Mates Before Dates and the Four Reasons Why

Mates before dates.

Bros before hoes.

Chicks before dicks.

You’ve probably heard these before in one form or other. These are all variations of the same concept encapsulating the greatest of all relationships: friendship.

Intimate relationships may end but true friendships often have longer expiration dates, the best ones having none at all. It remains for years seeing us through the usual ebb and flow of life.

I truly believe we can live without a spouse. But friends are the people we need no matter who and what we are across the globe. What is this life but for the friends who have seen us through several pants sizes, hair colors, or personality metamorphoses, among other things?

The quality of our friends define us. Therefore, it is important to choose the right ones.

I used to think that the number of friends one has equates quality. The more you have the better. As I grew older, I found this was not always true. As the years went by, I found myself discarding people along the way who didn’t measure up to my standards.

Now “discarding” may sound harsh but for your own sanity, you have to do it because the truth is not everyone will mean you well.

In my dictionary, true friends are those people who:

  1. Celebrate my successes and are genuinely happy when great things happen to me. Envy and the need to compete has no place in honest friendships.
  2. Do not seek to bring me down when my back is turned. Another version of this is someone who pretends to be a friend and then proceeds to undermine me through emotional manipulation to my face. In other words, a “friend” who deliberately, regularly makes me feel bad for whatever reason is, plainly and simply, malicious.
  3. Make me feel valued. “Value” probably has a flexible meaning here because its definition varies from person to person. My own definition has everything to do with time and effort. When I value someone, I give my full attention and I am always there when needed. The inverse of this would be someone who never has the time to actually be there when it matters, does not care to respond, may be present in body but is busy with something else all the time right in front of you.
  4. Are trustworthy. This one has to be the most important for me. I take pride in my ability to keep secrets and I expect the same from my friends. The worst thing in the world is telling someone something confidential and then later hearing about it from a million other people.

Through the years, I have pared down the number of people in my innermost circle. The people I call my best friends have been with me for years, all of whom I’ve known for more than or at least a decade. These are the ones who have never sold me out and met all my standards for great friendships.

We don’t agree with each other all the time. They tell me what they think I should know not what they think I’d like to hear. We don’t always see each other all the time either but distance is never a factor in the quality of my friendship with them.

For example, my bestest best friend of all time lives in Canada (I am based in Manila, Philippines, on the other side of the world) and we’ve known each other since high school. We have been through so much through the years, but sometimes, even in the best of friendships, life can still get in the way, and there are stretches of time that we don’t talk to each other. But whenever we do, it’s as if no time has passed at all. She accepts me as I am, warts and all, as do I her. We’ve always gone on different paths but we rejoice in each other’s successes. We are there for one another during the down times. I trust her unequivocally such that she was my legacy contact before I deleted my Facebook account (a legacy contact is someone you delegate to take care of your Facebook account in case you die. Yes, you read that right. She would have had access to my account, password, messages, and all).

Real friendships are a joy, my sanctuary I call them. That means the whole world can go to hell, and I can lose everyone for all I care. But for as long as I have these real friends around me (and my family, of course), I know I will be alright.

So tell me, do you have people you can call your real friends? Your bestest best friends in all the world? Who are they? Honor them by giving these people a shoutout in the comments below!

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