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Gigi George: What is the True Value of Your Friendships?

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dreamstime_m_29039325I like people…always have always will. I am fascinated about people and their stories and why they are the way they are. I like to make friends…and if you are like me, making friends isn’t so difficult. There have been a good number of years where my only new year’s resolution was to make at least one friend. I liked the idea of having friends, but like most people, I failed to realize that the quantity was irrelevant if there was lack in the quality…the genuineness of friendship. Lately, I have been having a shift in my thinking…about friendship, what is it anyway? (I’ve been asking myself), and how do you tell your friends actually cares about you…and that they are even worth your time and energy? I guess the saying: time will tell is true. When life throws a ball at you, when trails and difficulty comes…it will definitely tell you, who your true friends are. Sometimes, it is necessary to sit down and take a long inventory through your list of friends and determine for yourself where to generate your loyalty and energy right?…I think it’s necessary.

So I sat down and determined for myself who is a true friend…but first, pause…remember this young people, you can not request for what you are not willing to give yourself (because it just isn’t fair)….whatever you pour into a friendship is what you will (should) get back. This is why I said…you determine for yourself who is a true friend; considering and having in mind what you have been giving as a true friend yourself. You can’t expect a mango tree to grown papaya…can you?… (now that we are being fair…let’s carry on) 🙂

I decided that a true friend is…loyal; will correct me when I am at fault without putting me down or in disrespect. A true friend genuinely cares about my well being…and doesn’t rejoice over my short comings. A true friend supports and believes in me, and of course inspires and challenges me for the better. A true friend serves me and I serve them. (Yes! A friendship is supposed to serve you; uplift something positive in you).

I encourage you young people,… if the friendship isn’t serving you in the ways you believe are important, the ways that you believe you are serving it…then must it continue?…I would say no…what would you say?
The truth is, we have all gotten into the wrong friendships. I know I have made friends for the wrongest (is that even a word…wrongest?..oh well, now it is…haha) reasons. But is never too late to learn, get out of it, and grow.

So the question still remains, how can you tell you are in a good, healthy friendship?…Who is a good friend?…How can you tell?

Well first things first…

Your values
Do you have the same values as your friends? Having the same values with the people you call friends doesn’t drain you…it actually rejuvenate you because at the end of the day you are sharing ideas and having conversations that will bring you both to your higher selves. Having same values allows respect in the friendship, but more so growth and less time wasting trying to win the other person over. The way you find out if the other person holds the same values as you is by simply asking them questions. Ask people questions when you meet them…who are they?
Do you hold any commonality with this person you call a friend? This is the initial stage to inviting someone into your world as a friend. Don’t force people who are not suppose to be in your life into your life. It is simply a matter of attracting yourself, and others you can be inspired by…if they are not like you (meaning if you don’t share the same values), you will get drained in that friendship…but you decide for yourself if that’s worth it.

Reciprocity
Now this is where all your energy, efforts and resources can get sucked out of you, if you are in the wrong friendship. Are you always the one giving in the friendship? Hmm…I will watch out if I were you. Pay attention here…and you will know people’s intent for wanting to be friends with you. Some friends only come to take and then leave when all is taken. These are the friends who all of a sudden disappear when times are hard, when you are going through life’s challenges, but are always present for the party. I called them vampires….not worth it, get rid of them! fast!. Sometimes these king of “friends” don’t come in a way of taken and not returning…they can come in the form of demanding, not appreciative, always wanting your time but never given you their time…I know you know these “friends” I am talking about. Please get rid of them to keep your mental sanity…ain’t nobody got time for that! Remember that great friendships are always reciprocal…it should flow like a stream of water. Is all about the law of exchange…if it ain’t that…take another route.

Effort
Yes yes yes….we are in 2016; we are all SUPER busy ain’t we? But don’t get fooled young people…yes we are busy but there is ALWAYS time for what and whom one consider a priority. Man! I have been so guilty of this…always making excuses for people; that they are busy, I know they will check on me when they are free….and I’m still waiting for them to check up on me as I write this. Not worth it! Get rid of them!…do it now!. Anyone will make an effort for someone who they feel is deserving of their time…don’t get it complicated, its as easy as that. If you are in the business of not wasting time and energy…rid yourself of these kinds of friendships that don’t serve you. Unfortunately, some people will only recognize your value after you have removed yourself from them. Don’t waste your resources where it is not appreciated…especially if you are in the business of becoming your highest self.

Comfort Level
You gotta pay attention to how you feel when you are with certain people…feel the vibe, feel the energy. This will tell you if you should be friends or not. Do you always feel the need to be something you are not…do you feel respected, do you feel belittled…whatever the case, pay attention to your feelings when among the people you call friends and advice yourself moving forward. Is the friendship in favor of what you believe in….what do I mean here?…if you really hate to gossip, talk about certain things that doesn’t serve what you believe in, but this friendship always opens the platform for this kind of things…then you need to get out of it if it makes you uncomfortable. Do you feel like yourself when you hang with the people you call friends, or are you always justifying who you are?. Listen to your intuition…that small voice that tells you this isn’t it…please listen to it if you are in the business of becoming your highest self.

