Have you come across quotes such as “You cant chose family, but you can chose friends” ? If you can relate to the quote then chances are that you’ve had a fair run when it comes to friendships. I’m not different either, I’ve had a piece of the pie as well.
During my times in high school and campus, I had all sorts of friends; fashionable ones, popular ones, good looking ones, rich ones among others. I used to surround myself with people who made me feel validated. All we had in common were the guys we were dating (all because they were friends, so we the “girlfriends” had to be friends). Our interests ranged from party animals, gossiping, skipping classes and being overly the top with our romantic problems.
Getting older and having reached this level in life, has made me change my way of thinking when it comes to friendships. My realisation is that with time, my interests have changed. I have become a different person with every friendship that I have encountered. It is now clearer that the type of person I am shares different values when it comes to friendships.With time I have grown apart with some of my old friends, gotten closer to others and made room to welcome new, like minded people into my life.
It is said that “The five people you associate yourself with the most, you become like them” this is so true and it strongly echos in me. Today, when I assess my friendships, I ask myself how I feel after I spend time with them. If I feel constantly depleted, it’s an indication I need to take a break.
Friendship is something we build from trust, understanding, care, support and love. It is a mutual feeling between people. Some people have it easier establishing and maintaining friendships than others, friendship is a two-way street. Both parties need to contribute to it to build a healthy long-lasting friendship.
The things I now hold dear to heart when choosing friends is: trust, loyalty, confidentiality, honesty, availability, reciprocation, consistency and generosity above everything else. I am no longer impressed by the superficial qualities that I used to look for in friends. . Different types of friends serve different purposes, nourish and enrich your life in different ways. Just the same way you cannot eat the same food everyday is the same way that you need to have different types of friends in life.
Here are the 6 types of friends in my tribe:
#The BFF: This friend has seen me as hot mess, has met my darkest side and knows where the bones are buried. We all need a non judgemental friend who supports us no matter what. This friend drops in unannounced when you’re looking your worst, you haven’t showered, brushed your teeth and the house is a total disaster, but they won’t judge you. More important, they’ll let you be emotional when you’re at a low point……and they even bring ice cream or a bottle of wine.
#The Adventurer: There are so many places to visit, so many experiences to be enjoyed and so many people to meet (We live in a big world!). Yet so many of us are stuck in our home-office/office-home routines that we forget to, well, LIVE! We all need this type of friend who will tell us of the latest trips, hikes and camps that need to be explored. This kind of friend pulls us out of our shell and introduces us to a whole new world, new ideas, new cultures, new philosophies and activities. And we can all agree, we all need to blow some steam once in a while, aye!
#The Cool One: This friend is “always put together” which is either a blessing or a curse. A blessing in that they inspire you to have your life in check, but a curse because they make you realise how not together your life is sigh!. The one I know of in my life has their outfits put together, always super neat and not a strand of hair out of place, has various job offers and even has time to work out!! we have a love-hate relationship (don’t judge me LOL).
#The Brutally Honest Confidant: If there is a characteristic we underrate in a friend is the ability to be totally honest. There are situations in life where we just need to hear the harsh truth. That’s what “we” the brutally honest confidant are for, they don’t sugar coat the truth. For example, If you’re in a rocky relationship and everyone’s telling you that “oh it’s perfectly normal” that you’re back with that “
special someone” for the 10th time in the last 5 months, the brutally honest confidant is there to tell you, “Enough!. Stop with all this BS! The breaking-up-and-getting-back-together drama is annoying. You deserve better.” Friends are supposed to be honest with each other. If you find someone who is brutally honest with you then hold on to this person! People like that are hard to come by these days.
#The Mentor: “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.” WOW!! Where do I start to describe this kind of friend? If you have someone who is smart, inspiring, and admirable in your life who practices this philosophy, you’re extremely lucky. We all need a friend who inspires us to be a better person without making us feel less of a person. This wise mentor in your life doesn’t have to be someone who shares the same occupation or hobbies with you. It’s simply someone who’s a few steps ahead of you in life and has enough wisdom and patience to guide you in the right direction. It can be anyone — a colleague, a friend who’s beyond their years (I volunteer myself not), or an older neighbour — as long as you look up to this person and want to be more like them.
#Polar Opposite: Instead of constantly surrounding yourself with like-minded people, try to break out of your comfort zone and befriend people who hold opposing views. They will help open your eyes to different world views and you’ll learn to accept people who don’t see the world exactly the way you see it.
That being said, sometimes it’s hard to spot if a friend is toxic in your life. Here are the 3 types of friends you might want to avoid
1. The Flaky Friend: These ones I call them special. They have mastered the art of making plans. They are always sending frequent texts, constant calls- they want to hang out this weekend! They are dying to catch up! But come the the material day or Friday night, they bail. Or even worse, ignore your calls. A few weeks later, they are back in your DM, apologising for breaking the previous plan (Things got crazy! Something came up!) and wanting to set up another date, which they’ll inevitably miss. Their flakiness is not only frustrating, but it makes you feel bad about yourself. You’ll find yourself asking, “Is it me?” (No, It’s Not). Ditch that flaky friend, and clear your calendar for the friends who actually want to spend some quality time together.
2. The One Who Secretly Hates You: Do you know it is OK to be envious of your friend? I think so too – its only human nature. But while a true friend will always be happy for you – whether it’s your career, your relationship, your wardrobe or your weight – this friend will only be happy when they’ve proved that they are better than you. This friend cheers you on with exclamation points and happy face emojis included. But in reality, they secretly just don’t like you nor want the best for you. Be careful; because these people may want to appear like your friend due to strategic and calculative reasons and will likely mask their true feelings with eagerness and compliments. Your intuition always knows!
3. The M.I.A friend: This person is your friend when they are single and need you to be the wing person, or they are going through a rough patch in their life/relationship and they need a shoulder to lean on before things are back on track. But as soon as they have a smooth sailing, you are abruptly dropped to zero priority. After a while, things get rocky again, you are the person they call to weep and vent to, AGAIN! This time round, you give your “friend” the benefit of doubt that “they’ve changed”, only for the same cycle of MIA to repeat AGAIN once all is well. I get it that it is normal for friends to have less time and availability when relationships and other priorities come up in their lives, but its not OK to appear and disappear at their own pleasure in your life when in need.
To put in my two–penny worth:Just like in romantic relationships, there is also chemistry that exists between friends. Recognise the good friends with beautiful souls when they come into your life. Hold on to them. Invest in them. These are the special ones who will leave footprints on your heart. Choose your tribe wisely. Be intentional with the company you keep. And while you’re at it, have the courage and the intention to be a good friend to those who choose you.
Have any to add to the lists? Add to the list in the comments