time and effort into understanding each other at a deeper level.
Both have their place in life; while social friendships offer pleasant interactions, genuine acceptance is a more profound connection. Many people may understand networking, but not all embrace the art of friendships that create lasting and genuine bonds.
Besides making time for quality interactions, here are some common traits one would like to find in a friend: (a) Empathetic listening, someone with whom we can have an open and non-judgemental dialogue. (b) Genuine TLC (tender loving care), someone who is always ready to give us a helping hand. (c) Authenticity and sincerity without ego, someone who can respectfully agree to disagree with us. The art of friendship is simple: Be the friend you seek, and you shall find some in return.
When you gaze at the full moon this 29th, ask if your connections are of social friendships or genuine bonds of acceptance. You are fortunate if you have built many genuine bonds, for a true friend is a precious gift in life.