We have all been there when friends we've had for many years suddenly find someone new that they get very close to very quickly, making us question the value of our friendship with them. We have also met new people whom we’ve connected with so well that we end up becoming very close in a short span of time. What does that really say about the nature of friendships? What is more valuable, the quality of the friendship, or the length of time you have been friends?
On one hand, long term friends just have a special place in our life, because we have evolved together over the years with them. We have seen them grow, and they have seen us grow. They have been around at every crucial moment in our life. They have seen our ups and downs, sadness, and joy. We have so many memories with them, creating a special bond we share with them. A bond stitched together by the length of time we have known each other and all of our shared experiences. There is almost a kind of inertia to the friendship, which cannot just come to an end because it has been going on for so long.
But a lot of times, what happens is the length of friendship makes us turn a blind eye to the quality of the relationship we have with them. We don’t see clearly how that relationship impacts us. The same bond created from our shared journey over the years makes us value their opinions and thoughts a lot more than we value any other person’s thoughts and opinions. And that is when we can end up internalizing things they believe, think about us which might damage us more than help us.
Friendships are not always good. They can be very toxic and bad for us as well. Our bond with a friend might make us blind to how the friendship might actually be damaging us, or limiting us. So the quality of the friendship is definitely very important, probably far more than the length of it. However, it’s also very easy to trick ourselves into believing that a new friendship we have developed is of high quality when it really isn’t. It’s hard to truly know people in a short span of time, it usually takes a long time to truly get to know them. So in this case, the length definitely is very important as well.
This means, we should absolutely prioritize the quality of the friendship but we should also be careful in being too quick to judge a new friendship as valuable and genuine. We should allow ourselves to take our own time and let the friendship evolve by itself, and see where it goes.
What do you think, should we value the quality or the length of the friendships we have?