Almost every year, during one-on-one sessions with my students, they share their deepest fears, confusions, and stress motivators. The majority of their concerns that puzzled their world are related to their social life – friendships. The question that every student, who suffered from traumatic social experience, ask ‘Sir, why someone hurt us who know us better than anyone?’ I simply listen to their concerns and let them answer their own questions – it’s one of my strategies where students find solutions to their problems by themselves. However, the question puzzled me after hearing their concerns, ‘Why do we need a friend to survive in this world of chaos?
When I was in school, I was fascinated by one of the subjects so much – Social Studies, where we study human evolution and development. There I learn the definition of society that mentioned an essential aspect of humans. Human beings are social animals who need other humans to survive and live happily in their world. I develop a sense that friends are necessary, and without a friend, I don’t even survive in this world. Similarly, we all have a different meaning of friends and friendships in our lives, and none of these definitions is wrong. However, if I ask, what common feature you will find from each of these different definitions of friendship? What would be your answer? I believe the only thing that is common among different types of friendships is – An ear that listens to us. Humans need other humans o make sure that they are not alone, yet the sense of surety will only be possible when we hear what others want to say or express to us.
Sophie Andrews, CEO of Silver Line – a 24-hour phone line that provides social connectivity for isolated senior citizens in the UK, believes the same about the need for a friend and how we define that friendship. She shares her story where she suffered from abuse, and the only thing that resisted her to make a hard decision was a person who simply listens to her issues and trauma. Now she’s paying the favour back as the founder of The Silver Line, a helpline that supports lonely and isolated older people. In a powerful, personal talk, she shares why the simple act of listening (instead of giving advice) is often the best way to help someone in need.
Let’s review Sophie’s TED talk and listen to why we need an ear to listen to us, why we need a friend in this world.