By Shatadi Thongoane
It has been proven that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. So choose carefully. Avoid Bad Company.
Friendship is one of those undervalued topics in our culture, and relationships are more valued as compared to friendships. And yet, as many happily married people will tell you, the reason why their marriage is successful is because of their strong friendships. And as many happily single people will tell you, the reason why they’re happy is because of their solid network of support.
However, great friends/partners don’t grow on trees. A decent friend/partner is fairly easy to come by, but a great friend/partner is a truly like-minded and like-hearted individual with whom you share that special bond.
When you leave the school environment, it’s even more challenging to meet a great friend/partner. But just like one of the keys to a successful partnership is to learn about what it means to give love (instead of buying into the cultural definition that love is only a feeling), one of the secrets to attracting and sustaining meaningful and rich friendships/relationships is to become the friend/partner you wish to have. Be the person you wish to attract.
If you choose your friends/partners based only on what they have to offer, you will rarely discover the blessings of a genuine friendship/relationship.
A true friend/partner is trustworthy. You should only expect to share complete trust with a few loyal friends. Trusting too easily can lead to ruin, so be careful about putting your confidence in a mere companion. Over time your true friend/partner will prove their trustworthiness by sticking closer than a brother or sister.
If you feel smothered in a friendship/relationship, something is wrong. Likewise, if you feel used or abused, something is wrong. Recognizing what’s best for someone and giving that person space are signs of a healthy relationship. You should never let a friend come between you and your partner, same applies to partner. A true friend/partner will wisely avoid intruding and recognizing your need to maintain other relationships (you and your partner/family).
True friends/partners will build each other up emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Friends/partners like to be together simply because it feels good. You can receive strength, encouragement, and love. They talk, cry and listen to each other. But at times you also have to say the difficult things your dearest friend/partner needs to hear. Yet, because of the shared trust and acceptance, you are the one person who can impact your friend’s/partner’s heart, for you know how to deliver the hard message with truth and grace. On that note partners should make time to connect.
Love is action in all relationships, which means it’s not enough to say I love you; you need to act in loving ways. A great partner makes time to remain connected through telephone calls and in-person dates (if it’s not a long-distance relationship). And texting isn’t real communication. It serves a function to communicate perfunctory information, but it doesn’t build or maintain true intimacy. Love should be followed by appreciation, care, commitment, trust, and bond. Having more than one partner deletes the word “Partnership” and for you to be able to handle all those traits mentioned above will be a challenge because it will not be a true faithful partnership/relationship.
My hope is that these traits will show society areas that may need a little work in their effort to build stronger friendships/relationships.
Remember, true friendships/relationships are rare treasures. They take time to nurture, but in the process they grow more.