Those were the famous words of my late father, all throughout my high school and college years. He insisted that I make sure that I am surrounded by the right people and for the right reasons, too. Just like some would argue you that you are as smart as your 5 closest buddies on average, the gist of this simply points out that you are the reflection, a mirror image of your closest friends. For better or worse, that is.
In my entire life, there are only so many people that I have ever regarded as close friends. I had a couple when I was still in Germany… but those connections have become fairly buried over both time and distance. In my early high school years at the Ateneo de Davao, I managed to make a few friends and I have even been in touch with some of them until my later college years, some even as recent as a couple of years ago… and that’s been about it, everyone’s been off to their own adventure and paths in life. The move to the Philippine Women’s College of Davao during high school also gave me another set of friends. None of them really sticked though. I’ve had a number of spells at the Ateneo again, studying IT and Mass Communication at different instances, getting to know another set of people… and yet again, none of them really sticked. Sure, there are one or two I am keeping tabs with on Social Media, but that’s about it.
It wasn’t until my last spell at PWC again, when I finally managed to find friends for keeps. Some of these friends, I’ve met through unusual circumstances… but that makes it all the more sweet.
Having met so many people, there have been times when I had to adjust to them, rather than allowing myself to be myself. But as it turns out, if you find your truest of friends, it doesn’t really matter who or what you are, for as long as you vibe… and have a sense of belongingness and familial care for one another.
What I mean to say is, that we should all be careful about who we consider our friends. Closest of friends. Sure, in our younger years, we’ve become friends with literally anyone… but I think you know what I mean. There are only so many people that we can attend to constantly, only so many people that we can interact with frequently. Make sure that the time you spent are with the right ones. Now, who are these right ones anyways?
That’s not for me to say. Friends can come in different shapes and sizes with different quirks. It’s just important, really, that you can find yourself aligned with them, with their aspirations in life and to a certain degree with their interests. You don’t need to always like the same thing, but it’s great if there’s some common ground for you gals and guys to escape to.
A true friend is someone who doesn’t encourage your misdemeanour every time, but someone who allows you to explore, find yourself, and learn important life lessons on your own – all still while having your back. A friend is someone who doesn’t cheer on when you have gone to the dark side but sheds light on the unlit path you’re on. Friends are those who you don’t even have to think twice about whether they are with you or not.
It’s hard to find people like these. And if you do, hold on to them and nurture a community around them.
I’m glad, that to some extent, I was able to accomplish all that. It started all out just as a vision to have a few close friends at all, and now, I have a number of them not just on my “friend list” but also living with me in close proximity.
College at PWC started out with me barely having any “close friends”… (I did have two, though, before I got entangled into a relationship) but it was only after I have had my chance at a Student Council seat that I was able to look beyond the trees right in front of me. There was more to life to my then-girlfriend, just like how there is more to life to friends and the connections that we make. (Ironic, isn’t it?)
For at the end of the day, we don’t need to find friendship in the people around us… What we truly seek are people like us but still different. People with different quirks and interests. People that set forth on their own paths but still take a moment to look back and come home to a circle every now and then.
These people are not just friends anymore, no, they’re not.
They are family.
With that said, seek out family beyond blood. Find people that you genuinely care about and keep them close. Don’t judge. Don’t expect. Just treat them how you would like to be treated and the rest will follow suit. Help them grow and allow yourself to be helped by them. Trust in them and they will trust in you.
There’s truly only one way to succeed in life. And really, for me, success isn’t found in how much money that you have or how many properties that you own. Success for me is how much I can share of what I have with others… of how I can instill a part of me in the people that surround me. Success is found in the success of others who you have influenced positively — which means to say, if you can care like this about others… How beautiful will it be if they do the same to you, right?
At the end of the day, the best way to tell who your friends are, is to be a good one from the start.