Sarah Title,

Musician Bill Withers once said “Lean on me when you’re not strong.” Who knew so few words could mean so much. As school winds down, homework and projects pile up. Students spend more time in King Library then their own rooms. Classes seem to become more of an obligation that gets in the way of doing homework and studying.

You begin to only see your friends and roommates on the weekends, leaving your textbook as the shoulder you cry on. With so much going on and so little time, the stress and builds up and emotions run high. You stare out the window of your classroom instead of at the blackboard in front of you. While motivation slips away, the work just keeps on coming.

Times of stress and sadness are when we most long for companionship. There’s nothing better than a friend bringing home your favorite candy when she hears you did poorly on a test. Or even a friend inviting you home with her for the weekend so you can escape Oxford’s chokehold.

In moments like these we have no problem admitting that we need a friend. We expect our friends to pick us up when we fall and to help us see when we’re in the dark. What about the times when we aren’t sad? What about when we’re simply happy? At what level does dependency become hazardous to our health?

According to Margaret Paul, Ph.D., from, when we cannot get an inner sense of safety, we look to external sources to find reassurance. We want our friends to reinforce and praise our good qualities when we cannot see them. This however, Paul stresses, can become an issue of emotional responsibility.

Not only may you refuse to own up to your actions but you may also begin to blame them on others. It is important to be able to own up to your actions and take responsibility for what you have done, your real friends will be there for you after all is said and done. If we do not have a strong sense of self, how will anyone else be able to help you?

While there is concern in becoming too dependent on other people, dependency is a biological necessity. It is nearly impossible to accomplish anything completely on your own. When you write a paper, you need research. When you apply for a job, you need references. Even when you move into a new apartment, you need movers. Everyone needs help from another in some way.

According to ‘Friends for Life: An Emerging Biology of Emotional Healing’, published Oct. 10, 2006 in The New York Times, research has proven a link between personal health and relationships. People who are married have many family members and friends and have active social lives are more likely to recover from diseases. Social neuroscience is becoming a popular field of study, as it studies how the brain reacts to social interaction.

Needing people is not as bad as it seems. We all have emotions that run haywire; we all have moments of panic and breakdown. While many try to put a negative spin on feeling vulnerable, admitting that you need a friend is an act of bravery in itself.