What is a friend? Maybe they are people who will listen to you, or people who you can boss around all the time, or maybe even just people who don't have to do anything but sit with you at lunch. As Asher put it", 'Friends are important sources of companionship and recreations, share advice and valued possessions, serve as trusted confidants and critics, act as loyal allies, and provide stability in times of stress or transition" ' (qt d. in Dolich 1) Even in the beginning, when man was first created and put in the Garden of Eden to work the ground, there was a need for friendship and companionship. As God says while watching Adam work", 'it is not good for man to be alone. I will make a companion for him. ' " (qt d. in Adam... 2: 18).
From the rib of Adam, God created Eve who was to be Adams companion forever. Do we even need this companionship, and if so is it important? As a recent poll of high school students shows, forty percent believe that friends are very important to them. While only ten percent believe that friends weren't that important at all. Sixty percent of those questioned said that if their friends were to change and become more popular, then they would change themselves as well just to fit in and keep the friends they had (survey 2005). As one of these students points out, "Well it's better than being alone all the time, this way at least you have someone to hangout with and talk to" (interview 2005).
So in a day and age when teenagers especially are known for trying to act as individuals, we can see that in most cases people are the products of the influences put on them by their friends. Artwork whether it is a painting, a drawing, or photograph; is a big way to express the importance of friendship. The photograph Be a True Friend, shows two male friends. Out at night, in a boat, not doing much but rowing. Along with this photograph is a caption saying, "the only way to have a friend is to be one" (Be a True Friend). From the caption, as well as the picture itself, you get the impression that these two people who aren't doing anything but rowing, are great friends.
You get the feeling that they don't have to do anything but be there for one another, and because they are there for one another they are the greatest of friends. Another photograph Lend a Hand, shows another pair of male friends. However, contrary to the peaceful impression given in Be a True Friend, a more exciting, active impression is given in this one. It shows this pair of friends rowing as quickly as possible, maybe because they are in a race. "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another" (Lend a Hand). Besides just being there for one another, this photograph gives the impression that a good friend helps you, and "lends you a hand" (Lend a Hand) when you need it.
These two friends are as close as they are because they always help each other when they can. Males differ in many ways from females, as children boys tend to choose toys like G.I. Joes; while girls tend to choose to play with Barbie's. Girls are known to having tea parties, while boys are known to try to ruin these parties. Why do we behave in such different ways? Some might say that we are conditioned by television, our parents, or even societies expectations of how boys and girls are supposed to behave. However, maybe our interactions with friends during the course of our lives play the biggest roles.
As Caryn Dolich states, .".. friendships in particular have the potential to play a huge role in adolescent identity formation, behavior, and self projection" (Dolich 1). If this is true, then what is different in male friendships? Males for the most part seem to behave according to a specific stereotype. The popular belief is that males behave in a more rough and aggressive way. However this behavior is seen mostly in younger male friendships. As Thorne points out, "males form friendships in groups showing less concern for reciprocity of support and caring...
". (Dolich 2). Meaning that males tend to talk to each other mostly about subjects not concerning their feelings. While growing up, males are also "educated to value activity and achievement" (Dolich 1). What do males look for in friendships? As this interview with a high school male shows", I usually hangout with people like me, who aren't obsessed with fitting in and being cool.
I would rather hangout with people who just wanna have fun most of the time. Oh yeah, and I don't like people who I can't trust" (Interview 2005) A recent poll of just male high school students shows that sixty percent have been friends with their current male friends for five years or more (survey males 2005). This is a long time to stay friends, especially in high school. A poll of just female high school students shows that only forty percent have been friends for five years or more (survey females 2005). This research shows that ten percent of the males polled have kept their friends longer. In all cases people look for friends to rely on "one relies on a friend to share in the pain" (Knock 1).
To have someone there who will support you and help you when you need it is a great gift for anyone. .".. two people who are true friend are like two bodies with one soul" (Poto k 74). When two people are not just friends, but are true friends their friendship is as strong as it can ever be. This is why male friendships last so much longer than most people believe. When they decide to be friends, or look for friends they choose people they can rely on and trust, people who are like them, people who they can just feel comfortable being with without always feeling that they must give something more. Without a word being said they can give each other all the support they need, and in doing so they can create a friendship that is long lasting and meaningful.