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My friendships have always been important to me, but as I get older and can see how easily relationships can fade, they’ve become even more of a priority.

I’ve always been the type of person to value my friendships. I still have friends that I keep up with from the elementary school I attended in Indiana despite the fact that I haven’t seen most of them for years. Social media -- Facebook to be exact, despite its flaws -- has made keeping tabs and initiating conversations so much easier.

Every person’s friendships are different. There are some who call each other every day and others who can only get together, whether it be by telephone or face-to-face, once every other month. I usually talk to someone at least once a week. Daily conversation can be tough with everyone’s daily duties, but once a week gives you the perfect amount to talk about. Now that the majority of my friends are living in areas that I can’t just hop in the car and drive to without some sort of plan and overnight bag, social media and video messaging programs like OOVOO and Skype are essential. Skype is a lifesaver because it allows you to video chat with multiple users for absolutely free.

Proximity isn’t a factor with friends, unlike significant others, in my opinion. It’s hard to maintain a long distance relationship, but a friendship is like a whole other ball game. Genuine friendships can thrive with distance; new life experiences can help encourage and deepen the friendship rather than hinder it. I went to Jacksonville last weekend with one of my best friends to visit another one of our best friends and I had such a great time. We are committed to our friendship, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them, so we make the effort to have fun experiences in new places. We drove about 10-12 hours in a 48-hour period, but it was worth it. I was worn out on our trip back, but I’ve been told that you’ve got to make memories. We haven’t gotten together since early this year and I realized that it’s very necessary to spend face time with your friends. It’s easy to get busy and bogged down with work, significant others and children, but time with friends can really lighten your load no matter where they are in the world. Yes, a best friend could be a spouse or a family member, but I love my special bonds with people who aren’t blood relatives. They’ve become my own little family.

Friendships can be better than the best medicine, but I don’t think they are appreciated as much as they should be. I can find so many books and websites on romantic relationships, but it’s hard to find a decent one of how to deepen a friendship. Opposite sex friendships are valuable, but I think there is more to be said on friendships with people of the same sex, because, naturally, you can better relate. When you are feeling uncertain, it’s nice to have a listening and sympathetic ear, even if they can’t really help you solve a dilemma. One of the benefits of having a social circle is less stress and worry. You can vent to real friends without judgment or major misunderstandings. They can help you determine what does and doesn’t serve you objectively and subjectively, and both are necessary. Social networks are critical to one’s well-being, especially if they are true friends that are open to every part of you, even the less desirable parts of your personality or habits. It’s difficult to put all of your eggs in one basket and live a full life in regard to friendships. People change and go their separate ways for awhile, but when you have more than one investment relationship wise, you are more likely to swim despite the loss of one or two you thought were friends. Of course, not everyone is your real friend but once you have a genuine friend they are hard to get rid of. A real friend will always be there for you, despite your circumstances with real love. Good friends are one of our most valuable resources.