“Count on me through thick and thin/ A friendship that will never end/ When you are weak I will be strong/ Helping you to carry on/ Call on me, I will be there/ Don’t be afraid/ Please believe me when I say Count on me.”
– Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans: Waiting to Exhale Sountrack
Back in the day friendships were formed by proximity. You got ya friends from school, friends in the neighborhood, your parents friends kids….It was all so simple. I literally have/had friends that I went to school with since Pre-K and graduated high school and even college with. All of those friendships low-key formed on the basis of convenience. It sounds superficial but think about. Naturally, that’s just how things happened. Same classes, same lunch, same bus routes. Every day. For like 14 years….how could you not be friends? I mean obviously there are ways to not be friends but in theory you get what I’m sayin….Now as an adult??…..yea it don’t work like that AT ALL. Forming adult friendships are HARD!!! Because now it’s almost intentional. Even “forced” at times. You have to put yourself out there and basically network because these aren’t the same people you’ve known since Pre-K. So how do you even that? Hi! My name is Sherrell and I wanna be your friend lol. Is that weird? Is that the quickest way to not make friends? Or is that just being honest and straight forward? Yea some people just click and it naturally happens, but I feel like after high school and college, opportunities to “just click” are rare.
So when I finally started to build and maintaining my friendships while having adult responsibilities, I realized some old and new valuable lessons along the way:
- The Golden Rule– Treat people how you wanna be treated. Do things out of the kindness of your heart, without expecting anything back. And don’t hold it over any ones head either. Like don’t have a checklist of favors you’ve done and throw it in people’s face. A good friend will notice all you do, say thank you, and reciprocate the gesture WHEN THEY CAN. Maybe not the way you gave it, but in some way.
- Be dependable – If someone needs you and you can help, then come through for them. Fix a flat tire, a ride if they stranded, food if they don’t have any, Bail $ if necessary (and you not in the cell next to them cuz I know it gets real sometimes lol jk). Even if it’s just listening to them vent. It’s appreciated.
- Be yourself– A good friend will accept the good and the bad. And honestly, a good friend will bring the best out of you. Inspire you to be great. Now when the bad starts to affect you and your lifestyle and the good ain’t all that good, then reflection, re-evaluation and a conversation needs to happen.
- Build trust– Probably one of the hardest things to do. No one wants to be vulnerable because it’s sometimes seen as a sign of weakness. No one wants to put their guard down cuz no one wants to be hurt. But no risk, no reward. You have to give people the benefit of the doubt sometimes. But as long as you are open and honest. Things should work for the better, not worse.
- Have open communication– If something bothers you let them know immediately. Don’t hold things in. You should be able to talk about things that make you uncomfortable. Give them a chance to correct their behavior before you just cut ties.
- Be patient and understanding– Everyone’s life path is different. Everyone one may not go to college. Everyone may no graduate at the same time as you. Everyone may not have the same career goals. Everyone may not start their career goals at the same time. Everyone may not have the same work ethic. Everyone may not be financial stable at the same time. Everyone may not like to travel or even have the means to. Sometimes people work a lot. Sometimes people have family issues. Sometimes people make plans and don’t follow through. It is what it is. People will make time for you if they can and actually want to! We make time for social media, we should be able to make time to text or call a friend every once in a while to say “hey”, “miss you”, “just thinking about you”, or “lets link up” every now and then.
- Make time– This is probably one of the most difficult for me cuz I have like 50 million jobs and activities. It’s so easy to use time spent as a total value of a friendship which isn’t necessarily true. It’s just what we’re used to because before, we saw our friends everyday, every other day, couple times a week. And as an adult (unless your friend is your roommate) it may only be once or twice a year. I’m on the struggle bus with this one, but at least I’m trying. But honestly…There’s really nothing wrong with that, cuz real friends understand. And real friends make time. And that time you spend together, NO MATTER HOW SMALL OR INFREQUENT, is like you never spent a day apart. Just make a CONSCIOUS EFFORT. The only thing you can control is you. Don’t let what other people are doing or not doing effect you negatively!
Are you the friend that takes advantage of your friends kindness? Are you the friend that doesn’t make time? Are you the friend that’s unreliable? Are you the friend that shuts down and doesn’t communicate? Are you the friend that judges? Are you the friend that just tries to fit in and no one really knows the real you? If you answered yes to any of those questions (myself included), it’s time to make some changes. I hope you take this, re-evaluate your life and friendships, and figure out what type of friend you’ve been, you are, and you want to be. Be a better friend. Cuz good friends are a hard to come by. So cherish what you have and be ready to form new and lasting bonds.
****This all can apply to relationships with significant others too. You’re welcome lol****