Friends: Everyone thinks they have them. Most are quick to throw the label on any Jack or Jill who hangs around adorned with a smile, a few jokes, and good conversation. But how many of us really have authentic ride-or-die troopers? How many of us know what a genuine friend is? It took me some time to figure it out, but through my experiences, I eventually learned the meaning of a true friend.
Sometimes we get wrapped up in people just because we spend a little time with them or feel connected to their personalities. I for one can attest to this. There have been plenty times where I’ve prematurely categorized people as allies just because we hung out, shared laughs, and a few fun-filled episodes. And I won’t mention how many of those same so-called comrades turned out to be backstabbers who betrayed me, deceived me, and were non-existent when I needed them most.
So no, your friend is not the girl you go to the clubs with every weekend to party with; your friend is not the one who gives you the run-down on the latest juice in the neighborhood, who you see daily and talk on the phone with for ages, or the co-worker who accompanies you to happy hour every day after work. All of these things can make you like a person, yes. You can be attracted to someone’s persona and click with them, but a friendship is about more than just having fun and letting loose.
A legitimate friend is one who is 100 percent honest with you at all times. Someone who, no matter what, will always stick by your side and feed you words of encouragement and wisdom as well as the unmitigated truth. A friend is someone you can trust without any doubts, who you know only has good intentions and wants what’s best for you. But to really discover your true friends, all you have to do is hit the lowest point in your life and take a look around. All the pretenders and sheep-cloaked wolves will be nowhere in sight, but the people who really care will never waver in their authenticity and support.
Oftentimes, we walk around oblivious to the frenemies idling in our lives; investing trust and time into people who really don’t like us and are secretly praying for our demises. Analyze each relationship you have with your acquaintances and ask yourself “Can I really trust them?” How do the people you surround yourself with add value to your life? Can you depend on them? If you lost everything you had today, could you turn to them for help? Or is their love for you so sincere that you wouldn’t even have to open your mouth to get their assistance—they would feel your pain and automatically be at your side? Just think about it. Make some changes if you need to, and never apologize for cutting ties with toxic people. Try to keep your circle small, and always remember to be mindful of whom you decide to call a friend. The sooner you know the difference, the better.