Our lives are based on social connections. Good friends are our lifelines – getting us through the ups and downs life has to offer. They laugh with us, they dry our tears, they support us through thick and thin, and most importantly they can be as goofy as us.
My early life experiences were made fun and easy to bear with, only because I had the best of friends to tide on. The fondest memory I have is being summoned to the Principal’s office to be punished – only to find my bestie waiting for me there and sharing the blame. The solidarity of not outing the other person to the teacher and taking the blame collectively was a life skill that I learned early on.
So what makes someone a real friend you‘d ask.
Well, some qualities like never judging, keeping secrets, Being honest with you, being there for you always, looking out for one another, being your own self with them, saying yes to helping you even before they know what you need help with, motivating you, feeling happy with your accomplishments, caring for you, covering for you when you need an alibi, and so on.
Aristotle figured there were 3 kinds of friendships:
Friends for a reason: exist between you and someone who is useful to you in some way. For instance, it's possible you're friendly with your neighbor because she waters your lonely little cactus when you got on vacation and you take care of her dog when she's away. These are friendships of the "You scratch my back, I'll degrade myself by picking up your pooch's poop with a plastic baggie" kind.
Friends for a season: exist between you and those whose company you enjoy. Often, these are "activity buddies": people with whom you do things like playing soccer, going for long bike rides, or cow-tipping. You may have this kind of relationship with one of the other locals at your friendly neighborhood coffee shop or gym or tattoo parlor--the kind of person with whom you enjoy a little chit-chat or a good joke.
Friends for a lifetime: are based on mutual respect and admiration. These friendships take longer to build than the other two kinds--but they're also more powerful and enduring. They often arise when two people recognize that they have similar values and goals; that they have similar visions for how the world (or at least their lives) should be. Not infrequently, they begin in childhood, adolescence, or college--though plenty form after that, too.
I have been fortunate to have the last type more in my life – I would feel used or feel I am using people in the first category. The kind of friends I have today have been curated and help me be the best version of myself when I am with them. I have cut off the fake ones who seem to weigh me down more than necessary. I simply don’t want to spend any extra time or energy on them.
Sometimes, friendships break up and that can be painful but try to overcome. You may want to call it quits or at times it's the friend’s call to end it. It's ok to end a friendship that isn’t going anywhere but apart. People change and this can affect friendships in childhood, high school, and college. You may realize you no longer have things in common as your lives evolve. You may find radio silence for long periods and your friend not returning your calls. At times, they may not be a good match for your needs. If you feel angry or toxic around your friend maybe it's time to introspect and call it off.
There’s a way to break up with a friend though…
Don’t cut off all contact without any explanation, or ghost your friend. After all, they were close to you at one point in time and they do deserve respect and closure.
Don’t place the burden of the entire blame on them for the friendship going south. You are equally responsible, after all, it takes two to tango!
It helps to keep in mind that ending a friendship doesn't always mean a bad thing. If you aren’t feeling nurtured, it's ok to break off and be liberated. You will always be able to find new friends who align with your thought process and values.
We cannot choose our family but we can always choose our true friends and they become our chosen family. Thanks to all my dear friends who transformed all my ordinary moments into extraordinary ones!!