As I’ve been getting older, I’ve been learning again and again who my real friends are and how my circle of friends continues to shrink. It’s not necessarily a bad thing either. We’re always looking to refresh ourselves; whether that’s ‘starting anew’ for the New Year or spring cleaning, or even detoxing our body or skin.
The same should go for the people in our lives.
Think about the people in your life; the people you call your ‘best friends’ and the people you call ‘acquaintances’. Think about the traits you associate with your best friends. Are they traits you see in yourself or want to see in yourself?
Always put the kind of people you want to be around you.
Is your friend impatient, emotionally dependent on you, or never really meets you halfway?
Do they only ask you for favors or disappear when you’re struggling but reappear when you’re thriving?
Do they make excuses when it comes to hanging out or when you ask for help or only see you when it’s convenient?
Do they keep your secrets safe?
Do they judge others or talk smack about others as soon as they turn their backs? (If so, they probably say the same about you)
Re-evaluate the give and take within the relationship. These are the people that are your roots. No homes can be built on a rocky foundation.
Realize that although your friends have been around for quite sometime, they may not have grown with you. This is probably the most difficult thing to see, especially since you’ve established trust and history with them.
I had friends in high school who I grew up with throughout college. At one point, I realized that they never really went out of their way to talk to me, or meet with me. Let alone they always criticized what I was doing in my blogging career and never tried to understand why I was doing so much for just ‘Instagram’.
I always thought that we did so much for each other, but then I wondered if they really put the same amount of effort, time, and support in our friendship as I did. I realized I actually didn’t feel comfortable telling them how I felt.
Having these trust issues really forced me to bottle up my emotions and I began suppressing trauma, which resulted to me having a hard time processing adversity and heavy-hearted feelings.
So I took initiative.
I unfollowed them from their social media sites and stopped making the effort to connect with them. To be honest, this didn’t change much since they weren’t making effort on their end to begin with.
Don’t get me wrong. It was definitely easier said than done. But it made my life so much simpler. I was happier. I was healthier.
All I had to do was to recognize the negative energy in my life and remove it. Distancing yourself from the wrong people, or the people who aren’t right for you anymore, can actually be the most life-changing.
This doesn’t just limit itself to just friends in your social circle but in your career path as well. I think this is especially important now that Instagram has made building bridges with other creatives so quick and easy. You can meet all kinds of people and like anyone else using the platform, everyone is looking to network and to grow.
But how do you filter through the fake friends and the genuine ones?
After experiencing a number of in-genuine relationships, you generally have a sense of who is worth your time and who isn’t. After all time is money and we’re all broke.
I learned that people who want to collaborate with little understanding of your niche, with a niche completely different than yours, and people who don’t know how to collaborate or what collaborating means are not your friends. They just want numbers from you.
People who guilt trip you into a ‘shout out’ or keep pressuring you to market their company, brand or service with little understanding of what your blog is really meant for, are just using you.
Strangers who just feed compliments to you to sugar-coat their favors are definitely not your friend. What have they done for you?
It may be selfish, but never appease anyone who are selfish themselves. Look out for yourself. You are a rare entity.
Even if you see the same friend trying to buy the attention or friendship from others by constantly offering to pay or always talking about money, know that that is all they have to offer. Money is only meant for tangible items. That shouldn’t include you.
Most of all, if you see a friend swinging from ‘Instagrammer to Instagrammer’, it underlines everything I’ve talked about. They’re not looking for friendships. They’re looking for a stepping stone; someone to hopefully ‘gram about their coffee date and give them exposure. They don’t want to work for the benefits. They want to talk their way through, and anyone can do that, really.
It’s almost the same as a f****boy, who is defined as someone who will manipulate anyone to get what they want, regardless of who they screw over. Don’t befriend that person.
I can tell you all the advice and life lessons I’ve learned but at the end of the day, they’re your friends and your intuition. You know yourself better than anyone else and therefore, you should know your worth.
Know that it’s okay to be stingy with yourself, know that it’s okay to be selfish and always know that you deserve the best.
Glasses via Polette Eyewear / Mesh Leggings and White Boxing Shorts via YRSTRLY / Hat and Bra via Nike / Turtleneck via H&M
Photography by Justin Quebral