New Relationships 

Friendships: The People we Meet Along the way

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“No man is an island.” 

A phrase that I remember hearing growing up. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure why having people in your life was so important, but as I grow older, I am grateful for the friendships I have.

A true friendship contributes to one’s overall health.

According to Mayo Clinic:

“Friends also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.”

In life, you meet your good Judy’s and they all play different roles in your life. For me, I don’t have a lot of people I let in my space. If anythang, I have more acquaintances. But, my frans, are all close to me. I don’t have just one best friend, as all of them play a close role in my life. I have one big framily—friends who became family.

Years ago, I had two best friends in grade school. We would remain friends well into our mid and late 20’s.

When you become thick as thieves, at such an early age, people watch you evolve. From walking down Sherlawn or to Magnolia for school; sneaking to see boys; coordinating how and when to lose our virginity; having someone to do my hair; and just growing through life together fostered a type of bond that’s impossible to form, when you’re an adult.

People also change and grow a part. While I don’t necessarily miss the friendships anymore, there was a form of security I had with them that I have never had with any other friends. But, even friendships that expire serve their purpose.

People always say your college friends will outlast your high school friends. For me, that’s a true statement. Once I got to college, those friendships were easier to form and are still in tact. Being Black at an HBCU, in 2005?! Oh, what a time to be alive! Life was great!

This is the stage where one can create whatever version you truly want to be. High school no longer matters, as you truly grow into yourself. 

No one really cares if you’re fat, gay, jock, or fashionista in college. Well—people don’t care as much. There’s a level of comfort in college that doesn’t exist in high school.

According to Dartmouth News, we have different clusters of friends in college—tight knit network, compartmentalizers, and samplers.

In short, you either get support in multiple areas from one group of friends, different groups, or you are a loner and don’t have a very strong connection to just ‘one’ group.

Looking back, we thought we were ‘grown, grown’ and had not the slightest clue. But, we were in college, at THHHEEEE Jackson State University.

I had a tight knit and a compartment network. One group was my free before 10 on Thursdays, while heading to Freelon’s and supported my heaux phase. The other group was where we completed assignments, *before* heading to local clubs—Upper Level and Birdland, while also making sure we made it to 8am class on Friday mawnins! Both groups offered support that helped me have one hell of an experience.

Fourteen years later, I still have those friendships. While the dynamics have slightly changed because life happens, we are still connected, in some way.

Being freshmen at JSU, at the ages of 17 and 18, we were like fish in water. Life was happening and we were invincible or so we thought. Gawd! That was such a good time period in my life.

Adult friendships…these can be difficult, depending on a variety of factors.

It’s almost like trying to make friends all over again in grade school. I’m still tryna navigate this space. Being a ‘thought leader’ doesn’t make this easy at all. It’s just all so interesting.

At this age, many are married and/or have kids. Then, there’s my group. We are single AF, no kids, and tryna travel with 24-hour notice. Then, we remember others have responsibilities and may not be able to move like us. Sooo, it’s all one cluster, lmao!

An article in The Atlantic described this stage best.

“The voluntary nature of friendship makes it subject to life’s whims in a way more formal relationships aren’t. In adulthood, as people grow up and go away, friendships are the relationships most likely to take a hit. You’re stuck with your family, and you’ll prioritize your spouse. But where once you could run over to Jonny’s house at a moment’s notice and see if he could come out to play, now you have to ask Jonny if he has a couple hours to get a drink in two weeks.”

This stage of life hits us with some real shit. Many have been divorced, suffered a traumatic loss, job changes, marriages, new babies, mid-life crisis, and a lot of other shat that requires a bit of separation, at times.

When we do get together, it is a good ass time, baaabbbiiieee! First of all, we are VIP and the whole world knows this. So, when we’re having a good time, BEECH, we are having a good time.

It may be difficult tryna get together because of schedule conflicts or responsibilities but it is all worth it, when we do. We cuts up, chile! Do ya hear meh?

There are different stages of friendships that all serve their purpose. I need people, and I’m thankful for those I have and had, as they’ve all played a major role in my life.

Appreciate ya fraannnss!

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