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Friends Like Family

Choosing the right people to do life with, is important for you to thrive.

I heard international friendship day is just right around the corner and I am so excited about it. While looking for inspiration to write this article, the hit song by Sister Sledge, “we are family” kept on playing in my mind and it reminded me of the friends I have, who I now consider as family. Friendships after family are one of the most important relationships we would cultivate in life. Our friends become mirror images of who we are. Ever heard the saying; “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are?” that is why intentionality has to come into play while choosing friends.

My friends & I at a wedding in Dallas

Shows like friends, became an instant hit because people could relate easily to the relationships the characters had with each other. The show was built around those relationships because they knew that for anyone to thrive in life, they needed great friendships. I believe that was why the show was a huge success. Anyone who knows me knows how often I celebrate my friends, my friends have become an intricate part of my life and I cannot seem to do life without them. There are people in my close circle that I have been friends with for about 12 years now and we are still going strong.

The secret to these life-long friendships are the qualities that these certain relationships carry. Most of the tight friendships I have today are the ones I made while I was in college. I moved thousands of miles away from home, to attend college in the United States, and needed a family away from my family. These girls that have now become my sisters, opened up their homes to me, they gave me rides when I needed it, and also cooked for me (I love my food!) until I was able to settle down completely in a foreign country. Without them, my college experience would have been mundane. They brought so much spice to my life and I appreciate them for every bit of it. Here are a few traits that these people carry and I continue to look out for, when forming new relationships with individuals.

Shared values and belief systems; it is good for you to surround yourself with people who are different from you, but when it comes to your close circle, it is very important that you are on the same page. People, who share the same values and belief system, motivate themselves to become better. They work towards a common goal and purpose. They know they are headed in the same direction; no one is trying to change the other person to fit into their own box. Life is just easier, and it flows. “Can two walk together if they don’t agree?” this quote  which can be found in the Bible, is so apt to this point.

Loyalty; I often look out for people who prove to be loyal. Loyalty is a very good trait for you to have in your friendships, you have to know that the people you call friends will not flee at the first sign of trouble. You have to know that they “have your back” no matter what. For me, a friend who isn’t loyal is just an acquaintance, don't spend time investing in such relationships.

Kindness; The world can be a very harsh place to live in, so you need kind people in your corner to do life with. If you are always butting heads with your friends, or you find it difficult to have an honest conversation with that person, because of the fear that they may get upset, then that friendship has to be evaluated. Kindness is a strength, not a weakness.

Love; I love my friends, and I would like to think that they love me too , they have shown their love and loyalty at times that I couldn't stand on my own. You need people who love themselves first so they can extend that same love to others. A loving friendship is a healthy friendship. Parties involved in such a relationship, help themselves to live a more fulfilling life.

These traits which are just a few, are the kind of qualities my friends carry, which has made me become the person that I am today. They have made me more kind, hardworking, loyal and loving. I am confident to pursue my dreams because of the people who I call friends, who keep on encouraging me. They push me to become a better version of myself, and I in return do the same for them. They have also carried me through some tough times in life. I am not saying that these friendships are without disagreements or flaws, but at the core of who we are, we know there is no backing down because we want to see ourselves succeed.

For a successful friendship to happen, intentionality has to be involved, because anything you are not committed to will fall apart. I make sure I keep abreast with what is going on in my friends' lives through constant communication. I and my friends have a group chat on Whatsapp, I recently moved countries and this technology has made things a whole lot easier. So I don’t miss my friends as much, it now feels like they are with me every day. We communicate through texts, phone calls, and facetime. We see each other's posts on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. This has definitely helped out a lot, compared to the days when we had to log on to yahoo messenger on a desktop, just to chat with loved ones. Now I can carry them with me wherever I go.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

It is also vital to make time to do things that you and your friends enjoy together. One of my favorite things to do with my friends is watching movies at the cinema. I love movies and I just have a way of convincing them at all times, for us to catch the latest movies. I remember when Black Panther came out and I watched it with my brother, I called one of my close friends and was so excited about the movie. She planned on seeing it by herself, but I wasn’t going to let an opportunity to see it again pass me by. I called her multiple times for about 4 days, just to convince her to go see it with me (yea, I am that crazy girl that watches a movie several times). She eventually gave in, and I was elated, she couldn’t understand my excitement, because I had already seen the movie! Nevertheless, we enjoyed each other’s company that day with her asking me questions about the movie, and me joyfully answering them.

As much as I have great friendships in my life, I have also had to let go of some that were not so great for my sanity. I ended a friendship of over 7 years because I found out that she had betrayed me, by getting involved with my boyfriend at the time. It was very hard for me to wrap my head around it, and at the same time, believe it or not, it was difficult for me to completely let go of that friendship. She was someone I considered as family, she was there for me in good and bad times. But I had to release the friendship and hurt so I could move on completely with my life. I surrounded myself with people who loved me, and who also helped me get over the situation. Sometimes, loving someone from afar is the best gift you can give yourself.

Although I am not in the same country as most of my friends and I miss their physical presence a lot, I am thankful that technology has brought us closer together, rather than drive a wedge between us. And if I see them today, I would tell them to move countries! I say that to them all the time. Friends; great friends like family, are the driving force behind a great life. If you have the right people in your corner, you will feel that you can achieve anything in the world, and you would. I will end with this quote from the movie, The Greatest Showman (best movie ever!), which says; “You don’t need everyone to love you, just a few good people.”

Article originally published on Thrive Global

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