Friendship is an important aspect of life. We all need the companionship of others and all that comes with it. We need support, we need connectivity, we need affection, and we need to know we are cared about. I think most of us are aware of these needs and how close friends fulfill them. Another aspect of friendship that is much less talked about though is being held accountable; and that is focus of this blog.
Have you ever had a friend tell you you’re messing up? Have you had a friend look you in the face and tell you that you are making mistakes? How about, have you ever had a friend say, “I love you, but you’re wrong about this,” while talking? These are important moments.
No one likes to be told what they are doing is wrong. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty uncomfortable. The thing about this though, is the friends that love you the most are the ones that are willing to lovingly correct you. Fair-weather friends are not going to care enough to point it out when you’re headed in the wrong direction. To them, it’s not worth the risk of upset to call you out, so they don’t.
I have two very good friends in mind as I write this. One is my best female friend that has been in my life since the summer before high school. The other is my “boy bestie” that I have an intense relationship with. No one knows me better than these two do and I’ve written of both several times here before. My girlfriend has seen me at the ugliest moment of my entire life and loved me anyway. My boy bestie and I have spent more time on the phone together than me and any other person combined since the invention of instant messaging and text. I love these two like family. They love me back. This also means that sometimes, they call me out on my own shit.
I’ve made so many mistakes over the last 6 months that you’d think I was trying to set a new personal record. Drinks, men, and many other topics come to mind here. I don’t like writing this stuff out for the world to judge, but as always, if it takes putting my own life on blast to help others with an example, I’ll do it. One thing I can say through all of this is that I’ve been able to talk to my friends about it all. I let them see the ugly parts of me in the faith that they will love me anyway, and they do. But they also love me enough to bring up sensitive issues and correct me when I’m wrong. They do this because they have my best interest in mind.
When I’m getting ready to make the same mistake for like the 100th time, my buddy will tell me, “Niki, don’t do it. Just don’t.” He doesn’t mince his words, nor does he hold back. My girlfriend, being a woman, is a little more gentle with it, but she will do the exact same thing. She will point out when I’m on the wrong path. I won’t lie, there have been times that I’ve been angered by this, but in the end, I always appreciate it. I appreciate that there are those that love me enough to correct me when I’m wrong. I joke that it is a loving spanking, because while correction can hurt, it ultimately does good and is out of love.
These two friends bless my life immensely and I would do anything for them. I appreciate both of them for the unique ways that make them both wonderful. And I deeply appreciate the one big thing they have in common…they have my back.
I encourage you all to be this type of friend to those close to you too. You never know what kind of heartaches you can help prevent by being present, being supportive, but also being honest. How does that saying go…if you can’t find good in the world, BE the good in the world.