The following bars from Kanye’s Real Friends presents a great opportunity to discuss a lingering thought; what truly makes a genuine friend? In a world where most people want to get to the top, it’s fair to question whether someone is truly your “ride or die” or just using you to get to where they want to be. How can you tell whether your friend is being honest 100% of the time? How can you be sure your friend is not talking behind your back? What is the difference between a friend and best friend? Well, the truth is, both you and I will never truly know the answers to these questions, as motives can be easily disguised. However, there are a few ways to have a good idea who’s with you and who’s not. Allow me to share my personal journey and thoughts on the subject matter.
Post college I had ambitions to seclude myself to work on building a better me. This journey initially felt freeing, as there was no longer anyone blowing my phone up to hit a move. I was completely able to maneuver around with no pressure to be mixy. I found confidence and focus as I began to learn a lot about my capabilities. In the midst of this new sense of freedom, I realized the value in friendship as I began to miss the balance and energy my friends brought to my life. In turn, I realized I was a pretty crappy friend at times. I’d separated myself to the point I felt I was losing ties with people I felt the closest. So when I listened to Yeezy’s track on real friends it made me think, “what makes a genuine friend and how can I work to be a better friend?” Since then, I have continued to work on a few things and noticed some of the traits my best friends have; here’s what I’ve come to find are awesome traits to have as a genuine friend, and in turn traits your true riders should own:
Traits of Caring - trustworthy, supportive, dependable and loyal
True friends are supportive. I try to congratulate friends on all accomplishments and support their aspirations. If no one else in the world shows your homie or girl love it should be you. Whether it be monetary or simply well wishes, find a way to support your friends dreams and goals.
One of my best friends makes sure that at least once a month he let’s his people know how much he appreciates them. That acknowledgment is awesome and serves as a true trait of a friend who cares.
Traits of Integrity - withhold judgement, honest, and listen well
True friends are straightforward. I've learned to listen to my friends issues and give honest feedback. It took me some time to truly get to this. I’m naturally a people pleaser and want everyone around me to be happy, often times I feel my real opinion can come off rude. However, I’ve come to find that a true friend should be more authentic and less polite.
My best friends hold no punches and I love them for it because it forces me to take a deep look at myself and grow. They pay attention to what's going on in my life and give real words of advice. Best friends should be attentive and find ways to sharpen your skills. #ironsharpensiron
Traits of Congeniality - uplifting, fun to be around and humorous
True friends do not bash and criticize they uplift and empathize. Encourage more and demean less. We live in a generation where petty is king and shade is queen. Although it’s funny to crack jokes on friends, in no way should your words bring down the confidence of your friend. Uplifting is one of my favorite things to do as you never know if a simple “I see you flourishing” text will make a friends day.
Whenever I do anything dope my people make sure I know how awesome I am. Although I may not be as awesome as they hype me to be, it makes me feel great to know that my friends look to lift me up. My best friends never let me take things too serious as I can often get caught up in being over responsible. For that, I am grateful.
To summarize, in my experience my best friends have been supportive, straightforward, and uplifting. It’s our responsibility to surround ourselves with those who portray these traits and separate from those who don’t. But before we can embark on this journey of discovery we must first make sure we are great friends to ourselves, because we can never know how to be a great friend to others until we can first be one to the person looking back at us in the mirror. We must support our own dreams, be honest with ourselves, and not criticize our mistakes. With this in mind, I hope each reader takes the time to evaluate who he or she is as a friend and gauge the quality of the individuals in their circles. Remember you are a reflection of the company you keep, so make sure your company is quality as I plan to do the same.
Need help evaluating the quality of your friends? Take this cool Friendship Test then pass it along.
Peace Blessings & Positivity on your journey - Dev