As my friend Dave has always told me “Friendship is a numbers game.” In this world there have been those who have given me time, and those who were willing to take it away. Those who are ready to give you time are the people who are proud of what they have been doing all of their life, happy to share, and hope that you may be able to replicate their success. The others have been passerbies on a long road with many curves and obstacles.
I have learned that in the world, out of every thousand people I may meet, only a hundred of those people will make me feel good about myself and who I am naturally. Out of those hundred, there may be ten that I can easily relate with and find the commonalities between the two of us so that the time spent together is fulfilling. And out of those ten there may be one that can love me just as much as I love them for everything they are willing to be for me and I for them.
I had lived in two different states and six different towns by the time I was 14 years old. Most of the movement happened after the age of 9, so I was always struggling to fit in. Fitting in meant masking who I really was and trying to become what others wanted me to be for their own enjoyment. Only so long could I pursue the thought of making others happy before I eventually saw the futile nature of the process and the circular path I was going.
I learned in my early twenty’s from a wise group of people that it is none of your business what others think of you, yet you will still find yourself and others wasting time hoping to get someone else’s approval. The unnecessary character of this is one of the hardest concepts for even older people to grasp, but if I was not able to be myself and be comfortable with who that was, I learned that nothing on the outside was able to change that.
People have come into my life to make me realize that there are true friends with all the love in the world to share, and then there is everyone else. I am not saying those people don’t matter, but for me it was easier to look for those who were the best fit for my character. These people will not be the same for everyone, but they sure make life worth living. There have been people that come in and change my life, and those who are just passing through. I believe true friends are the people that change your life are out there waiting, but you must take time to sift through those that are not making the change you are looking for.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.