So there you have it young people. I know you are intelligent to know what’s good for you and you love yourself enough to let go of what isn’t serving you or better yet…what isn’t helping you to become your highest, authentic self. You know what they say…show me your friend(s) and I will show you your character. This makes us accountable and responsible to ensure that we are in friendships that are reflective of whom we are, what we believe in, and of course…friendships that elevate us. Your friends should be and is a reflection of yourself…(think of it this way).
When a stranger pulls all your friend(s) aside without you there, that stranger has just made a pretty good judgment without prejudice of who you are…think about that for a moment and ask yourself, if that will assume anything untrue about your character.

Dear young people, love and respect yourself enough to let go of friendships that doesn’t serve you. And I want you to do this with no hard feelings…it doesn’t mean those people are terrible, it just means you are in the business of elevating yourself…becoming your highest self.
Being true to yourself comes with letting go and letting in…don’t hold on to the quantity…you will attract the right people in your life when you let go of the people who are not serving you. Remember this…the right friends, even if just one will help you elevate to the level where even 10 friends can’t. But above all…enjoy your true friendships, appreciate them…have fun!…on the journey of becoming your highest self. 🙂

Photo Credit:Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang) | Dreamstime.com

12 Comments

  1. ATL's finest

    July 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    First this is 2016 & like I always say u are either my friend or u’re not. The older I get, I realize I do rather have Quality friends than quantity. Well I always tell folks that I’m beyond BLESSED to have those I call “close friends” & of course my “2 Best friends ” for Over 13yrs. ( Yes one is a Nigerian & the other is American ). Nothing has changed .. Of course marriage, babies, careers etc but oh baby we still make it work. God bless them & true be told, I got lazy making friends & what u offer me is what I will give back to U. Basically, ain’t got time trying to know u or wonder if you are a good person or not. I’m very compatible with my friends, we stay true to our beliefs, morals, & I’m THANKFUL to God for keeping them in my life & I DON’T regret knowing them.

    And when I meet new folks trying to force themselves on me as their friend, I’m so fast & quick to run far away or ask them why r u trying to be my friend. No, I’m not rude but been honest. And it doesn’t hurt me to loose a friend esp when u ain’t right from the jump :). God bless all those whose got the real ones in their lives, appreciate them & still hanging there no matter how irritated you are, argue , fuss, nag etc in the end, TRUE FRIENDS will always be there. Life is too short to have fake folks & BS people all around. ( Miss me with that emptiness).

  2. Baby gurl

    July 21, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you so much Gigi George for this beautiful article. This hits so close to home. Growing up I always had my small group of friends whom I loved and adored. Leaving school we lost contact. I tried numerous times to “make it work” with my primary and secondary school friends but it never worked out. We were now different and had different views on life and living. It was painful seeing people who were once my partners in life and crime fall into the rest of the population. Having left uni four years ago the same happened. I am no longer close with my “squad”. We did everything together and went everywhere together. I travelled. And it all went bust. I honestly don’t know who my friend is. If I am to get married tomorrow I have no idea who my bridesmaids are. I am quite reserved and I know that is the bane of my friendships. But I am so loyal and kind and loving. I’m 24 now. Recent PhD. I don’t know how I’ll make new friends now but hopefully I will because I need new experiences and a support system of like-minded “sisters”. Despite all my talk I am aware of the fact that quality surpasses quantity in terms of people around you. Thanks again Gigi George. Any tips on making new friends at 24 in Naija?

    • ATL's finest

      July 21, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      @ Baby gurl awwwwies Im so sorry sweetie. I know how by feel trust me. Back in middle school, I had the same friends, I grew up with 3mosy amazing girls in my life. We were so close, our houses were back to back. Everyone knew us growing up. Girl when I left the Country finally, communication wasn’t the problem but as time flew by, I noticed I was the only one making an effort to reach out ( YES they are wealthy & can afford to call). One had an excuse bcuz she was in Med school Er’mm duh what about me?? Anyway, I made up my mind not to check on NOBODY & see who remembers if I breathe or not . Lo & behold that was how the friendship went down the drain. To be honest, I’m happy & thabkful it did bcuz it made me realize If I was back in Nigeria, mostly liking we won’t ve close anymore.. So whenever I visit Nigeria & they look for me, I hang out with them & if they don’t, I have fun & head back to the States.

      Congrats on your success academic side. U are only 24 & young. Listen don’t beat yourself up about it. Start making few friends at ⛪ I don’t know how to explain this to U but my besties & I attend school together but we were never close until we left the Country for good & I’m SO THANKFUL I knew her when I was able to know & learn what true friendship is/meant to me. Life is full of risk, take it by the horn & hopefully it turns out great for u sweetie. Trust me I know how u feel cuz I miss my childhood besties a lot but hey life goes on. They r ok & happily married & I wish them well.

    • Gigi George

      July 23, 2016 at 12:40 am

      great advice. 🙂

    • You will be fine!

