Friends are the people that will be with you every step of the way. They will be there for the good and bad times and will bring joy to your life. Associates are just another person in your life. They are a person you only have small talk with and someone who frankly is “just there” in your life. One thing I have learned through finishing high school and nearing the end of the college is that only my true friends are the ones I still see today and will continue to see the rest of my life. Of the rest of the people, the overwhelming majority have vanished. The reason for this is because my friends and I have put forth great effort to keep seeing each other and blocking out time to spend together. Associates don’t make the extra effort to fit you in in their life and you probably don’t either. So, spending your time effectively with others comes down to evaluating the people in your life and realizing who is going to be there years from now. Whoever will be there down the road is who you should spend your time with and prioritize.

Associates come in many shapes and forms. They can be classmates, coworkers, neighbors, teammates, fellow club members, or whatever it is you do that causes you to be around them. True friendships are neglected when one side chooses to continually prioritize these associates over their friends. The thing to remember is that associates tend to disappear once a certain phase ends in your life, but friends do not. True friends will be there when you need them, they will be there when things turn south, and they will be the people at your wedding. If you are ever in doubt of whether a person you know will be in your life in the future, ask yourself, “would I invite them to my wedding?” If the answer is a definite no, then realize that you have more important relationships in your life that you should prioritize. The associates won’t be there when you are in need, only your friends will.

This harsh reality is depicted in the 2005 Best Picture Film “Crash.” When Sandra Bullock’s character falls down the staircase, all of her “friends” she has been “friends” with for ten years can’t find the time to take her to the hospital. The only person that came to take care of her was the cleaning lady she fired two days before. It’s funny how moments like these really show who you should appreciate in your life. Can you think of the friends in your life who have been there for you when you needed them most? These are the people that you should be grateful for and appreciate more. The rest are secondary.

 “Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
― Oprah Winfrey

The associates will use you for your wealth. The lifelong friends will be there to help you move out when you get evicted.

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Think about the people in your life who you call your friends. Whoever has or who you know would be there when you need them most are your real friends. Reach out to them and come up with a plan to spend time with them. You’ll be happy you did.

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