We all go through life having various relationships and friendships that shape us into the people we are today. Some of those relationships follow you into various stages of your life, while others are there for the season. I believe that everyone we encounter in life serves a purpose; whether it be to help us along our way or to teach us a lesson. Every person and relationship we have ultimately shaped us into the person we are and will become.
However, it’s the people we call a friend, you know who I am talking about your “ride or die”, your inner circle, the people you call on your best days and, on your worst, that impact us on a much deeper level. The people you hold closest to you reflect how you see yourself. Remember that saying your parents used to tell you when you were younger, “you are what you hang out with; if you hang out with the losers you’re going to become a loser”. Maybe the version you heard was different, but the concept is the same. The friendships you have developed over the years and shared countless experiences with are the best and worst relationships of your life. They are as important in shaping who we are as our own parents are.
If you grew up anything like I did, then you spent most of your time with your friends. If you were around my house as a kid, you’d think my parents were rehearsing for their day in Judge Judy’s Court Room. This ultimately leads to 1 home turning into 2 by the time I was 10yrs old. I spent most my time at friends houses after school and soon found myself escaping to my friends to avoid being the mediator between the 2 houses. When you spend as much time as I did with your friends, you end up picking up their habits, behaviors, and relationship patterns. The person I am today is widely shaped by the friendships I have developed over the years and the ones that have grown with me over the years. It’s also the friendships that I lost along the way that equally impacted me. The way I see friendships with people now has grown and evolved over time. How I see friends today is very different from how I saw it as a teenager.
I think we need to redefine what friendship means and what that title entails. I think many of us have kept people in our circle of friends simply because of the history or attachments we have with them, rather than redefining them for what they really are, acquaintances. When you give a title to a relationship you give it meaning and significance. When a relationship turns into a friendship, it deepens the connection between the individuals and offers some form of vulnerability and sense of safety. Our friends ended up being the first people we call when we fall in love and when we get our hearts broken. The people you call friends, the ones you go to for support and love, should also find the same level of connection with you. That’s where I believe many get it wrong. The relationships we develop need to be equal parts giving or it doesn’t work. When a relationship is only one sided then we cannot deem it to be a friendship, at least not a true one.
See, the person you call a friend is someone that should support you and stand up for you when you need it most. They tell you the truth when you need to hear it but do it with respect and care. They care about your happiness and dreams just as much as you do. If your friends aren’t inspiring and motivating you to be the best version of you, then you may need to reevaluate that relationship. When you give a title of friendship to someone it should stand for something.
The hard truth is that everyone in your circle may not be in your corner. Just because they are your best friend does not mean they want the best for you. No matter how much you care or love someone it does not always mean they will do the same for you. If you are showing up for someone who isn’t showing up for you, then ask yourself what does this relationship/ friendship do for me? If life gets too much and you lose it all, would that person be by your side to offer a hand? Would they stand next to you telling you that together you will get through it or do they act like they don’t know you anymore? It’s time to get honest with yourself and get intentional with who you have surrounding you.
Be around people that pour into your cup, not just want to drink from it. Make the decision to not allow someone into your life if they are not there to support you. You may want their support, but you don’t need their support. There are some people that you meet today that have better intentions for you than someone you’ve known for years. You need to break up with all the “friendships” that don’t feed your soul and ignite a fire in you. Your friends shouldn’t dim your light, rather they should make it brighter. You’re going to leave some people behind when you grow, friends included, and that’s OK. Not everyone you meet is on the same journey and sometimes we find our paths going to different directions. You do not owe anyone an explanation for who you feel belongs on your journey, but you owe it to yourself to make sure you bring along the right people. Let go of the ones that bring you down and break up with the idea that you must be friends with someone. This is your life, so be selfish with who you spend it with.