By Josh Robinson

When you’re young, it’s easy to call everybody your friend. Some parents allow the opportunity to choose your own friends, while some tell their children to stay away from those kids that

cause trouble. Either way, it’s often the case that kids experience for themselves who is a real friend and who is not. As you get older, you find that your friends from your childhood, or maybe just from an earlier period in your life, aren’t going to be around to support you unless they’re on the same page as you. You’ll find out who will really have your back through thick and thin, and who won’t ever do you any harm.

Throughout my life, I’ve been trying to find out the true meaning of a friend. When I was younger, I hung around kids in my neighborhood who didn’t know any better and tried to do things that they thought were “cool,” but that would actually get you in trouble, like fighting, smoking, and stealing. My mother had always told me that it’s fine to play with them every once in a while, but not all the time. I was puzzled, because they were my friends and they had always treated me like I was family. What I didn’t know was that they had gotten into trouble around the area. I also tried to pull the “What Would Jesus Do” card on my mom to get permission to roam free with them.

Meanwhile, I made friends from grade school that are still some of my closest friends till this day. As I got older, I began to understand what my mom was talking about. One of my neighborhood friends started getting into a lot of trouble with the police and tried dragging me into it. I was being led down the wrong path. I would always try to look out for him, and try to help him out, just like how he would do the same for me. But while you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make him drink. The last time I saw him was two years ago.

In college, you’ll begin to find your own understanding of a true friend. Hopefully, you will find two or three companions you could have as your best men or bridesmaids in your wedding. I’ve had the same friends since freshman year, and we’ve always had each other’s back. We have pushed each other to do better and they have never steered me in the wrong direction. As you get older, you begin to realize who actually wants to help you succeed, and who wants to watch you fall.

Friends want to see you prosper and also want to prosper with you; they always have your back through any circumstance and will support you in your goals and ambitions. If you surround yourself with positive influences, then they’ll make you a better person.

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