From an early age our friends are among the people who influence us in ways we may not even realize, ways that will shape us into the people we become as adults. It is for this reason that we must choose them carefully. However, choosing who are good for us is not always easy and often times we don’t even realize these “friends” are bad for us (whether it be bad influences, or as simple as the person is merely a good time friend or doesn’t have your best interest at heart or makes you feel bad about yourself) until the damage is done.
As a teenager I was extremely shy and found it very difficult to make friends (a problem that many young teenagers face) and I latched onto a person who turned out to be not such a good influence on my life at the time. She fueled my feelings of insecurity, particularly in regards to making other friends and she interfered in my family life and my relationship with them. However, at the time I didn’t see any of this and I treated her like we were sisters and would have trusted her with my life. She certainly knew all my secrets!
Looking back now trusting her that much was a huge mistake as she used that trust to completely destroy my belief in people and friendship. As I said at the time I didn’t notice all the negative ways she was impacting my life and even now I find it difficult to pinpoint when she went from a friend to someone I should not have trusted and probably should have cut ties with.
The impact that a “bad friend” can have on your life can range from very small things that you may not even notice until later in life to major problems such as drugs and alcohol, but however big or small the impact it will remain with you for the rest of your life. So when you choose your friends try to make sure that they are the kind of person who will have a positive impact and will help you to become the best version of yourself. We don’t want friends who belittle us and make us feel badly about ourselves or try to make us do things that we are uncomfortable with or deceive us for their own benefit. The people you want as friends are those who uplift you and encourage you to be better and are there for you when you need someone to lean on.
“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” – Jim Morrison
“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.” – Euripides
My experience with this particular “friend” made it difficult for me to trust people and although I had acquaintances I refused to let them in as friends for a long time, until I realised that life without true friends is very lonely and unfulfilling. You cannot let bad friendships or a bad experience with a friend stop you from believing in the magic that true friendships can bring to your life but you can let them teach you what friends are not! Let the bad experiences teach you to be careful in who you trust to be your true friends. Although it may take longer to find these true friends, trust me when I say that, when you do they will inspire you to be great.
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas
“Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.” – Socrates
Most of the time your instincts about people will be enough to let you know whether they are truly your friend or not. You just need to TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. You know that a friend shouldn’t treat you badly or like you are less than them. You know that a friend should not force you into a situation or to do something that you are not comfortable with. You know a friend should not manipulate or deceive you.
“It is only the great-hearted who can be true friends. The mean and cowardly, can never know what true friendship means.” Charles Kingsley.
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