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Do Our Friendships Shape Our Individuality?

Posted: December 5, 2017

While our genes, family, and nurture play a large role in our personalities, the friendships we make throughout life make a big mark on who we are.

When the iconic TV series FRIENDS first aired in India, I must admit I missed the telecast. I missed the subsequent telecasts too. But when I did chance upon an episode of this hilarious comedy series, I was hooked; much like my 14 year old daughter is now.

This true to life dramatization of 6 individuals, who are woven together in the bonds of brotherhood & friendship, is an amazing portrayal of real life.  The hilarious humour, the mild dosage of sarcasm, the subtle innuendos is all what make this series a true classic.

Indeed, what would life be without having people, especially friends, to share it with? American author Ethel Watts Mumford has said, “God gave us our relatives; thank God we can choose our friends.” She could not have been more correct. In fact if we look at our life objectively then the only relationships that we do choose in our life are our friends. The family we are born into and the relatives that we have on account of our birth are pre-decided. But, we do get to pick our friends and these friendships are what teach us many lessons.

Warmth, empathy, love, envy, jealousy, hurt and betrayal are all emotions we learn by experience in our associations with our friends.

Each character in the FRIENDS franchise has a distinct personality and could not be more different from the other. And yet, they all come together and create friendships that are long lasting and dependable.

This is much the same as in real life. I mean, we all have friends who are diverse in their own way. From gossipmongers to meticulous planners, we encounter all sorts of people in our life who become our friends and enrich it. These close friendships that we form, whether in childhood, adolescence, or during our more mature/adulthood years; are what pave the way for beautiful memories. For example, the beautiful bonds formed knowingly and unknowingly during our formative years, shape us into the individuals that we end up as in our adulthood.

Childhood incidents, encounters, capers, escapades and romps with friends augment our persona and shape our character. They mould us into the people that we turn out to be. So, I guess in a way, apart from family, it’s friends we should also thank for what we make of ourselves and how we ultimately end up.

Image is a still from the sitcom FRIENDS

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I am the founder of two entrepreneurial ventures - Rian Placements (an executive search firm) and

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