Friendship can never be overrated.  It is invaluable to every human being’s existence.  A good friend is a sun on a cloudy day, the dessert after a lousy meal, or the holiday after a weeklong of deadlines.  He is that silver lining whenever our world crumbles.  Yet, he is also the icing on the cake of fulfilled dreams and achievements.  If we have this kind of buddy, we may have one of life’s greatest gifts.  The question is:  is he enough? Or do we need other new people in our lives?

Classmates we had in our earlier years usually remain in contact with us throughout our lives.  These are the ones we already know very well from the decades we have spent together.  One or two of them usually become our best buddies.  We are very comfortable sharing our secrets with them and confiding some sentiments we don’t even tell our spouses.   New acquaintances, on the other hand, don’t feel like family.  Most of the time, we feel hesitant divulging private information for fear of being judged or being a victim of future gossip.  However, one advantage of going out with an unfamiliar person is the novelty of it.  It seems so refreshing to learn about somebody for the first time and discover common interests.  Unlike spending time with old friends, there is no resentment about bad habits or recent unpleasant experiences.  There can be no repeated arguments or bad blood regarding certain topics.  Everything is exciting since both parties exchange completely new information.  It is similar to dating someone new.  There is so much to absorb about each other.

One comfortable notion about hanging out with old pals is the relaxed atmosphere.  There is no worry whether we may say the wrong thing that might upset someone.  In any case, we already know what not to say since we know them inside out.  We can even predict what they are going to say next!  Finishing each other’s sentences and exchanging knowing looks are common occurrences when two buddies are as close as siblings.  Even the long silence in between comments seems comfortable.  With new acquaintances, there is the reluctance to say or do just whatever we please.  All we can do is observe to see if we are really getting along well or if they are just gritting their teeth and cannot wait to get away from us.  Until we already know them completely, we are always kept wondering if they have an ulterior motive or if they genuinely enjoy our company.

Keeping our oldest friends is always a good idea.  Creating new ones doesn’t hurt either.  The only crucial thing to remember is our choice.  We must acquire the skill to spot the difference between a sincere chum and a freeloader.  Of course, we cannot do this in an instant.  It takes years of experience to be able to read an individual’s intentions.  In the process, we can enjoy their company while studying their varied characteristics.  Soon, we will be able to distinguish which ones are true, and if we like their personalities, as well, then these are the ones worth keeping throughout our lifetime.

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