Inspired by this post on the Art of Manliness.
What is true friendship?
It's been on my mind recently. With so much abundance these days, we start to learn that friends come and go. Is college the place where you make your best friends? Or is it only because we're around each other so much, that we have to hold on to what we've got?
How do we cultivate new friendships?
How do we recognize who we connect with vs. who was simply "there" at the time?
How do we open ourselves up to allow ourselves to meet new friends?
I want to explore true friendship today.
Before I start to define what true friendship is, I want to say that there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a lot of normal friends. You never know which one of those relationships may blossom into something much more than you initially thought. Keep a lot of friends around you. It's good for your mental health. But realize who's doing the most for you right now. They're the most important.
A goal I have is to keep people in my life that have a net positive effect on me.
If they make me happy, if they care about me, if they're inquisitive about me, if they want to introduce me to new things, if they expose me to new ideas, if they want to help me get to where I want to be: then I value the fuck out of them.
But we value different things as people. Some want emotional support, some want people they admire, some want similar upbringings. Define at least 5 bullet-points on what makes a good friend for you right now.
Here's my current list on what defines friendship to me:
- If we can act like total idiots without filters, that is friendship.
- If we can chat for hours on end without noticing the time, that is friendship.
- If we can argue about certain things, and still hang out with each other after, that is friendship.
- If we can try new things together, regardless of our initial opinions about them, that is friendship.
- If we can be away from each other for months, even years, and talk in person like things never changed, that is friendship.
- If we can attempt to see the world through each other's eyes, and completely understand where we are coming from, that is friendship.
That's really all it is.
Strip all of the preexisting thoughts you have in your head right now of who your best friends are, and do a real audit of how they make you feel, how they help you grow, and how they bring you to new people and thoughts.
One Asian, One Colombian, and Four Coronas
I remember a time when I was in this tropical city in Australia on a vacation in a hostel. I was there to have fun; that's why I went. But I felt uncomfortable around all of these strangers. I felt like this odd Asian American in a land of white Europeans and Australians. I just didn't know how to act. So my friend came up to me and was just acting like his usual self, carefree of the environment around him.
He's Colombian so he has this funny accent, and he says, "Evan, let's go have some Coronas, I'm buying." I was a little prudish at the time, so I initially resisted, but he kept trying to amp me up and get me to have a good time. At some points of the night, I just wished he'd leave me alone. He kept trying again and again and again so I eventually let him buy me a drink.
The thing is, I knew he wasn't trying to get me "fucked up". He just wanted me to have fun.
I'm going to tell you right now, that before that moment, I hated beer. Straight up hated it. Thought it smelled like shit, was not fun or healthy to consume, and was for dumb people.
But in that moment, it was the best drink I ever had.
Nothing was special about the Corona. Just had a little bit of lime at the top of the bottle and was probably overpriced (that's Australia for you). But it was just such a kind gesture, which probably seems trivial to him, that made all of the world to me. It was his intent to get me to loosen up in a place where I wanted to enjoy myself, but wouldn't let myself.
He got me through it.
His influence (not the beer) allowed me to let go of all of the negative thoughts I was having about the place and just be myself. All it took was a little effort from a good friend. The next few days after that were great as well, full of unforgettable adventures.
Sounds overdramatic for a story about friendship, but now you can guess my beer of choice if you ever want to take me out.
On Tuesday, I'm going to talk about why it's hard for us to let go of our toxic friends, and if we should let them go in the first place.