The crew, the homies, the gang, the boys, the guuurrss, the squad, your Nakama. The goons you run with, the friends you ride with, the people you stumble out of brunch with, the family you choose. The dinguses that you send inappropriate memes to knowing they’ll send one even worse. The group chat that holds plans, advice, and roast sessions that can go on for days on end. These delinquents have dug into your life and are there whether you like it or not. Growing up, many of us formed our groups of friends at a young age. You play at recess and compete with one another in any form of competition under the sun. You talk about your interest and who you’re interested in. Sometimes you share with them more than you do with your own family and it’s because they are basically just your less judgmental family. These people are your groomsmen or your bridesmaids, they are the people you grow with and the ones that will be with you for most of your highs, do you even burn bro, and when you’re down baaaaaaaad. This week I want to focus on the people you surround yourself with and their importance to your life.
In the third grade, I was in a weird place when it came to my age and development. I was young for my year and I was a poor student. How you fail arts and crafts will forever be a mystery to me but nonetheless, I managed to do the impossible. I was ultimately held back a year and that might have been one of the most important decisions in my life. That second year of third grade is when I first met the group of idiots I would be stuck with for the rest of my days. That was 20 years ago, and to this day I am still in contact with them on almost a daily basis. But they aren’t the only friends that I’ve held onto. Those friends helped introduce me to new friends in middle school, and from middle school, you meet new kids from different schools and ways of life. From the Bwo Frog to The MEAT MARKET to Silks, Beto, Hankifer and Rick Neur are just a few of the people that were going through the awkward years all the way through high school.
After high school and going into college can be a tricky place to make friends. Some of your old friends move out of town for school or go to different schools and fall into different schedules. Thankfully for me, my friends were always pretty tight and thanks to sports had a wide net to network from. I haven’t known some of my college friends as long as my other friends, but they are some of my closest friends today. From Frivals (friend/rivals) like the Juegar to rave master Dirty Mike and the boys, the bros have got through our Jim Bean (Yes I know it’s Jim Beam but who tf is actually calling it that) induced college years. Another outlet of friends I had was through college rugby at Fresno State.
I was at a low point in my college career when I hit my 4th year in school. While most of my friends were graduating and getting into their careers, I had just dropped my second major and was on academic probation. With no motivation to even go to the campus, let alone class, my pops suggested trying the sport he played in college. Rugby. With nothing better to do, I went to club day and spoke with Quezzy and Tevin. They welcomed me with open arms as if I was already a part of their family. I signed up five minutes after meeting them. Within the first practice, I got a glimpse of the camaraderie that comes with the sport. Coach Quan immediately instilled a sense of brotherhood between us and I can’t thank him enough for that. I still keep in touch with them dawgs to this day. Those practices are honestly some of my fondest college memories…that I can remember. School and sports are always good places to make friends, but how about in the workplace?
Workplace relationships, a server’s dating circle, and where you’ll spend most of your time avoiding actual work. One way to avoid said work is to befriend your co-workers. Co-worker friendships can be tricky all due to what I call “Workplace Politics.” Workplace politics is basically where all the in-office drama and gossip takes place. Factions and clicks are formed and if you aren’t careful you could end up on the short end of the office potluck. With all that said, workplace friends are so important when it comes to surviving work. Even if you enjoy your work, the wear and tear of the work grind can be difficult to get through. That is exactly why finding trustworthy friends at the office is so important. I was lucky to fall into working with now lifelong friends with Drew and Hammer (sorry Rev but those trash food posts make it hard to trust you). Drew was in the studio with me at 5 am training me for on-air work for probably over a year while Hammer would regularly check in and give me feedback, which led to post-event brewskis. Needless to say, I have been incredibly lucky when it comes to workplace homies. But what is it that all these ding butts all have in common? What traits and qualities should you value when it comes to friends?
Friends are a hot commodity in today’s day and age and it is incredibly important to surround yourself with the right people. But what makes them the right people? Trustworthiness is always an important trait to look for in a friend. People you can trust when it comes to opening up or being vulnerable for most would be the first thing they look for. Others will say how well you get along with someone. It is true you want to have fun and be cool with your friends, but I feel you need to also be able to have arguments with friends. Butting heads can help you look at a situation from a different perspective and I think that can be lost to some. Friends that are fun. The party friends, the friends that are down for anything and are always a ball of energy. These friends are important when it comes to putting yourself out there or needing a break from the world. All of these traits are valuable but I think one that is most important is dependability. If I’m in a pinch and need a friend at 2:30 am who’s answering that phone call? If my tire goes out on the side of the road who’s helping me push my car? If I’m in my sad boy mood who’re the friends that will let me vent? It’s those friends that are truly a blessing in our lives. Now that we know who the reals ones are, I think it’s only right to warn you about red flags in friends.
Warning signs in friends are not to be ignored. These are the people you spend a lot of your free time with so it is unbelievably important that you keep a healthy circle around you. Friends that keep the focus of their conversations are other people is usually a sign to be concerned with. Friends that scoff at your interest or make you feel uncomfortable about sharing your interest are another big warning sign. For me, THE BIGGEST RED FLAG are what I call “Energy Vampires.” Energy Vampires are the people that suck the life out of you. They come to you with all of their issues without listening when you need someone. They blame others for a lot of their toxic behavior or bring no solution to a problem. They roll their eyes when you show them something that makes you happy or gives you a backhanded compliment toward it. They make you run on their time and their time only and can deflate a night out in a matter of seconds. These people are to be dropped, regardless of how long you’ve known them. Friends should be your biggest supporters and be able to be real with you when you’re acting a fool. If they’re abusing your kindness so they can feel right, it is time to put a stake through the heart of that relationship. With that said these people are few and far apart so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for these creatures of the shade.
Friends are vital to us. They keep us in check, they do dumb things with us, and they’re there for us when we need them. They lift us up or wingman for us when we’re feeling our game is off. So cheers to the friends that become family. In Vin we trust.