2014年8月30日托福独立写作题目：The ability to maintain a small number of friends for a long time is more important to happiness than the ability to make new friends easily.
Friends are those who see us through in all the ups and downs of our lives While new acquaintances often bring surprises and vitality, to maintain a close relationship with a couple of old friends can never be easy. As for me, to nourish a long-lasting friendship is of more importance.
The first reason is that to keep an old fried close has to stand the test of time. Fresh affection can always be exciting, but it wouldn't be long before certain problems show up and two people no longer see eye to eye. Studies have shown that for the first three months everything goes well, but after the honeymoon period, any relationship has to face disagreements and divergences. As a problem-free friendship is non-existent, the ability to reconcile and the willingness to make compromise would mean a lot. I met Tina ten years ago when we both were invited to a local gallery opening. Both passionate about paintings and sculpture, we found us share a lot in common and hit it off quite soon. Naturally, two art lovers become close friends and later on we chose to be roommates That's when we realized it took a lot more than just a common interest to stay friends. She had a dog but I was allergic to animal fur; and she enjoyed Rock'n Roll while loud music gave me nothing but a headache. Different lifestyle gives us fresh perspective at first, but turns into the source of every argument after the first year. If we chose to part ways, we could spare both some inconvenience but ended up looking for new companions. Instead, we had some serious talks about ways we wanted things to be. Then she gave her dog up for adoption and I learnt to make peace with heavy metal music. In this decade-long friendship, we all made compromises, which was hard but was all worthwhile in the end.
Besides, it is old friends that lend a hand whenever one is in trouble. It is true the ability to make new friends is a good indication of personal charm and popularity, but it takes some effort for the newly acquainted to build a real bond. We can only trust those who once shared joys and sorrows all together. That's something old friends can do for you. A business man may have no trouble making friends on banquets, dining and wining. They all seem happy and content, just to spend the night talking about business deals and trade leads. After the business dinner, very few would give a call to anyone, especially if it is a private matter. That's because people are quite aware of the fact that newly acquainted business partner cannot be trusted. They would feel more comfortable calling an old friend, who knows it all, and all the small talks could be spared. All of this couldn't have been possible if one were lousy at maintaining long lasting friendships.
To sum up, keeping old friends close entail time and efforts, but it matters more because it pays off in ways new friends cannot possibly achieve
The charm of friendship has enjoyed so much popularity that a great many people are deeply absorbed into the seemingly shining adeptness in broadening their range of acquaintances. Unlike those with critical thinking and independent judgment, some people are easily affected by the vanity of receiving a nodding “hello” from someone they barely know. Contrary to the publicly aroused opinion that one is supposed to make as many new friends as possible to add to one’s happiness, I, without doubt, maintain that as to brighten hopes for more happiness, the ability to maintain the tested friendship within a small group of people is surely of greater importance.
Admittedly, countless people still live under the impression that happiness can be synonymous with the ever-broadening circle of friends. They are forever talking about the enhancement of their communicative skills, the joy and fun shared and experienced, and the obviously roused sense of accomplishment. However, this heaven-like scene is nothing but their delusion. They fail to mention the merely superficial smiles and greetings, or about the time and energy dawdled away on the way to new friendship. Why people are prepared to associate the ability to make easy access to new companionship with the more important factor in deciding their happiness is beyond me. They could lift their happiness to a higher realm if they chose to give it a second thought.
Whether friendship can foster the sense of happiness, to a certain degree, depends on long-cultivated loyalty and faithfulness between friends. Imagine a person who always seeks new friendship. He would be the unfortunate victim deprived of the highly cherished experience of others’ loyalty and faithfulness, drowned into the unbearably hard-to-get-out cycle of getting acquainted with total strangers. Alternatively, if one highly regards the ability to maintain friendship within a relatively small group, he may get together and communicate with his friends more often, and vice versa. With years passing by, their relationship gets closer and deeper and their trust in each other grows. In this way, one wins the loyalty from others, which could some day serve as a helping hand in need. For instance, suppose one is working as a chief engineer in a factory with industrial secrets, and his friend is familiar with his concepts at work or his blueprint for the future. When the competing factory wants to dig out some information by bribing his friend, loyalty just stands out, preventing a potential financial loss. Therefore, if one focuses more on his ability to maintain friendship with a small group of people, it is more likely to generate others’ loyalty, the prerequisite for assured happiness.
In addition to the abstract happiness coming with loyalty, the rarely tested quality from friendship, what strikes me most about carefully fostered friendship within a small group is the tangible happiness of various forms. To start with, if people maintain their friendship with only a few, they will never have to figure out how to warm up every conversation with others during each get-together, which, for sure, is a relaxing way for social life. For example, we never feel embarrassed before our closest friends even when we do not put out the normal greetings. Every meeting becomes so natural that we do not get nervous or uncomfortable at all, which, in the long run, is definitely adding to our mental health. Besides, only those we know quite well are inclined to offer pertinent advice to us. For instance, when a bunch of old friends resort to one another for some suggestions, such as ones concerning their work, their life, or their future plan, long-maintained friends tend to avoid beating around the bush and express their true feelings and worries, which, in most cases, we cannot count on a newly acquainted nodding friend to do. Moreover, unlike those nodding acquaintances who seem to major in gossip, old friends often talk about more meaningful things, like life philosophy, values and thoughts, or emotional connections, always enlightening each other unconsciously. Accordingly, it proves to be evident that the ability to maintain friendship with just a few friends is definitely of great importance for one to experience real happiness.
To sum up, despite the deceptive glory gained from ever-widening circle of acquaintances, to maintain friendship with a few, I assume, is easier and more helpful, both mentally and physically, to assure happiness, the ability of doing so to be recommended forever.
2014/7/12托福独立写作：People should take several different kinds of job before they take a career in a long term