The Best Advice I Ever Received
Advice is an interesting thing. It can be good or bad, given or taken, and it can open your eyes to new perspectives you may have never thought of. I’ve accepted some good advice in my time here on earth but I received the best advice I’ve ever heard about ten years ago just sitting and talking with a friend. I wasn’t looking for advice when she told me this. What she told me didn’t even really sink in until sometime later. The advice was “The older you get, the more you realize that you have more acquaintances versus real friends.” Read that again. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Now, years later, this advice rings truer than almost any advice I’ve ever received, and I’m thankful for it.
This realization about friendships sounded a little harsh but I tried not to take it that way. I looked at it as more of a “heads up” about what would happen as I got older. It felt like I’d already come to that conclusion with certain people in my life and just didn’t know how to process it then. Would this friend be there if I was down and out? Saying you’ll be there and actually following through are very different things and more often than not, it was just talk. Would they repeat something you shared in confidence? Would they support my dreams and aspirations? I know now I only have a handful of these friendships in my life. Aren’t all good friends created equally? I pictured us riding off into a nice “Golden Girls” sunset and eat cheesecake until we died. This sadly is not the case.
I discovered that people will take friendships for granted, become competitive about friendships, act fake or unsupportive in friendships, sabotage friendships- the dirty deeds list goes on. When friends you’ve known the longest are some of the ones engaging in this behavior, it’s an unsettling experience. I decided no anger or over analyzing. I chose be grateful for the genuine friendships I do have and hold myself accountable by trying to be the friend I would want for myself. I’d rather have one true, loyal friend than a thousand acquaintances. Quality over quantity.
My circle of friends is certainly smaller than it used to be. Much of that is the natural progression of life -marriage, kids, moving (Moving is an excellent indicator of true friendships). Some of it is friends disappearing once the happy hours and weekly hang out sessions stop. Or recognizing I was the only person trying to maintain the friendship. Other times, the constant gossip, drama and negativity just got old. You question the authenticity of the people around you and whether or not you want to be involved with them. Peace of mind is critical and friends that can help you achieve that are special.
Life can be complicated. Relationships whether romantic or platonic, come with issues both good and bad. It can be a struggle to figure out who the real people in your life are so I’m grateful for the advice I took many years ago and I keep that knowledge close. Just like my real friends.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Did you take it? Let’s chat in the comments!