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Over the years, my definition of friendship has changed. At once, friends were usually anyone I got along with. Today, I call my friends to embody loyalty, integrity, and love. Once they stand on this foundation, which goes hand in hand with my personal beliefs, I consider them my friend. However, some people are wolves in sheep’s clothing, so I pray about my friendships. I ask God to remove anyone who doesn’t mean me well. Besides that, you also outgrow some friendships, even if they meant no harm, that bond can no longer serve you in your new season. Therefore, you must gracefully say farewell. I think it’s safe to say I’ve got the right ones remaining.

Some people desire loyalty over love because they reckon that loyalty is worth more than love. They believe that you can love someone and still betray them, but once you’re loyal, love can follow. I agree with this perspective to an extent. However, I believe love comes first because if you truly understand the definition of love, you’ll be loyal. At the end of the day, it all comes down to free will. People can switch at any moment. They’re not obligated to remain loyal or even love you. Unfortunately, people sometimes fail to grasp the definition of both, love and loyalty. Hence, it’s essential to ensure they do before pursuing the friendship.

Integrity stands on honesty and morality. However, morality can differ among individuals. It is then important for friendships to share similar perspectives on ethics. If your definitions of rightness clash, then your friendship will most likely fall apart. Additionally, I believe friends should encourage our growth, hence common principles are imperative. How else will they correct you, support you, or defend you? Anyone that always tells you you’re right when they know you’re wrong isn’t the best person to call friend. Either they’re afraid to correct you, or simply don’t have a mind of their own to see the wrong. And that’s a problem. You both will be stuck—never growing, never changing.

Moreover, you know those friends who can tell you what Sally, John or Sue said about you? How is it that Sally, John, or Sue can discuss you in front of your friend in the first place? Red flag. No questions asked. There’s no way someone can destroy you in front of your friend, and they believe it’s okay to come and tell you when they did nothing about it, still thinking they mean you well because they told you. Please be wary about these kinds of people.

Be wary of the leeches. They suck the life out of you. Take, take, take. Always looking for a favor. And when it’s you, they cannot come through. Excuses, excuses. Parasitic.

Be wary of the “frenemies.” Envy drips off them—their words, actions, and thoughts. They only see you as a competitor, never a partner. It’s okay to feel down when your friend may be in a better position than you, and you long to get somewhere in life too. But to stay there the whole time and stir up jealousy and malice in your heart is to become an enemy. These people never grow; they’re ALWAYS trying to outdo you. Their favorite line is: “You think you’re better than others.” They think you’re better than them. They’re just trying to flip the script. No one is better than anyone. Everyone has a distinct path designed to flourish. If they fail to flourish, it’s not anyone else’s fault to blame, especially you as a friend who prospered.

Friends come and go. However, it is important to foster self-evaluations and ensure you’re being the friend you want to have in your life. Before you can be a friend to anyone, you must learn how to be a friend to yourself. How you treat yourself can affect how you treat others. Once you’ve proven to be the friend you need for yourself, it’s then important to ensure you’re being the friend you look for in others. Apologize when necessary. Pray for them. Be kind. Plan outings. Share memories. Take pictures. Have difficult conversations. Be present. Everyone has unspoken trauma, and sometimes a phone call, text, or ice-cream, saves the day. Choose friends that have faith in you even when you don’t have faith in yourself. They’ll become the light in your darkness. Choose love over anger, loyalty over betrayal, and integrity over egotism. Do not point fingers, instead lend the healing hand as renowned pastor, Steven Furtick, would say. The finger kills; the hand heals.

To my friends, I appreciate you all. I have great gratitude for the position you each serve and how you’ve helped me along the way. Thank you for loving me when I may not have been lovable. I know sometimes I was the problem, yet we grew past those moments and continued to stand by each other. I hope you know you are loved, cherished, and worthy of goodness. Please continue to stand by me, and if there comes a time when you’re no longer able to, I wish you well.

After all, friends are family, and family is honorable.

Choose wisely,

Bails.

As an aspiring Serial Entrepreneur from The Bahamas, Bailee loves diving into various aspects of the business world that motivates her creativity and influence. She shows the world who she is and what she's made of by sharing her perspective and values, emerging into a global statement. She also embodies leadership, peace, and integrity. Ultimately, Bailee is the Chief Executive Officer of her legacy, growing with undefeatable passion.
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