Friendship is something that means a lot to me and has increased in value for me over time. I’m sure that those of you who have read a few of my previous posts can tell that about me. When I was a kid all the way up until I got to college, I have always been able to count my true friends on one hand. Occasionally, I was able to use both hands, but not every finger would be used.

Throughout each stage in my life, whether it was childhood or my teenage years, I had a consistent group of friends (for the most part…but that’s a long story). However, I noticed that after certain stages (i.e. elementary school or high school), a lot of us would go our separate ways.

Either we had outgrown each other, or I realized that our lives were headed in two separate directions. With the exception of a few people, I didn’t really have anyone. In my young mind, I knew that it was for my good and that God was probably protecting me (and He was…THANK YA!!!), but it definitely hurt whenever I realized certain friendships were fading.

In the middle of my high school career (and through the end), I began to pray for a few things, including small, consistent group of friends. Not just friends who would last for a season, but some who would be there for a lifetime.

I wanted the kinds of friendships that I grew up observing: the close bond my mom and her two friends have maintained since their high school years (they graduated from high school in 1975 and are still good friends…you do the math on how long that has lasted), the brotherly relationship my uncle has had with one friend since they were in their 20s, and the kind of lasting friendships I saw in films and televisions shows like The Best Man, Waiting to Exhale, The Wood, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Cop and a Half, Living Single, Girlfriends, and the Lethal Weapon films.

I prayed for just a group of two or three friends. A couple of guys and a girl or a couple of girls and a guy. Either way, I would be set. However, when I was accepted into a scholarship program that paid for my tuition for all four years and got to college, that’s when a bunch of wonderful people came into my life. More true, quality friends than I could even count. In the end, God always gives you a little more than what you ask for.

Something remains constant in my experiences with friendships. I’ve observed that no matter what, it’s always great to have certain friends on your team.

The Cheerleader. This friend will support you no matter what. He or she will be at nearly every birthday celebration, donate money to your fundraisers, loan/give you money if you need it, praise you when you thrive, encourage you when you’re at your lowest, and will shout you to the world.

The Ratchet. This friend will be the poster child for all things ‘hood. Whether they’re reformed and refined, but only show that side to close friends and family or they’re still simply the same and have no problem reppin’ where they’re from 24/7/365, they know everything there is to know about street life. They have impeccable street smarts. I’ll just leave it at that. They’re also the first person who will back you up if you get into a physical altercation with someone.

The Driver. If you and your crew want to go to an event out in Timbuctoo, IL (or whatever state) and you know your car won’t make it out there for whatever reason or you don’t have a car period, this is the friend who will pick you all up without fail. They know their way around and will never get lost.

The Brother. Whether younger or older, this is the guy you will NEVER be able to get rid of even if you tried (and vice versa). Your bond is God-ordained. It’s like you two were meant to be in each other’s lives. You two are so alike that it’s ridiculous. You both have similar dating experiences, similar types of family members, similar upbringings, similar kinds of friends (maybe mutual friends), similar experiences in school, similar experiences in careers or jobs, similar senses of humor, etc. You both are so alike that you both often wonder if you were separated at birth and your parents plotted to keep some lie going for many years. You two will praise each other like “The Cheerleader” when right, but will check and scold each other when wrong. No matter the ups or down the two of you may face, the bond will remain strong. They’re also the one you can confide in about anything and everything and won’t be judged. When you have no one else to turn to and don’t think anyone else will listen or want to hear what you have to say, they will be there with a listening ear and maybe some comforting words of advice.

The Sister. Pretty much the same as “The Brother”, but a female version.

The Cousin. You don’t always see them, but when you do, it’s always a blast! They’re like a brother or sister and they might be a bit of a bad influence at times and corrupt you (mainly and hopefully in a good way).

The Parental Figure. Whether they’re your age or older, they act like that mother, aunt, grandmother, father, uncle, or grandfather you either always knew or never had. Filled with wisdom, they’ll always keep you on track and make sure you’re doing the right thing (whatever that may be). You have a lot of respect for them and look up to them in different ways. They’re something like a mentor.

The “LinkedIn” Friend. Just as you have established connections with people whether they’re friends, associates, former colleagues, former supervisors, etc., this person knows some of everyone from everywhere. They can possibly get you a hookup or discount and they have the inside scoop on everything and everyone. They can tell you who would be great to befriend, date, seek for a professional opportunity, and who you need to stay far away from and leave alone.

The Gifted. This is the friend who can almost do it all. They can write, sing, act, dance, organize and put together events, cut/do hair, decorate, etc. They’re the ones to call on whenever you need a drop of creativity in whatever you’re doing to make it outstanding.

The Peacock. Just as a peacock has a mixture of colors, this friend is a mixture of some or all the types of friends aforementioned. If you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of friend, you have struck gold!

This isn’t set in stone and things can vary with each person, but I’ve found having these kinds of friends to be advantageous as they have all made my life even richer. I love them all and I hope they know that. I hope you have some friends like the ones I’ve mentioned.

Your brother in the Livin’ Like Maya Movement,


About The Author

Herbert is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and currently resides in Chicago. When not doing consulting work, he enjoys writing, reading, volunteering, music, and television, among other things.