      July 22, 2016 at 5:42 am

      Hi baby girl you remind me of myself a few years ago. I have lost close friendships especially because the other parties wouldn’t keep in touch. I decided not to bother with those who didn’t wanna keep in touch. I also observed some form of badbelle involved with the ladies in question too. Truth is i happen to have constantly met those who have literally used me and left me. users and manipulative kinda friends. it hurt but i rose above it with God’s help. So what i did was i prayed to God to provide quality friends into my life – still pray about it. And slowly but surely God has been faithful. I traveled for the first time last year and made friends with an Indian girl whom i am still in touch with today. We are like besties from different continents. infact she checks up on me more than i do. This year i traveled again and have made some wonderful friends – nigerians and americans alike. I have also observed that americans are quite kind, maybe because they don’t have too many issues and they are quite straightforward. The truth is you don’t need to force friendships. Those who will be your friends – you two will connect and you wont even know when it happened. i am in the process of recruiting friends and God has been helpful. i also used to have those thoughts of if i were to be getting married tomorrow who will be my bridesmaids? but i let that go because such thoughts are not healthy, when the time comes bridemaids will come. even if you have to do your wedding without them, what matters is you keep your self esteem and know that your validation doesn’t come from that.
      Just keep an open mind, smile often, pray and generally be nice and friendly, get really interested in people, call them by their names – people love to hear their names – and offer a listening ear if they wanna share their issues -everyone looks for someone to talk to once in a while. You have plenty of friends waiting for you. Congrats with getting a phd at such a young age. Doing a phd can be a lonely experience because it is isolating, especially full-time programs so now that you are done you will have ample time to make friends. Speaking of which, shoot me an email if you need a female friend to talk to – [email protected]
      you will be fine, Cheers dear!

    • Gigi George

      July 23, 2016 at 12:37 am

      Hi..thank you so much for reading. I am glad you can relate to this. what I will say to you in terms of finding new friends is this: be open, put yourself out there (with caution of course) and I believe with time you will find the right friends.

      check out my blog for more inspiration at http://www.dearyoungpeople.com

      P.S congrats on attaining your Phd 🙂

  3. You will be fine!

    July 22, 2016 at 5:51 am

    That being said remember that not everyone has the right to your friendship – yes you are that important – so recruit friends with caution especially now that you are vulnerable you may be tempted to welcome any tom dick and harry into your life. Majority of the rest will only be acquaintances. You will be fine.
    Excuse my typos

  4. Kiiki

    July 22, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Honestly, I think the term “Friend” (especially Best Friend/BFF) has been over flogged and thoroughly misused.

    And that is why we mostly get hurt and disappointed, forgotten or abandoned by those we call Friends.

    I learnt the hard way that certain people can be classified as “Acquaintances”. That’s just life. But, the gift of sheer Discernment is required for this.

    For most of my life, I was surrounded by so many acquaintances (wrongly tagged as friends) which led to terrible experiences. My loyalty was taken for granted. I got hurt in exchange for goodness. Betrayals and all the works were the norm.

    However, slowly, but surely, God has been creating paths that has lead true friends to me. My little sisterhood???.

    I read an article on praying for the company you keep… We often forget to do this. The truth is, incorporating your friends in your prayers not only shields them from Harms-way but also allows for the “weeds to be pruned from the garden”?✂?

    God dey.?

  5. Tosin

    July 22, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I can’t relate.
    Institutional friendship is (to me) very kindergarten.
    I remember doing this in primary school, semi-best friends semi-official, although when they tried to tell me what to do as per friend-circle (specifically they told me what people were saying about me, that I was talking to boys and it was a sin and that I should change) I remember my seven or eight year old self telling them yeah whatever I’ll talk to whoever I want.
    I remember watching some institutional friend drama among classmates in secondary school “waah waah she’s my best friend but she’s not treating me as her true friend instead she’s doing friend stuff with this third person so I’m crying and there’s mucus everywhere because I’m so heartbroken” and really wondering about people’s mental stability. I mean, can you imagine teenagers doing this childish shit?
    Anyway adults do that too. I think I saw it in uni. Lol.
    Why?

    • Gigi George

      July 23, 2016 at 12:49 am

      thanks for reading and for your comment. my only response I can give you as to why adults behave such way is that, sometimes people simply just don’t know how to be friends…what it means to be friends. This is one of the key points I mentioned in my article , that we must learn to be friends first. And different people will learn at different times but it is up to you to decide if you want to be be around such people while they are on their journey of learning to become friends.

      check out my blog: dearyoungpeople.com for more inspirational articles 🙂

    • Tosin

      July 27, 2016 at 6:02 am

      Hmm. Thanks for replying.

  6. Kojo Seth

    July 23, 2016 at 6:03 am

    thanks Gigi. You ve drawn my attention to s very critical issue in my life. I have realised I have to be a true friend to some people and leave others too. besides, what’s d benefit if investing in friendship yields no results? results in d form of elevation like u mentioned. true friend to me is a gift from God. I cherish friendship so much. thanks for the awareness.

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