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Why are friends so important to people? This is an essay question. I just need help getting started. I don't really know how to start or what topics to discuss.

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Inuk Lee eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are many ways to approach this questions, but one way to approach it is to underline that people are social animals. This is what Aristotle said. In short, we can say that people are built for friendships. Another angle is that friendships help a person in life when things get difficult. There will always be times when we can use a helping hand and encouragement. Third, you can say that friends are people that will always be honest with you. This is important, because often times, we have blind spots and we need people to challenge us.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would begin in the assertion of John Donne in his belief that "no man is an island."  The idea here is that all human beings possess a fundamental need for human interaction and connection.  In this light, we begin to understand why friendship might be so important to so many.  The need for human connection, the ability to share thoughts and ideas, as well as enjoying companionship might be a reason why friends are so important to people.  To some extent, our fears which might exist in being alone, not fully understanding ourselves, and seeking to find some level of interaction with someone that can help to alleviate a pain- ridden consciousness could be other reasons why people seek friendship.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would start by thinking about what role friends play in your own life.  You'll be able to write about it much more easily if the points you are making are ones you, yourself, feel and believe.

For me, friends are important for a variety of reasons:

  • They give you people with whom to talk about things that are bothering you.
  • They allow you to feel good about yourself -- to feel that there are people who like you.
  • They keep you from being too self-centered because you have to think about their needs as well.

I'm sure other people will have other ideas, but I hope these will be of help.  Good luck!

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krishna-agrawala | Student

The meaning of friendship as well as its importance to people is something very subjective. But in general we can say that among all the different relationships that exist between people, friendship offers the most wide range of relationships. Some people would like to restrict the meaning to some thing vague called "true friendship", and which may be described in terms of aphorisms alike "a friend in need is friend indeed." In my mind friendship is something more much more common, widespread, and useful than the such limited brands of ideal friendships.

In my mind friendship represents a shared relationship of liking, and interdependence. While friends may help us in needs and in this way perform some specific service. But the main function of friendship is not a means to some other end. The joy of friendship with shared feelings and shared activities being the main benefit of friendship. In this this way friendships is an essential and important components of all other relationships including the very close relationships between spouses and between parents and their children.

One important way in which friendship differs from all other relationships is that it thrives on its own, without the need for social contracts as is essential in relationships between spouses or other family relationships. Friendship is totally dependent on the will and feelings of the friends. There are no social or legal rules to regulate forming or breaking of friendships.

In conclusion, friendship is valuable in itself in the form of joy of friendship. It is also a great contributor to increasing the strength of bond in all other relationship. The least important of the benefits of friendship is the mutual help that friends receive from each other. I believe, more important than such help is the reassurance is that the help from friends is always available.

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mkcapen1 | Student

Human beings are basically social animals.  The need to belong is intrinsic.  Developing and maintaining friendships is the result of the inner drive of humans.  Friendships offer different things to different people, but there are some core things that friendships have.  A person may have all or just some of these ties with a friend.

·     a common need

·     a common tie

·     a support

·     emotional bonding

·     common interests

·     self-preservation

·     social comparison

·     generate happiness or joy

There is a misconception that friends are chosen because of who they are.  In reality friendships are developed because of what each individual needs.   Self-disclosure and reciprocity are a component of maintaining friendships and intimacy is the thing that helps seal them.

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