Birds of a Feather
Birds of a feather. They flock together, right? I know a lot of people who say no, but I feel that this phrase is in many cases true. Now, you're probably thinking “I have a friend or two that (insert what he/she does here) and I don’t do it. Being friends doesn’t mean you have to do what they do.” And I don’t doubt that. However, I do believe that if you spend a significant amount of time with a particular individual, you'll eventually develop similarities. It's human nature.
Like most, I’ve had several friendships. In those friendships I’ve experienced two (or more) people rub off on each other after spending a substantial amount of time in the same space and involved in the same conversations and activities. I'm sure you yourslf have had at least one relationship (whether romantic or platonic) where you found yourself relating more and more to the other person as time went on. You probably even picked up few of his or her quirky ways.
"Birds of a feather flock together” tends to have a negative connotation. It’s often used to explain how two or more people relate in an undesirable way (“Kate’s a hoe, so her friend Tasha that’s always with her must be too."). Its negative implication innately causes most people to be defensive in their response, but what about looking at it from a different perspective? Personally, I look at it from the viewpoint of levels and elevation (or lack thereof). I mean when birds fly they typically fly high, correct?
I used to consider friendships a “one stop shop.” I believed that friends meant "you do everything together.” Friends are supposed to go out, shop, and talk about everything. You weren't considered a real friend if we didn't talk every day. Until a few years ago. I had reached a point where I was having tons of fun in my personal life (and was quite happy), but professionally and intellectually I was stagnant. I wasn’t doing badly, I just wasn’t progressing and my soul was starved. Did I always partake in the same things as my friends? No. But I did change. Not in character per say, but in my actions. My friends and I never talked about advancing, our dreams, or anything constructive. I had literally put my goals in the back seat (well, more like the trunk) because I wanted to live life like my girls. Then a light bulb went off in my head (bling). I finally got to the point of understanding that as much as I cared about my friendships, I couldn’t afford to stay in “YOLO Land” forever because there were things that I wanted (and still want) to accomplish in my life and those things required my time and effort. I knew I had to change my environment in order to get back on track. Yeah, It kind of sucked that when I began putting more focus on myself that a few of my friendships ended, but it was something I had to come to terms with. Everyone isn’t going to move at the same pace and we don’t always want the same things out of life. It doesn’t make us any better (or worse) than the next person; it's just life.
I also realized the art of having “different sets of friends.” I now have friends that I connect more with spiritually, friends that I connect more with professionally, friends that I like to have fun with, and friends that I can connect with on most or all aspects. Though I connect with them differently, they all have one very important thing in common. They all challenge me in some way. My parents have always said that “if you’re the smartest individual in your clique, it’s time to find another clique.” No, it doesn’t mean that you have to drop those that you’ve previously formed a bond with (or it might. It depends), it means that you should look to connect with others that you can advance (or "flock") with. Develop relationships with others who can empower you, push you, be honest with you, and genuinely root for you. Don't have that “no new friends” attitude. It's silly, and could ultimately hinder you. You never know who God plans to place your life even if for a season. In some cases, you may find that the new women you've formed or will form a relationship with are better friends than those you've known the longest. Be open to meeting new people, especially women. A lot of women claim that they just can't seem to get along with other women, for whatever (crazy) reason, and I don't see the significance. Issa Rae, the creator and star of “Insecure” said it best. She tweeted: “I feel sorry for women who don’t have “female friends." and I absolutely agree. In the words of my friend Marcia (Mar-sha), “If this is you, get off your high horse and fix what needs to be fixed in you so you can get back to loving your sisters.” There’s so much power in sisterhood, and that power leads to overall progression. I’m so thankful for the influential and supportive women in my life. One of those women is my mom. Viv is the most amazing woman I know for so many reasons. She’s my best friend and my biggest (and most honest) supporter (such a shame I didn’t start listening to her earlier in life, but I’m glad that I do now).
Energy is also very important to consider when deciding who to surround yourself with. Energy (also known as a "vibe") is contagious, so it's important to be among optimistic and constructive individuals. Needless to say, there have been quite a few relationships and situations that I've had to kindly separate myself from due to low and negative energy. (It literally becomes draining, whew!) No, I’m not saying to leave your home girl high and dry during a tough time because we’ve all been there. I’m speaking of those who complain on purpose, are always bitter & unhappy, and often talk negatively about people and things in general. Those individuals will ultimately bring you down into the gutter right with them. Sometimes, you just have make the decision to love people from afar in order to keep your peace. If you haven't already, seek to connect with a few positive individuals who are looking to elevate & grow and watch your life begin to gradually change for the better. Mine certainly did. Growth, happiness, and love are essential in life and believe it or not, the people around you have influence.
You can say what you want. Do birds of a feather really flock together? Eventually, yes they do.