Who needs friends when you can have followers, pets, books, or solitude?
Well, we ALL do. Friends are the people we choose and who chose us, devoid the comfort of genetic connection. Yes, familial relationships are great, but isn’t it wonderful to form a meaningful relationship with someone who has the option to connect with you, and chooses to do so? Friends are the people that we purposely explore, the people we make conscious choices to interact with, the people we share experiences with, the people we are vulnerable with, the people we grow with.
So who’s a friend?
It’s easy to label others as friends.
Growing up, we called those that we played with, or the neighbor children, children we saw on a daily basis, or other children we just spent lots of time with friends. As we grow older, we tend to group off and choose friends we have things in common with or those we share activities with. Then once we reach adulthood, we are thrown into a world with people who come from different places, have had different experiences, live different lives form us, and think differently from us. This is when we begin to evaluate friendship differently.
Whether we are starting anew or have been blessed with friends that have grown with us from childhood through all these stages, our relationships change as we grow and we learn to value one another on an ever-evolving level.
Get you a diverse group of friends.
We should always have more than one friend, and it is wise to have a diverse group. Diversity challenges individuality and gives you the opportunity to mature into who you were destined to be. How do you know who you really are if not challenged or exposed to a different way of thought? How can we grow if everyone is the same and always agree with us? How can we grow if we are surrounded only by those who have a genetically emotional connection?
While working in corporate America, I have blue collar friends- they keep me humble.
Married friends help me understand sacrifice in relationship.
Single friends remind me to enjoy myself.
Friends from the hood teach me ways to creatively manage my resources.
Friends of wealth teach me how to be financially aware.
Friends younger than me help me think outside the box.
Friends older than me are wise and help guide me through the current stage of my life. (They’ve been there, survived that).
Serious friends help me focus.
Silly friends help me laugh.
Friends who come from where I come from teaches me empathy.
Friends from the other side of the tracks teaches me humility; to know that there is a completely different way of life.
There’s the praying friend that teaches me faith.
The patient friend that holds my hand and teaches me to ease up on myself.
The supportive friend that always have my back.
You see, the world is wrong when we are told that you don’t need friends or that “followers” are the same as friends. Friends add to our journey and friendship requires work. You don’t always have to agree. You don’t have to like the same things or go the same places. You don’t even have to talk all the time!
A great friend is one that you can be raw with and accept from them the same. Someone you value for who they truly are. Someone you don’t try to change, but you change alongside one another. After all, the older you get, you will realize it is absolutely impossible to stay the same. Neither will they. No matter how hard you fight, you WILL eventually change.
And why not?
I don’t think, talk, move the same as when I was younger. The friends I had in my youth, my 20s or even in my 30s, if we remained the same, we’d lost decades of growth. I have some of the same friends grow with me and some new. I can now sit with my friends and laugh about things we used to do “back in the day” or things we’ve overcome and learned.
No matter the quantity or “status” of friends, no matter the specifics, all of your friends should have one thing in common: unconditional love and growth.
Make Life be good to you!