Musings

Are We Defined by Our Friends?

Grandma used to always say, “Dime con quien andas, y te dire quien eres.” Tell me with whom you’re surrounded with, and I’ll tell you who you are. Something along those lines, anyway.

Heading towards my mid-twenties, I can only shrug it off as old people advice, cross my fingers, and hope for it not to be true.I live in New York. Grandma underestimated the difficulty of finding people that she would consider normal, let alone a ‘positive influence’, in this city. These people, my alleged, so-called friends (some which I’ve known for almost a decade and others who have only entered my life this past year) are suppose to be my reflection, like if I were looking into a mirror? If this mirror was for sale, this is the part where I would claim it was broken before I found it.
The depressing truth is, most people, nonetheless myself, wouldn’t know how to adequately describe what the the term “friend” even means. Because from work friends, to weekend bar friends, to call-after-a-hard-breakup friends, and to the once-a-month dinner friends- are they all really suppose to be a giant melting pot of our best and worst qualities? Well, Carissa makes over a hundred grand a year, Christina could be a model, John has 3-4 sexual partners each week, Harley has about 5 different medical prescriptions, and Ashley doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly. How can I possible embody all of these different characters all at once? Only an actor from SaturdayNight Live can have these many personalities.
I think the answer is then that our friends don’t define who we are, but are an extension of qualities and traits that we don’t only tolerate but, dare I say it..like. They showcase who we’re willing to fraternize at work and drink with on weekends. They are the ones who we invite to wine nights, spend lonely holidays with, and introduce to our family. They are the people we choose to call friends. Friendship is one of the rare instances in life where, for the most part, everyone else is a puppet and we get to pull the strings.
This is not to say that the people around you should be perfect, but that our minds are like sponges. Carissa has made me more ambitious. Christina has caused me to be more attentive to my outer appearance. John has encouraged me to date more. Harley has educated me on all sorts of illnesses. And Ashley must be an alien.
Simply put, hanging out with Freddy Krueger doesn’t necessarily make you a serial killer, but who the hell would trust someone who hangs out with Freddy Krueger.
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