Friends are such an important part of life, and when you meet a friend that seems to truly see your soul, it’s an even greater blessing. So when I have a new friend, what do I do? Well, naturally, I write.
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.
I have recently mentioned a few times about the importance of friendship between women, and I can’t express enough how true that need is. As a woman, women are the ones that know you’re heart deeply. Your female friends are the ones that will understand what you’re not actually saying, will truly get what you are saying, and will be the most knowledgeable about how to best be there for you.
I personally have not had many long-term friendships. In fact, I’ve had only one. My friend and I met through church the summer before we started high school. We were both rowdy, feisty, and rebellious in our own ways. It was not a love at first sight friendship, but by the time we talked, we were hooked and instant “besties” from that first night.
We were young and wild and thick as thieves. We had fun together and rode the waves of high school and teenagerhood together. We had each other’s backs as we navigated that awkward stage of life where you’re no longer a child, but you’re not yet an adult. We got into trouble and ditched class together for no good reason during the week, and then we were angels in church as we soaked up the Word on Sundays. We were busy figuring out life and who we were, but we did it all together. We were an intense duo.
We were close, but these were the days before cell phones and social media, so when I “ditched” her to go to an alternative high school after acting up at our school, she felt abandoned (and rightfully so), and we drifted apart. We ended up stopping talking and put our friendship on pause. Neither of us knew just how close we would be again and just how much we would have an impact on each other’s lives in the future, but it would be revealed years later.
A few years went by after high school and we both led very different lives. I was going through the end of a failed marriage with elementary-aged children, and she was newly married with a baby when we were reconnecting. I was going through a disaster in my life and she was a sudden ray of sunshine to burst through the clouds in the middle of my storm. My entire life had fallen apart and I’d lost everything—my marriage, my house, my vehicle, 95% of belongings, and more. I was dealing with being a first time single mom in my early 20’s, divorce, overcoming drugs and their multiple impacts on my life, grief from the loss of my child, and then some.
MySpace was where she tracked me down, and I immediately clung to her like my life depended on it. I can’t remember how soon it was after she messaged me, but I dreamed about her. To this day I remember how in the dream she was standing in front of me with her child on her hip (I can still even remember her posture in the dream) and the message was that I needed her and she was going to help me. Almost 10 years later now and I can’t even begin to explain how true that has been.
She has been my support as I pulled my life out of the gutter. She has been my backbone as I have gone through being homeless, going through breakups, going through the loss of jobs, going through ongoing grief, going through heartache, and all of life’s toughest moments. She has watched me doing the ugliest of ugly cries. She has watched me rejoice in positive life changes. She has shared in my grief and hurts and my joys and happiness. She’s been there for everything. I’ve told her the things I can’t bring myself to tell anyone else. We’ve cried together over the worries of the world that hurt us both. She knows me better than anyone else on earth, including my family. Her and I, we are soul sisters.
When I talk to any woman about women needing a close girlfriend, this beautiful gift from God is who I picture in my mind. Everyone needs one of her. She is the peanut butter to my jelly, the colors to my book, and the soul to my mate. It’s totally a love story, just a different kind than the movies are made about.
For women, we have to lift each other up. We have to carry each other’s burdens. We have to look each other’s hard moments, greatest fears, and heartaches in the face and say, “We are getting through this TOGETHER.” We ALL need and deserve this kind of love in our lives. So ladies, be there for each other during the good and bad life moments. If you don’t have a friend like this, then be it for someone else. You’ll find it in return. And always love each other and yourselves. It’s important.
Be blessed, my friends.