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How Many of Us Have Them?

I am always leery of people who find a sense of pride in exclaiming “I don’t have friends,” or “I don’t need friends.” The relationships that I have built over time have been integral to my development and the woman that I am today. Yes, to all my friends reading this, you are to blame. But seriously, friendship is so essential to bits of who you are and who you will ultimately be.

It’s Levels to This

There are different types of friendships. I have made a number of friends in my professional environment. These friendships typically consist of peers in my industry who understand the ins and outs of what I do on an everyday basis and can relate their professional experiences to mine. They might serve as sounding boards when business gets stressful and can truly comprehend your sentiment, motivators to help inspire you to get to the next level and understand what it takes to get there, or after work drinking buddies. Then you have those friends that you might have known since childhood. A study conducted by students at Florida Atlantic University concluded that only 1 percent of childhood friendships last past high school. If you happen to be a one percenter or someone who uses social media to reconnect and rekindle with old friends, these friendships are important because they serve as a reflection of who you were and how you have transformed over your lifespan. The friendships that tend to last until later in life and truly teach us about who we are and who we will be are the ones that we make between our teenage and college aged years. These people typically become your best friends. They serve as those personal relationships that you depend on the most and likely experience a lot of different life events with.

Growing Pains

No matter what type of friendships you have encountered, I am almost certain that they have helped you grow in some type of way. Adversely, we might encounter friendships that help us grow out of harmful circumstances. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already, you might encounter a relationship that you once considered a friendship that ends differently. The objective of this post is to explain the importance of true friendships, but the bad ones play a part into who we are too. A few years ago I lost a friendship that I thought was authentic. Outwardly, I wasn’t fazed when things ended, but inside I was hurting. After the initial shock of losing what I thought was an important friend, I had to think about the situation from a more logical standpoint and take my emotions out of the equation. I learned so much. Not only did I realize that I had contributed to the dissipation of the relationship, I also realized that the friendship had ended long before it officially happened. I was able to look retrospectively and acknowledge all the things that I had done to cause pain to the other party. I also committed to changing some things to ensure that I didn’t contribute negatively to any future or current relationships.

There are certain traits to be cautious of. Friendships should not consist of one person consistently giving and this does not solely include tangible items. Have you ever met a person who comes to you with every problem they have and expects you to have a listening ear? How often do they reciprocate that? What about that “friend” you always have to reach out to in order to spend quality time with or initiate a conversation? I call these types of “friends” Energy Vampires. They constantly take from you and you exert so much energy trying to give to them and uphold your end of the relationship and rarely get the same back. Mutual relationships are beneficial relationships.

What About Your Friends?

True friendships challenge you. They help you grow and they are beneficial to the person you are and the person you are meant to be. I don’t know where I would be without my friends. My true friends consistently encourage me, most of them without intentionality. I see them becoming amazing people and it makes me want to be a better me. There have been times where I’ve seen a friend chase after a goal with such tenacity that it made realize that I needed to step my own game up. Typically I’m a pretty positive person and I rarely claim having a bad day, but there are some instances where my days get the best of me, I’m unsure about myself, and just don’t feel like I have it all together. I couldn’t imagine not having someone to tell me that it would get better, and then checking me for staying in my feelings too long. I couldn’t imagine going through so many life events and having no one to share those things with. A wedding with no bridesmaids? A baby with no TiTis or Godparents? A girl’s trip with no…..well, girls. I don’t know about you, but having friends is so much more than having someone to go out with and have a good time. It’s a built in support system, a reality check, an opportunity to finally choose your family, a shoulder to cry on. A team to do life with. Today, I encourage you to show your friends some love. Tell them that you appreciate them and what they’ve been to you and for you. I also encourage you to take inventory of your friends and consider what type of friend you are and make changes where you see necessary.

-ATL

 

 

 

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