I’ll be celebrating my birthday this month. During this month, I normally take more time than usual to reflect on my life. As I grow older, I want to make the most of my time. 

Therefore, I take time to review the good, bad, and ugly. 

While reflecting on my life, I  know that God has truly blessed me. There’s a lot of chaos in the world, but my life has been good. I’ve got my health, strength, my family’s good, my job’s good. I literally just bought my first place this year. It’s a condo with a balcony on the lakefront overlooking Lake Michigan. I know the only reason why I’m experiencing the level of success I have achieved is that my mom gave me the gift of discernment. I know what true friendship is supposed to be so I can spot a fake one a mile away. 

The reason why this is so important is that allowing the wrong person into your world can really increase your chances of failure.

I remember I had a conversation with someone that I really didn’t know. I knew this person in a professional setting. We knew each other but we weren’t friends. So needless to say I was somewhat surprised when this person asked me for advice. They were describing a situation that sounded like if they didn’t confront the other person causing them trouble they were going to get fired. The sad thing is that this person ended the story with, “It’s just difficult because we know each other and we’re friends.” 

Again, I don’t have a poker face. So I’m just shaking my head in disbelief because the actions of the so-called “friend” in this story were the actions of an enemy. The worst kinds of people in this world are the ones that smile in your face while they are stabbing you in the back. That’s what was happening in this story. However, the sad thing is that this person who came to me for advice didn’t even realize it. They had been in this situation so long they couldn’t see the forest through the trees. 

Trying to help this person, I explained to them that if you act like a doormat then expect to be walked on. I literally had to point out to them several times how this so-called friend’s behavior towards them was not how a friend is supposed to act. The so-called friend in this story knew that the person I was speaking to was naive, vulnerable, and had a strong sense to be a part of the crowd. I told this person that even though we weren’t friends I noticed that they gave off doormat vibes as well. The difference between me and this person’s so-called friend is that this person who came to me for advice knew that I was a good person and would tell them the truth. 

Like I told this person, you have to take responsibility for how you want to be treated in this world. You have two choices.. You can either keep attempting to please people who don’t like you so you can fit in with the crowd or you can be independent, live on offense, do what’s best for you and live out the extraordinary life Christ came to give us.  

I chose the latter. However, I didn’t get to where I am overnight. There was a time that I was also a doormat, but my mom continued to pour truth into me. My life didn’t change until I was brutally honest with myself and started working towards strengthening my mind. I was afraid to stand alone. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that there was strength in numbers. Don’t rock the boat. Maybe that person didn’t realize they were being mean to me despite the fact that I brought it to their attention. I kept making every excuse in the book to stay connected with people who were clearly not my friends, but risked losing the very person in my life who actually was being a friend by telling me the truth…my mom. 

That is why whenever people come to me for advice, I do my best, to tell the truth. Regardless of how much it hurts, you will always get the truth from me. So many people are living less than extraordinary lives because they surround themselves with people masquerading as their friends. The reason this happens is because many people don’t know what qualities to look for in a friend.

So let’s dive into the qualities that BOTH people must possess in order for the friendship to succeed. You need to be kind. When you put God first, and follow the Golden rule in doing unto others as you would want to have done unto you, this really should not be that hard. 

Absolutely no one wants to spend time with someone who constantly has a bad attitude or feels entitled. This is one of the main reasons why the number of people you call your “friend” will decrease. As you grow older, the struggle to find kind, decent hearted people is REAL. Life gets in the way. Some people don’t know how to deal with adversity and get angry at those who try to help them. Others who see you experiencing success may get jealous and make snide remarks to downplay your success. If you allow folks to take their frustration with their lives out on you, then you’re going to start to internalize the insecurities they are projecting which will send your confidence on a very fast downward spiral.

When you have a low self-esteem, it gets really hard to determine who you can trust. A real friend needs to demonstrate that they will have your back when you really need them. A real friendship consists of give and take. They don’t just take, take, take. The friendship will never survive if either person believes that it’s ok to experience success at the expense of stealing from each other. 

Case in point, I’m going through a situation right now whereby I’m dealing with this Karen in my building. This person has literally proven herself to be a real garbage person. Yet, had the audacity or bet yet caucasity to say that she would like to have an open, honest, neighborly relationship. However, this person’s actions tell another story. 

They have done nothing but cause trouble by lying to me and about me, attempting to steal from me, and a list of other things I can’t get into at the moment. Now, if I was an idiot, which I definitely am not, I would have fallen into this person’s trap. Never be so desperate to have a “friend” that you are willing to enter into a one-sided relationship where the other person is receiving all the benefits of having you as a friend while you’re left with nothing to show in return. 

Just to clarify, I’m not talking about money. If you’re constantly building someone up and all they do is tear you down so they can feel good about themselves you need to high tail it out of that relationship. It’s better to stay by yourself. I’d rather be happy and alone than surrounding myself with someone who makes me feel miserable. I can do bad all by myself. Being around someone you can’t trust will steal your joy. If you’re around this thief you won’t ever feel motivated to step outside your comfort zone.

Life is too short to allow mediocrity to be the standard of success. As I told the person who came to me for advice, I will NEVER allow myself to be friends with someone who doesn’t inspire or motivate me to level up.  Meaning, I want to be around folks who are going to push me to be my best.   A real friend will be able to easily identify your goals and/or help you in a constructive way improve in areas that are hindering you. If they can’t do it themselves they will do their best to provide you with the resources you need to get the job done. You should be able to see the impact that this person is having on your life. 

When you have a person who is kind, trustworthy, and motivates you to live your best life then you have the makings of a beautiful friendship. With this said, what I just described might make you feel like searching for a unicorn, but trust me, this type of friendship does exist. Provided you don’t settle for less than the best, God will bring you the friend that you seek at just the right time to go through this crazy thing called life together.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoy listening to Hustle in Faith and would like to support the show, please consider sharing it with your friends, leaving a review, donating, or making a purchase at  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire you in the next episode!