Years ago(in my teenage years) my aunt asked me who my best friend was. When I told her, her shocking response(then) was, “How can you be best friends with someone you have never had an argument with?” I thought it very silly at the time. Why would I be best friends with someone who I was arguing with? How does that make sense? Now I understand why she said that. You see Arguments/disagreements are inevitable, primarily because we are all different. It is also during these arguments we sometimes get a rare glimpse of how we are truly viewed. You see as humans, we get emboldened when we are angry. We say things that we wouldn’t generally say or think when all is sweet and flowery. Arguments showcase how strong a relationship is and whether it can withstand the storm. Many relationships are changed forever after a disagreement or an argument.
So in essence what she was saying was, “You don’t know if that is your best friend because you have not withstood the test of times”. “You have not moved beyond the surface, because if you have then the inevitable would have happened.” She pointed to another friend who she thought was my best friend. I laughed so hard because this friend and I argued so much and we could never see eye to eye. Fast forward to today, and this friend is one of my longest and deepest friendships. We argued because she never sugar coated things for me. We argued, because unlike many, she was never afraid to tell me when I was wrong. We argued because she saw things in me that were not nice and instead of ignoring or even worse, talking to others about it, she told me straight to my face. Now, if you have the rare opportunity of TRULY knowing me, you will know what my initial reaction to conflict is.
The truth is, I have very few friends and I’m very guarded now about who I label as friends. The ones I truly call my friends are those who love me enough to challenge me to grow. They do this by being as real as possible with me and are willing to confront me when I’m wrong. My friend Keisha, the one I spoke of above, is my forever friend. We have said some of the most hurtful things to each other over the years. We have argued more than I ever have with my other friends. We have “stopped” talking more than I can remember. But one thing we always knew, in the midst of all of that, we will always be friends. We both knew that if we needed each other at any point, we would drop everything to be there. This friendship is now unbreakable because we have stood the test of time. We have weathered the storm and will continue to do so.
So now I’m not interested in surface “friendships “. I’m not interested in “friendships” where we don’t argue/disagree. I’m not interested in “friendships “ where most of the conversation is about other persons (gossiping). Friendships must allow you to strip naked, not literally, and still find solace in the fact that as you remove each layer of mask and pretense, you are still loved, you are still challenged, you are told you are wrong, you are prayed for, you are reminded of who you are, you feel completely free to be YOU(not versions of you, not the you that you think everyone wants you to be…but YOU). Do some evaluation and even some introspection. Evaluate your “friendships”. And most importantly, evaluate yourself and see if YOU are being a friend in the truest sense of the word.