WHAT ARE FRIENDSHIPS?

Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .
— C. S. Lewis, "The Four Loves"

From the moment I could recall the events in my life, I have always put a great deal of emphasis on friendships. Even to this day, when I talk about a certain stage of my life, I always have a friend in mind to go along with the story. I grew up being a people's person, which you know, had its pros and cons. 

I remember making my very first "special" friend, actually, two of them. They were twins and we had similar names, too. We were inseparable and we would play together at daycare. Then, one time, I got disciplined for something (most likely for being too loud) and kids were talking behind my back and making fun of me for getting in trouble. So, my twin besties decided they no longer wanted to be friends with me. This was my first friendship heartbreak. Since that time, I have had good friends and bad. It would take months to write about each "friendship heartbreak" I have experienced and quite frankly, it would be boring to read about every single drama episode of my life. But, I am sure a lot of you can relate to that feeling of losing a good friend due to some argument whether it was big or small. I am certain each one of you has a story to tell. I want to focus on an important topic here today. I want to dissect the topic of friendship and hopefully, help you realize the things you need to be looking for in a true friend. For the sake of time, I am going to break this into six aspect that I find most important in a true friend and I would love to see what you all have to add to my list. So, please feel free to drop a comment and let's start a conversation. 

1. Real friends encourage us to be more accepting of ourselves: let's elaborate on that for a second. We all have insecurities that we either choose to hide or choose to highlight for whatever reason. I, personally, am the kind of person that will highlight every single thing I don't like about myself to my friends. I have been burned by this in the past to where "friends" would use this characteristic of mine to their advantage. You want to avoid people who will join you in dwelling on your problems. I encourage you to surround yourselves with people who will take the time to build you up in your moment of weakness. As humans, we are already programmed to not accept ourselves as we are and it takes time and effort to really be accepting of yourself. So, if you have a friend who can talk some sense in you when you're having a bad day and hate every single thing about you versus a "friend" who will probably just add your existing list of things you hate about yourself. Choose wisely and be the good kind of friend to the people in your life. 

2. Real friend call us out when we are wrong: this is a hard one for me to preach, as I struggle with confronting my friends about things that bother me. I am learning to be more transparent with my friends, just because I realized that I'm not doing anyone any favors by staying quiet. I have a friend that does a good job at being honest when I mess up, especially when it involves other people. Every time I bash someone, she stops me and reminds me that I need to be better than that. I am so grateful to have friends who can be honest with me, even if there is a potential for some tears. It's good for you to get a reality check by someone who actually cares about your existence. Take my word for it. 

3. Genuine friends keep us humble: being a millennial, I realize every day just how self-consumed we are, especially with all of the technology to support that life style. In a society that focuses so much on personal achievements, it's easy to get caught up in our own ego. I love that my friends not only celebrate my personal success, but also remind me where it all started. 

4. Real friends forgive: this one is a biggie, guys. You have no idea how many times I got burnt to the ground with friends because of our unwillingness to forgive one another. It's so important to analyze what a friendship means to you before you decide to cut ties with a friend. I remember this one incident from my teenage years, I had a close friend and we were so awesome as friends, "hashtag friendship goals", if you will. Then a few years later, we started listening to different genres of music. I started hanging out with punk rockers and skaters and dressed like Avril Lavigne. She, on the other hand, was super into underground rap and she wore those ridiculous denim jeans that made her legs looks non-existent. And this is where our "differences" clashed. We started arguing over music, clothes, boys just because of the people that were surrounding us. To this day, I think it was the most ridiculous reason to end a good friendship, but oh well. I blame puberty and estrogen levels. The pint here, guys, is that you should not give up on someone as a friend because of a small thing. So what they borrowed your shirt and stained it with wine? You can survive that. On the other hand, don't just accept negativity from a friend if they are, for example, talking trash about your family or your loved one. You should forgive your friends, but you should also understand which ones of your friends deserve forgiveness. 

5. Real friends make you a priority: this is not to say that you should be the center of your friend's life. No, not at all. However, I've noticed that some of my fake friends would only reach out to me when they needed something specific and when I needed them to reciprocate, I would normally just get ignored. That's not okay in my book. If you can't pour into a person's life, then it's best that you don't call yourself their friend. I see so many one-sided friendships nowadays and it makes me sad to think that people don't notice that. Think about your close friends and now think about how you made them feel special in the past month or so? If you couldn't think of anything, that means you're not making them a priority. I know we are busy and we have responsibilities, but who says making friends a priority has to be hard work? Perhaps you could try writing them a hand-written note and snail mail it to them. I guarantee you that it will put a smile on your friend's face. See? That wasn't so hard. 

6. Real friends support you through times of hardship: this really is the ultimate test of friendship right here, y'all. If you are in a sticky situation and you need to rely on your friends for support, then you'll find out who the real MVP's are. Life can be complicated at times and by now we all know that nobody's perfect. So,when you find yourself in times of adversity, i really hope there is that one true friend who will find it in them to understand and stick with you. 

 

I hope this one interesting for you to read. These are just some words of wisdom I gave gathered in my 20-something years of life. I would love to hear what you all have to add to my list and maybe even share some good memories of you and your squad.

 

Much love,

Aida Zhan