The Benefits of Friendship – by Tony Thomas

College Reunion 1

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” These famous words about friendship come from William Shakespeare. He said those words hundreds of years ago, and they still ring true today.  Friendship is difficult to define. If you ask ten people, chances are you will get ten different responses. Everyone has a different definition of friendship, but there will be one thing that is consistent amongst all the answers: that life is better with friends.

Remember all the fun you had with your friends growing up. People come into our lives on a daily basis, but strong friendships are from those that stick around. We do not get to pick our family, but we do get to pick our friends, and I think that’s what makes them so special. As we grow older, life happens, some friendships linger and fade, but the memories remain. Earlier this month I had the amazing pleasure of being reminded of how much fun I have being around my friends. I was invited back to my old college, Shenandoah University, to reunite with my football team, as we were honored for winning a conference championship 15 years ago. Throughout this 15-year gap, I have been fortunate enough to keep in touch with some of them, but as I mentioned earlier, life happens, and many friends moved away, had families, and started careers.

Even though we had not seen each other in a decade, something interesting happened when we reunited on campus. It was as if no time had passed and we picked up right where we left off. That is the power of friendship. It lies with shared experiences and a genuine concern for each other. Having the opportunity to be around a group of people that I consider my friends reinforced the importance of having good people in your life.


There have been studies that examine the power and effects of friendship. Here are a few benefits:

– Increases your sense of belonging and purpose

– Boosts your happiness and reduces your stress

– Improves your self-confidence and self-worth

– Helps you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one

– Encourages you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise

Plain and simple, having good friends around can improve your overall quality of life.

Coming to the Manassas Park Community Center is a great place to meet with old friends and make new ones. Whether you want to exercise, learn a new skill, socialize in the park, or just hang out to drink coffee, we have the perfect space for you. With over a thousand programs a year, chances are that you will find something that you enjoy, and better yet, you may make a new friend.

Here’s to long, healthy, and prosperous friendships!

Tony Thomas is the Recreation Services Supervisor for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at


  • Quentin Merrill
    / Reply

    Great read young man!

  • Janet Thomas
    / Reply

    Excellent article.

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