In my youth, filled with insecurities, yearning and the need to fit in, I foolishly believed that the quantity of friends one accrued was important. I thought more companions equaled popularity and higher self-esteem. Later I realized that the quality of friends a person has can never be matched by the volume. It has been said that we are a makeup of the five individuals who are closest to us. I believe this. Over the years I have accumulated several close friends whom I value as family. They have been part of my happiest moments, and have offered support when my life was in disarray. I trust them, I honor them; they are a strong part of my being and I cannot even conceptualize a life without them.
At different times in our lives we may feel validated by yes people. Social media can provoke this desire. While it is important to have friends that share similarities and values, we need people in our corner that are willing to be brutally honest with us at times where we need it. We need to consort with those that will make us recognize and own up to our shit. Yes people will not initiate growth; individuals that challenge us will.
We can make ourselves so desperate for friends (this appears to be most prevalent in our youth) that we settle for whom we allow into our space. Similarly, we may compromise parts of ourselves, and/or overcompensate to make others happy. I would hide portions of my personality-afraid of revealing too much and alienating my new friend. I had to learn to love and accept myself exactly as I was. Faults, flaws, beauty. This acceptance enabled me to be watchful of the company in which I engaged. The new confidence also empowered authenticity within me to arise. There was no longer an act- I was who I was; love it or leave it.
We have to understand that not everyone will love nor accept us. Not only is it important for us to understand this, we need to be okay with it, and know that it is guaranteed to occur. When we are checking for ourselves, our wellness, and minding our business, we will have no concern or need to investigate the basis of a stranger’s distaste.
We have to focus on cultivating friendships with people whom we find a connection. In addition, we need a variety of friends that offer different skill sets depending on the situation. I have embraced the fact that it is okay for some of my friends to be loose friends. Loose friends are the ones you may not be able to count on in dire circumstances, but they can offer a good time, good conversation, or something! Something where the exchange of giving and receiving allows this relationship to be beneficial.
Now for the ones that are closest to us, there is one preeminent requirement: that they are willing to ride it out or “die” trying. They have to be down for the cause, sometimes with no questions asked.
In order for us to have these “ride or dies” who are dependable and reliable, it is imperative that we embody those same qualities. We have to make sure that our friends are able to count on us in the same capacity that we are expecting.
Most friends will bicker. I get on my friends’ last nerve, and they work mine. However, if they add value and joy to your life and the good outweighs the bad tremendously, then they may be a keeper. I do not believe life is short, but I do know that our time is limited. Let us spend much of that time filled with joy. We have control over this aspect; we are responsible for our happiness, as well as the drama we invite into our lives.
There is no definitive statistical figure that will impart the number of friends we ought to have for a fulfilling life. Four may be too many for some; one may not be enough for another. We have to investigate what our view of enrichment appears to be. While in the process of discovery, let us keep in mind that quality over quantity will always remain the determining factor.