No new friends
We can talk about romantic relationships all day. I briefly touched on friendships in the last piece, It’s something we need to touch on because it’s one of the most if not the most important thing that affects many of us today.
I don’t think we generally speak on the importance of friendships or are even honest with ourselves when it comes to them.
Friends are a crucial part of our lives because the people you surround yourself with essentially mould and shape you, they can even determine how far you go in life, which is why you have every right to be picky with who you let into your space. And I’m not talking just physically.
As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved people. I know that sounds weird but I have. You know what this generation refers to as the “talking stage”. Basically that, but with new budding friendships. Interacting and meeting new people and making new friends. People who are like me or people who are the total opposite either way embracing their differences and finding a middle ground.
That was always the fascinating part, for me getting to know someone new and discovering how the relationship will unfold was always exciting, not just with romantic relationships.
Unfortunately a process that I once looked forward to became such a chore. I dreaded meeting new people and making new friends because of my bad encounters. I didn’t want to push people away or be horrible but I hated when new people would take to me because I was convinced it would end miserably.
I had a solid group of friends. Not necessarily a ‘squad’ or a ‘batch’ but a select few I could trust and lean on without fail that I made during secondary school and a few in college but within the last 3/4 years I noticed a change.
Through my business I meet a lot of new people in general. You have to be quite social when you’re in the beauty industry. I found that I was attracting a lot of new people into my life and it was almost like I couldn’t account for it. A lot of bonds were being created on a very shallow basis. I wasn’t praying before letting people enter my life. Knowingly or unknowingly I was welcoming and entertaining people way too freely and I wasn’t protecting my energy the way I should have. Admittedly I am not the best judge of character. It was like a lot of bees and leeches swarming around me.
Soon I had a lot of people around and I didn’t understand how they entered in the first place. I know it sounds crazy but literally It only caused me drama and these relationships would crash and burn as quickly as they started. It was a mess and I was at the centre.
Genuine friendships build you up. You can sit down and talk about everything from your goals, boys, tv programmes, they can be your confidant, you pray together, motivate each other and of course you may gist from time to time but understand If a “friendship” is centred around gossip know it isn’t going to last.
I’m not ashamed to say that during this period, where I was swarmed with a bunch of new people, I found it hard to distinguish friends from acquaintances. I would also hand out the friend title way too easily.
I was forever blurring the lines between people who genuinely wanted to see my progress, those who had my best interest at heart and people who simply wanted to gain from me, or those who wanted to affiliate with me ‘just because’. I didn’t have that discernment and by the time I did, things had probably gone left.
After a while I had to pause and take a look at myself. What kept going wrong? Was it these people or was it just me. I can be quite hard headed and stubborn at times, but I am my own greatest critic.
I would stop and tell myself you are the only common factor. These are all different people but you have been the only consistent thing. Fix up.
I couldn’t stand the thought that it might be all MY fault or maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t as much of this amazing friend I always thought I was.
After all the negative thoughts, moving forward, I came to a realisation. There is nothing wrong with wanting to meet or welcome new people into your life, but it is so important to protect your energy. Not everyone is going to be on your wave.
When I say wave I don’t mean you are better than anyone, but not everyone is headed in the same direction in life. Some people are way too different to you for you to try and force an affiliation or friendship.
Protect your space, value it. Not everyone deserves your friendship.
Often I was Intimidated by people and I allowed that to take over. Scared that if I wasn’t a certain way people would think I was rude, “stush” or I “think I’m too nice”.
Ironically they still do.
Constantly battling with what people may think of me, I had to learn that people have pre judged you way before you have even given them a reason to. Once people have their mind made about you there is nothing you can do. If someone is going to pre judge you without giving you a chance they may not even deserve the chance to know you in your full glory.
I learnt that I could not constantly allow the opinions of random people to cripple me. Especially random people who have judged you without really giving you a chance. I was allowing any Tom dick and harry into my life in fear that I would be branded as a bad or unfriendly person. Looking back it sounds so careless and pathetic that approval meant so much to me. It had to stop but I was the only one who had the power to change that.
I would never let several guys who had not proved themselves worthy to date me, in my life, so why should it be any different with friends?
I know so many guys and girls that have all these tough brick walls built up before they let the opposite sex get to know them romantically but when it comes to friendship naturally we aren’t as protective when friends break hearts too.
It was when I started learning all these things I started looking at what I offer in friendship, what I value and what I look for. I know this may sound silly and a little obvious but someone complimenting you constantly doesn’t make them a candidate to become a permanent part of your life. Or worthy of your friendship. This is not to say you’re not good enough to be the next persons friend but understand not everyone is part of your destiny. Some people are there for a season, some a lifetime and some were never even meant to enter in the first place. Most importantly shallow things such as flattery, gossip or being the same starsign for example are NOT determining factors of who should make it into your life for the long term.
We can all avoid temporary people walking in and out of our lives if we spent more time studying people. I had a bad habit (which I’m still working on) of jumping right in when someone showed interest in getting to know me, instead of chilling and sussing people out. I always believed that when people showed interest (even in friendship) it was because they genuinely were intrigued by me and wanted to know me, when there are people who can pretend, just to use you for their own selfish gain. I have never been the type to think about what I can gain from people but not everyone thinks this way.
Luckily people can’t lie forever and eventually true colours show.
Whilst we should always try to remain soft and kind hearted the Bible does tell us that we should guard our hearts.
I do struggle at times to find a balance; The balance between being my natural warm and welcoming self that enjoys getting to meet new people, yet I still want to protect myself because you can never really know people’s true intentions.
I do not have a PHD in friendships and I can’t lie I wouldn’t be writing this if I had all the answers or I didn’t struggle. I think that if your friendships don’t always run smoothly and everything isn’t intact it is usually reflected back on you and the type of person you are, which is why many people may not express the troubles or difficulties they have had. Because they will ‘seem’ “unstable” or a “sh*t friend”. Whenever I write these posts, I share my journey and my discoveries to help myself and also help you.
Take time to get to know people. Study people’s characters. People can’t fake it forever. Also don’t hesitate to pray to God about your friends. I got to a point where I didn’t understand what was happening I was confused. I started telling God to remove those that were not meant to be in my life and replace them with people he actually wants in my life. Ask God to give you discernment so you become more sensitive to who isn’t for you and who is actually genuine. Most importantly ask God to teach you how to be a good friend! Sometimes it isn’t always them. It could
be us too. Maybe you’re not a bad person but issues from the past may cause you to self sabotage like I probably did. These are all things I am learning and trying to incorporate into my everyday life.
Remember that friendships shouldn’t drain you. Your friends are supposed to build you up whilst you build them up, also friendships shouldn’t be a take take take system but give and take.
Scrap the mentality of wanting friends who are “made” & “successful” to better yourself and replace it with focusing on being the type of friend you would want to have. We must remember just because you desire a certain type of persons friendship, it doesn’t make them an emotional charity. You must be able to meet them at that level of friendship too because Iron sharpens iron.
When I had issues I sat down and tried to look within myself. Self analysis is okay, don’t be ashamed to admit you have flaws. Come to terms with them and find practical ways to work on them because learning and working on yourself will naturally improve your relationships with others.
Thanks for reading.