An Ode to Friendship

“Associate with those who will make a better man out of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve.” ~Seneca

I may not always know (or remember) how I came to know most of the people in my life, but I do know why or how some acquaintances evolved into friendships.

While reevaluating my social media friends list last year, I have since thought more deeply about whom I choose to be friends or associated with, and more importantly, how deliberate am I in developing, strengthening, and/or maintaining our friendship? (Side note: there are a few friends that I’ve lost touch with over the years and want to reconnect with once pandemic restrictions lessen. I promise to connect soon!).

I know that one’s character is the first and foremost thing I try to determine when I meet someone. What kind of person are they…while with me privately and when they (or we) are with others? Often, it takes time to actually see what one’s true character is like, and for some, we may never get to truly see one’s true character either because we are denied the opportunity or because we refuse to recognize it (for whatever reason).

Once I have a better understanding of one’s character, I will know if I want to further develop a friendship (or not) beyond that or outside of the current circumstance in which we met. Friendships at all levels is a learning process because it’s based on the mutuality to developing that relationship. Obviously, the more time spent with them, the more we learn more about each other’s character in various situations, when happy or during successes, or when faced with hardships or when emotionally broken.

My most healthiest and closest friendships are those for whom I admire and our relationship is that of mutual improvement, mutually beneficial, and enjoyment. Friendships are reciprocal.

I believe that we are shaped by and become like the people we spend the most time with, so we should choose wisely whom we befriend and with whom we spend our time. Also, we should choose widely – a post I read recently nicely put it – “life is too short to live lonely or narrowly” – and I think it especially applies to friendships.

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