Today I visited my oldest and dearest friend. We have literally been friends since we exited our mothers’ wombs. I realized that I have not appreciated her as much as she deserves to be appreciated. She has done so much for me- she has been loyal through all of my drama, all my emotions, all my craziness, all of my changing feelings and relationships. She’s never judged me, she’s never told m e to shut up, she’s never made me feel that I can’t tell her something. She’s always loved me and accepted me- and trust me, I can be pretty unlovable.
I realized today that she sets the standard for what a friend should be. Those with whom you surround yourself, I have learned, will make all the difference in your life. In high school, one of my teachers always said to keep friends on three levels: friends above you, friends equal to you, and friends below you.
The friends “above you” should be a select few who are more mature, probably but not necessarily older, and living their lives in a way which you admire and aspire to follow. They should be individuals who keep you accountable, advise you, and to whom you can confide. You should be able to trust they will give you sound advice, and help you to stay on the right path.
The friends “equal to you” are those at a similar maturity level and at similar places in their lives as you are. You relate to each other, encourage each other, and ultimately want to see each other succeed.
Finally, the friends “below you” are those who you influence, advise, and serve. They are those by whom you should not be influenced, but you should love, edify, and encourage. Inadvertently, they end up keep you accountable for your actions, because you learn to live by example.
They say, “you are who you hang around”, and that’s so true. I would like you encourage you to surround yourself with people who edify you, build you up spiritually and emotionally.
It’s obvious that you should not surround yourself with “friends” who bring you down, but it is also dangerous to be with people who keep you stagnant- who do not challenge you or help you to do better, to go further, to want more.
In the end, why waste your time if a friendship is not edifying or challenging you to grow and be a better person? And if you are not the one benefitting, is the other person at least benefitting from you?