They say…

Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.

Life Lesson about friendship:

Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. it’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you” and proved it.

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Many people walk in and out of your life but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. and for some friends, in your mind.

Relationships play a big role in our lives. They shape our social skills, the ideologies we are taught, and so much more. I’m sure some of us have a few childhood friends  – some who are now strangers and some who are like family. 

Making friends during our youth is important to create a sense of belonging. The reality is, is that people change with time. We evolve as human beings. So, the friendship two people have fostered in their youth may not withstand the test of time. Sometimes people grow apart and that’s okay. Two people aren’t always meant to be in each other lives forever. I’m a firm believer in the common cliche that everything happens for a reason. More so, people who walk in and out of our lives are meant to teach us something – teach us about ourselves, about the type of people we want to surround ourself with, our beliefs and non-beliefs. There is so much to gain out of any relationship, whether it is a 10-min interaction with a stranger or a person you’ve known your entire life. There is always something to learn.

I can only to speak to my own personal experiences. The friendships that I have lost or the the people who have ever hurt me (intentionally or unintentionally) taught me many lessons and helped shape me into the person I am today. So for that, I am thankful.

So yes, you may be mad, sad or hurt by someone who has done you wrong, but at the end of the day, if you think about it from a place of gratitude, you will be a better person for it. No one has to literally thank anyone. Every situation is different, but if you look at it from a gratuitous perspective, you may come to realize that you have gained something from that relationship. You may have learned about what personalities you do and do not get along with, how you would like to be treated as a friend, what you will and will not stand for, what kind of energy you want to surround yourself with, etc. etc. The lessons you can learn from people are ENDLESS. 

Some people will remain in your life because they add value to it. They bring you happiness. They make you laugh. They teach you things. They keep you company. They provide comfort. Our friends add so much to our lives. They enrich our lives with memories and experiences that shape us. So when we are choosing our friends, we should think about that. Think about what kind of energy we want to surround ourself with. Does this person add to our life? Do we feel joy? comfort? happy? challenged to be better? These are questions we should ask ourselves. 

You are the company you keep

Our friends are a reflection of our own personality or they have qualities we aspire to have and vice versa. When we are making new friends, we will tend to gravitate towards people who mirror our own characteristics. It is in our human nature to stick with those who are like us. In nature, animals stick with other creatures who are like them for the survival of their bloodline (survival of the fittest kind of thing). 

Making new friends in medical school can be intimidating. We’re all adults, all newly full-time medical students and trying to navigate through the obstacles of medical school. It can be a difficult task if you are shy and intimidated to put yourself out there. But what do you have to lose? You won’t know if you will get along with that person unless you explore that relationship. So if you’re having trouble making friends, I suggest just introducing yourself to different people. You never know how one conversation can change the course of your actions and experiences. 

I was fortunate to have met such a diverse group of women. All of whom are very different from me and each other. Each of us come from different backgrounds, different experiences, and have different stories. We may not always agree on particular topics/issues; however, we are willing to LISTEN to each other. When we listen, we learn and when we learn, we are enlightened. And when we are enlightened, we, hopefully, are better people for it. 

Surround yourself with the kind of people who you can learn from, the kind of people who can challenge you, and who can grow with you. Ultimately, you have the control over the company you keep. So you can choose to surround yourself with amazing people or let them go. It’s in your hands. 

“One loyal friend is worth more than a thousand fake ones.”
“true friends are always together in spirit.”
L.M. Montgomery
“Because of you, I laugh a little more, cry a little less & smile a lot more.”

Making New Friends Abroad

Some people travel alone for several reasons. My reason for traveling alone was to study physics abroad. And in doing so, I met some incredible people along the way. Many of whom I know will be life-long friends. Something that has to be said about fostering friendships that were initially made abroad is that these relationships require WORK. Sometimes, it’s much easier to connect when you’re abroad because you have time off, you’re exploring together and discovering a new place. However, when real life kicks in and you’re all back in your hometowns, places of work, and have obligations to fulfill, the relationship now requires additional EFFORT. It takes two to tango! A relationship cannot thrive from the effort of one person. Both have to put in the work. And hopefully, it can be 50/50, but sometimes it’s 60/40 or 70/30. The amount of work each person puts in is ultimately up to them. Everyone has different responsibilities in their own life and this can be difficult to understand. Not everyone has the same amount time to dedicate to a relationship. You might have some low maintenance friends or high maintenance friends. And with some friends, you won’t even have to talk all the time. I think those are the best – the connections that could pick up right where you left off last, even after 4 years of not speaking. Believe me, those exist!

everyday moments makes the best memories

Small gestures can make an impact on someone else’s day. If you’re thinking about someone who you wish you spoke to more often, maybe shoot them a message and reach out. They might be thinking about you too! You never know until you try. What do you have to lose?
Just do it.
The key to any successful relationship is communication.

Whether or not you have friends, this can be applicable to anyone – your mom, dad, sister, brother. Literally ANYONE! The point of communicating with someone is to gain a better understanding of that person, their situation and/or their perspective. You don’t have to agree with their views but you can certainly agree to disagree and LISTEN to what they have to say. Literally, all disputes/conflicts are usually due to a misunderstanding. It never hurts to share your perspective and be honest. Hopefully, the other person is receptive to what you have to say. If not, then maybe not waste the time and energy on it. For some, their brain just isn’t wired to understand (maybe due to lack of knowledge) and that’s okay. Coming from a place of love can only be a good thing. 

why NOT to say “best friend”

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, I used to say “best friend” ALL OF THE TIME, especially as a child in grade school. The thing about saying “BEST” is that it sets some kind of expectation or standard for that person to be “the best” – the best amongst all of the relationships in your life. Some people may not agree with this but I personally try not to use this word for this reason. If I MUST provide an answer, it would have to be the person that knows me BEST – my personality, my quirks, my pet peeves, etc. etc. Your “best friend” is probably someone who makes you feel like you can be 100% yourself. You can be completely vulnerable and they accept you for it. True friends will accept you for ALL that you are – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Real friends will be able to acknowledge that maybe you’re going through something that causes you to act a certain way. 

Hopefully, we can all cross paths with someone who can bring out the best in us – someone who can love you with so much conviction and so much heart, that it is nearly impossible to doubt just how capable you are of becoming exactly who you have always wanted to be. 

Thank you for coming to my TED talk on fostering friendships. I hope you found it insightful. Have a beautiful day!