Most times I ask myself “Why am I friends with some people?” Like, I do once in a while ask myself the essence of knowing a particular person.

Funny enough, the worst of your experiences in life had come through your friends. The best of experiences, no doubt, also has a tie to your friends. Wholly take it from someone who never had many friends growing up — now I know better.

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you haven’t learned anything.

— Muhammad Ali.

Ok, it was late one Thursday night. I and some of my buddies were getting drunk, well I got so drunk I passed out on the couch at my buddies house. Next thing I know, a woman is tapping me on the shoulder telling me to wake up. I didn’t have any idea who she was, so I sat up to find out who tapped me on the shoulder. That was when I found out I was completely naked on the ground in front of the biggest mall in [Louisana] town!!

I was so embarrassed, I didn’t know what to do. I had to walk inside the mall naked and use the phone to call someone to come pick me up. My friends thought it would be funny to strip me down and drop me off in front of the mall, which opens at 10:00 am. I was awoken at 11:00 am, so I was lying there naked at the door of the mall for a whole hour!

Please, that above wasn’t me. I never had such crazy friends. But think about your friends for a while.

Look, I’ve been living life like every introvert out there. Trying to increase my network, I’ve been meeting people. You know, making friends; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What I discovered from these few years of trying to meet new people, and share their experiences, is that some people come into your life for a lifetime. Some people come for a season and some others come for a reason. The problem then becomes knowing which is which. Who you should share your story with, whom to only laugh and have empty conversations with, and even those to ask to lend you money and those to always appear cool around. You are always going to mess things up and then leave seasonal people with lifetime expectations. That’s normal, I guess.

No, no… listen.

This is what poppa often tells me each time he notices that I am having loyalty issues with my friends. Presumably, he either got it from Madea or simply the good ole him trying to cook things up for the young me.

I put everybody that comes into my life in the category of a tree. Some people are like the leaves on a tree. The wind blows, you find them over there. They are unstable. The wind blows the other way, they’re over here. Seasons change, they wither and die, they’re gone. That’s alright. Most people in the world are like that. They are only there to take from the tree. They are there to take and give shade every now and then. That is all they can do. But don’t get mad at them, that’s who they are.

Some people are like the branches of a tree. You have to be careful with them because they will fool you. They will get there and make you think they are good friends and authentic but the minute you step on them, they will break and leave you high and dry.

But if you find you two or three people in your life who are like the roots at the bottom of the tree, you are blessed. They are the kind of people that ain’t going nowhere. They are never worried about being seen around you. They are those who will definitely be there through thick and thin. But if those roots weren’t there that tree couldn’t live.

You understand? When you get you some roots hold on to them. But the rest of it you let it go. Simply let those other folks go. Well, don’t let them go, like forever. Learn to use them.

Bishop Jakes once spoke about these set of friends like this:

There are three basic types of people that you will interact with: The Confidants. The Constituents. And The Comrades.

Confidants are the individuals you can trust (for they have your best interest at heart), and rely upon. When the chips are down they will do what they can to help you get back up. They are a rare breed. So when you get one, don’t let them go.

Constituents are there for the cause. Despite how friendly or confidant they might appear to be, they have a mission. Once that mission is over, they leave you. When you don’t serve much purpose anymore, they let you go. To constituents, it’s never about you. It’s always about what they want from you. Love them when they come. Don’t feel bitter when they go.

Comrades are like the solemn thought, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. They are neither for what you are about or what the cause is. They are only for what you are against. They team up with you to fight a common enemy then they go. This is often illustrated in politics, religion, war and everyday life.

Remember, to be a good friend you must first learn how to make people want to be your friend.

Don’t forget, this is one of the lessons you learn growing up. Getting to understand this has helped me learn to manage my emotions. It has taught me to not expect so much from people and, of course, it’s made me stronger.

To you, my friend, a wonderful relationship with people.

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