On December 8 last year, I completed my final paper of the final public examination and officially graduated from secondary school. Here are some of the life lessons/things I have learnt in the period of about two months since then.
#1. Friendships are choices
In secondary school, teenagers make the most number of acquaintances and friends compared to other stages of their lives. This applies to almost all teenagers. Some make more friends and acquaintances than others but still every teenager makes more friendships at this stage of their lives than any other stage.
However, once leaving secondary school, a teenager will soon realize that friendships are choices one has to consciously make. Why do I say this?
Firstly, it is because of physical distance. Not going to school means a teenager can be anywhere from overseas to at their homes just a stone’s throw away but the main point being that you will not be meeting them often or at all. To maintain a working friendship, time and effort has to be made to meet up with them and spend some time together. Yes, there is social media but most of the time our secondary school friends are just another “friend” on our list of friends unless we take the time and effort to meet up with them.
Secondly, it is because of maturity and character traits. “Birds of a feather flock together”. In secondary school, you were put together with a mix of different classmates with different personalities and characters yet you generally get along well. But, as a teenager matures and their thought process becomes more sophisticated, they soon realize what’s best for them in terms of their short-term and long-term goals as well as individual character development. After leaving high school, teenagers generally choose friends who share the same interests and vision or purpose in life. This causes some friendships to fall away while helping others to flourish.
Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he (Robin Dunbar) proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships.
Dumbar’s number tells me that I have to selectively choose this 150 people whom I choose to have stable relationships (family and friends). 150 is a small number indeed compared to the average number of “friends” a teenager supposedly has today (especially those virtual friends and followers)!
Dunbar’s number and the above explanations has lead me to consciously be aware of the friendships I choose to nurture and how they will mould me as a person. Indeed, friendships are choices we make so please MAKE WISE CHOICES! I am going to end this article with a few quotes about friendship for you to ponder on. Thank you for reading.
(to be continued in the next post with life lesson #2)