The way we think and perceive things is no doubt impacted by our life experiences and people we meet. In the early stages of life, we let certain encounters help form our understanding of the world. As we get older, it crystallizes into meaningful knowledge.
My family knows most of my friends that I’ve had throughout my life from primary school up to adulthood. Each and every one of them were different. While I outgrew a number of them, my family would sometimes ‘reminisce’ those friendships and asked if I remembered any of them. Of course I would! They were so distinct. I could never forget.
It got me thinking and I wanted to reflect on what I learned from some of those people. They certainly impacted my way of thinking in a sense that it made me question a lot of things. As a grown person now however, I know how I feel about certain issues and certain philosophies and I’ve crystallized that thinking into meaningful knowledge and values.
3 types of friends that impacted my way of thinking
1. The one who left her fate to God
Back in primary school, I had this classmate who was clearly a big believer in God. Everything she did, she kept God in mind. Especially with her school work and exams. One day, we had to study for a big test, and I asked her if she had studied.
“Um not really. But I mean if God wants me to pass I’m sure I will” she said.
That’s an interesting thought.
I went home and told my family. Why do I have to study hard? If God wants me to pass my exams I’m sure I will?
If I recall properly, they didn’t know how to respond. Haha. I later understood that while it is true that everything is fated by God, it doesn’t mean you should just sit there and wait for things to happen. You may be destined to get an A but you cannot assume you will still get an A despite not studying for the exam.
Like with most endeavors in life, it is better to make a solid effort first and then leave the rest to God.
Plus, in Islam, The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘Verily, Allah loves that when anyone of you does something, he does it perfectly.’ [Al Bukhari]
2. The one who constantly lied
Sometime in high school, I had a few friends who were not always honest about themselves. They would make up certain details of their life. Or they would just sugar coat everything when asked a question. Even if there was an obvious answer to a trivial question like “Did you see her just now?” and the truth was my friend had not seen this person I was referring to, my friend would without a blink of an eye said “Oh yeah I saw her just now” very casually. When I asked the other person, they never saw my friend.
It was a strange trait to deal with. I would always wonder, why can’t you just say it as it is? Why do you need to add an extra non-existent detail, or sugar coat a fact that changes the truth of the matter. Worse, why do you make people believe something about you that is not true?
The thing about keeping friends who are not comfortable with telling the truth ends you up in two scenarios: 1) you begin to question the truth so that you question your friendship 2) you begin to exhibit similar tendencies so that you end up questioning yourself.
It’s a strange situation to be in because sometimes, you want to believe your friend has the best of intentions. That they mean well and perhaps their behaviour does not necessarily need to affect your friendship. But unfortunately, somewhere down the line, it does.
I learned the hard way that when you are untruthful, you become inconsistent. And when you become inconsistent, you are unrealiable. And it’s very hard to trust someone who is unreliable.
3. The diamond in the rough
I feel like we all have a friend or even friends like this. They are the kind that at first glance, you don’t think much of. Perhaps they don’t exhibit certain qualities that would wow you. In fact, the opposite may be true. They exhibit certain qualities that may even shock you.
The thing is, they’re good people. They’re good souls with good hearts and that’s why you choose to be friends with them anyway. They’re good to you and that’s enough.
Somewhere down the line, they emerge out of a cocoon. Perhaps they used to be really shy and anti social, and over the years learned to be more open and outgoing. Perhaps they were dealing with a personal issue and closed of themselves to opportunities that could have elevated them, but after healing, are now looking to be the best version of themselves.
A diamond in the rough is an unpolished mineral waiting for its turn to shine. If you stick through long enough, you get to see a transformation happen to a person who has so much potential. It reminds me to never judge someone’s personal journey, and instead think about ways I could help to support their environment.