Good Friends

Good morning!

Here’s a quote I found from a song I listened to that I thought was profound:

“Good friends,

You can count them on one hand,

They’ll never judge you,

Whatever your crime, crime, crime”

-Mr. Hudson, “Time

 There’s truth in this statement. I know plenty of people who claim to have many friends and take pride in that. I have no issue with that. The only thing that irks me is when people claim to have 10+ best friends. I could never wrap my head around that. How could someone have so many best friends? From middle school to the present day, only ONE of my friends has remained my closest friend, with a few others being added on throughout the years. Sure, some have been replaced as needed, but I never had a whole list of ‘good friends’.

Two months ago (I can’t believe it’s already August), I was blazing through books and taking notes on each one. One of the most influential quotes I took out of my time reading was by Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur. He once said:

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

I found a ton of truth in this. The people I surround myself with now are successful, hard-working people, and I have made huge strides in terms of accomplishment in my life. I’m leading a much more fulfilling life than in the past few years of my life. I strongly believe my change in who I hung out with has dramatically changed the quality of my life. Here’s a few reasons to have a small group of close friends:

  • Hardships become MUCH easier
    1. Example: If I find out that one of my close friends is struggling in the same class as I am, I no longer feel alone in my struggle. I know that we can help each other out and excel in the class TOGETHER, and that helps to drive me forward.
  • Congruent Values
    1. Value congruency is paramount in the relationships I maintain.
      1. Values such as inclusion are perfect for forging new friendships and maintaining old ones. I try to include people in activities (even if I don’t know them) and when my friends do the same, I respect them even more.
  • Loyalty
    1. This is a huge part of my life and is often the one criteria point someone has to display to become a close friend of mine. This isn’t to say that loyalty is the ONLY point someone has to reach, but it’s right up there.
    2. This also includes protection. I want to be there to defend my closest friends whenever I can. Always. If I can prevent my friends from getting hurt (even if I get hurt in the process), then I completed my job. When my friends reciprocate this, it only increases their value in my eyes.
  • Increased Quality of Life
    1. Being friends with successful people has definitely had a huge impact on my life
      1. Other than my family, my top 5 has helped me to become a much more compassionate individual
      2. Used to never read. Now, I read more and find ways to implement that knowledge as fast as I can.
    2. My life has a solid sense of meaning
      1. Everything I do has a purpose. Now, I’m able to have clarity of what I want, how I’m going to get there, and people I can turn to for great advice.

Good friends are invaluable. Sure, sometimes the people you think that are going to be with you for the rest of your life turn out to be flaky, but if you hit it just right, life is going to be amazing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from turning someone into a close friend, it’s this: SPENDING TIME WITH SOMEONE WHO SHARES SIMILAR VALUES WITH YOU DURING TIMES OF HARDSHIP AND STRESS WILL CREATE AN UNBREAKABLE BOND.

Also! I’ve created an Instagram page @smilingrainblog. Be sure to follow to keep up with me 🙂

J.

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5 Words

Growing up, I used to envision my life being spent with (hopefully) one girlfriend who would eventually become my wife. She would be beautiful, smart, funny, and an amazing companion. All the way into my college years, I kept holding onto the dream that I would meet my future wife in college, just as my parents did before. Little did I know, 5 simple words would shatter this dream completely.

“All I need is you”.

In movies and TV shows, I’ve seen this phrase being used while two characters are cuddling in bed, stargazing, or in front of a warm campfire. It sounds really sweet and it invokes feelings of happiness and warmth, but also desperation. 

Let’s break it down. Oftentimes, people getting into a relationship will start with the mentality of “This relationship will be the one. There’s no way that this is going to break my heart like the last one”—or something along those lines. The focus becomes “I want this relationship to work/it has to work” instead of “I’m going to enjoy my life with this person”. While that’s a positive outlook on the relationship, people often forget how much of a team effort relationships are. Both people need to put in a significant amount of time and effort to keep the flame going. Without it, the relationship will extinguish. Each partner must be able to balance their ability to focus on their own journey while adding value to their partner’s. Any skewing in this balance could create a shift towards a breakup.

The issue: I used to be an avid fan of tear-jerker YouTube videos about relationships, breaking-up, and the like. Naturally, I tried my best to build a relationship with parameters that reflected the lessons I learned from these videos. I wanted to make sure that my relationship my girlfriend was going to the ONLY one–that we would support each other through thick and thin no matter what we faced. But I messed up. I said those 5 words which changed our relationship completely: “All I need is you”.

On the surface level, it’s a great thing to tell someone. If I was told that by my partner, I would have kissed them and said the same thing in return. However, saying these words changes the dynamic completely if the words are taken to heart. For example:

Cole and Diana have been dating for the past three months. They’ve had many moments of heart to heart conversations and they love each other intensely. During one night of movie watching, Cole looks at Diana and says “Diana, all I need is you”. Diana is surprised and overjoyed to hear this and says the same in return. However, she took this to heart and believed that she is the center of Cole’s life. If Diana is truly everything Cole needs, then she’ll have all of her problems taken care of (NOTE: this is a two-way street. This works both ways).

Through this dynamic shift, Diana is placed on a pedestal while Cole is on the bottom looking up (all the while without realizing it).

From this point forward, Cole will do anything Diana asks him to do with a smile on his face. He’ll have an image in his mind of Diana being the perfect and one-of-a-kind woman in his life. But when she starts to do things he doesn’t want her to do, it’s highly likely that Cole will just have to accept it even if it’s against his own beliefs. After all, she is the perfect person, right? More often than not, Cole would stay with Diana and just accept it as a fact–she is the center of his life and everything he works towards is for her. Conversely, if the roles were switched, Diana would be doing all the work to keep their fire alive (based on the premise that she believes Cole is the center of her life), and the relationship would become one-sided. Something clearly changed. This dynamic doesn’t seem healthy at all. What ever happened to the lovey-dovey relationship they experienced early on? What caused this one-way street to form?

The idea: The whole point of this article isn’t to make you feel down. It’s to show you that relationships are a team effort. Both sides need to pitch in the same amount of effort (sometimes one party has to do more than the other, but this can’t be the case 100% of the time) to keep the fire alive. By saying“All I need is you”, the speaker just proclaimed that the other person is the center of their universe. I strongly reject this mentality, as doing this will only set aside your own ambitions. Instead, I believe in the phrase “All I need is ME”. Of course, having a great support system is very important, but I know that above all, I need to take care of myself FIRST before I can take care of others. I agree, it’s wonderful to have someone to hold and share a life with, but it can’t be about them all the time. It has to be about yourself, your goals, your dreams, and what you want to accomplish in this life. You have to love and take care of yourself first. Then and ONLY then can you love others in a healthy manner. It may sound selfish, but this is how I’ve made the change from living for others into living a fulfilling life for myself.

Until next time,

J.