The Best Advice You Could Know About Friendship
In the last two to three years I have been making some big changes in my life. I have really focused on what is important to me in life and not just on a small, basic level y'all... I mean I've been digging deep down in the heart of Texas kind of deep!
I've thought long and hard on where I want my career to take me. I continually ask myself am I being a good wife or a great wife? Am I living a life that makes my parents proud of me and a life that others see Christ through me? Is my work ethic unsatisfactory on any level? Do I carry myself in a respectful manner? Am I dressing in a modest way? Is the way I currently spend my money going to set me up for a successful future or will I be the person who receives "insufficient funds" notices from the bank on a regular basis? What does my relationship with God look like - am I close to Him or am I far, far away from Him? Are the people I surround myself with building me up and growing with me and are they pushing me to be my best self? OR are the people I surround myself with filling my head with negative thoughts and leading me down a path I know isn't a good idea?
That last question has been one that's been a rather hard one for me to assess. Some of the people I refer to as friends I've known since Junior High while others I've only known for a few years. Lately, when it comes to the people that I surround myself with, I like to do this thing called "friendship inventory" and it is by no means an easy task to do.
Friendship inventory is when you take a good look at each individual person in your group of friends and list out all of the positive and negative attributes they might have. This list can be written on paper or it can be a list you carry around internally. Creating this list helps you to really see who is a Positive Polly in your life and who is a Negative Nancy. In the end, whoever has the most positive attributes should stay in your life and those that have a majority of negative attributes should be left behind. I know it sounds harsh and some of you may think I'm extreme, but just hear me out.
The Positive Polly's are people who encourage you to reach your goals, who believe that you are worthy of great things, who kindly tell you the truth even when it isn't easy. The Positive Polly's treat you with respect and would never hurt you despite the circumstances. These are the people who bring value to your life, and in return, you bring value to their life. A relationship with Positive Polly can't be one sided.
The Negative Nancy's are just that. They are negative people who make fun of your dreams and who don't support the positive things in your life. These are the people who will slowly help you distance yourself from your faith and will pull you away from your family. These are the people that are selfish and likely make you feel like you put everything into the friendship and get nothing in return. The thing about these types of "friends" is that they seem to be really fun and cool, but at the end of they day, they won't have your back and they likely cause more drama in your life than you want. Although distancing yourself from these people will be hard because you care greatly about them, it is in-fact, a one-sided friendship and you get nothing in return.
Taking inventory of your friendships will be hard and you may feel like your back is against the wall, but once I went through this process for myself, I ended up finding my self-confidence and I found out who I am and who I want to be in this life. I also found courage within this journey of "friendship inventory". I found that it's okay to move on and let go of friendships that have fizzled out and aren't as strong as they used to be. It doesn't mean that I don't care for those people anymore - it just simply means that I have matured and that I am growing in a different direction. I will always have those memories to cherish, but the Negative Nancy's in life won't help me build the empire I so intensely crave.
If there's one thing I will always remember, it's a few wise words from my dad which are "You are who you roll with." I always thought that was a silly statement because when you're young and dumb you know everything, but my dad is totally right. I am who I roll with so I am making darn sure those people are kind-hearted, genuine, loving, Christ-following, funny, mature people and that these people have ambitious souls because that's who I am and who I want to continue to be.
Throughout this week, I want you to ask yourself a simple question, "Do you like you?" If the answer is yes you are on the right track! If the answer is "maybe" or "not really" then take a look at who you are surrounding yourself with. Do your friends encourage you to be the best that you can be and to reach your dreams no matter how crazy they are? Do your friends help you build up your faith when you begin to second guess yourself? If the answer is "no" to any of these questions then I bet you know what you need to do.
The answers may not come right away to you, but if you are truly looking at each person's heart the answer will be very clear. It will be a struggle, but when it is, pray about it. Your parents have your best interested at hand so ask them what they think about your friends and I can guarantee they will guide you in the right direction. Reach out to your youth pastor or school counselor, or heck - send me an email or comment anonymously below! I'd love to help you through whatever trials you are having, but above all else, guard your heart and do what you believe is right. You will never be steered wrong if you are honest with yourself.