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Friend or Foe by Oyinkan Bello

Oyinkan discusses passing on the lesson of when to let go of and welcome friendships. Oyinkan has a younger sister, Oyindasola.

As an older sister, I would like to think I have learnt a few valuable life lessons that I pass on to my sister when she cares to listen. Obviously, I’m still learning how to implement them into my life, but I’ve found that they are still valuable, nevertheless.

My one big piece of advice that I always tell my sister is: surround yourself with the right people. By that I mean, be mindful of the friends you have; the people you allow into your life and into your heart.

The reason I say this is because the people you surround yourself with can really shape who you are as a person. I know that happiness comes from within and only you can make yourself truly happy but if we’re being honest, we sometimes require validation from those around us. We need to surround ourselves with people that up lift us; make us laugh; encourage our passions; accept us as we are and allow us to grow.

You do more harm than good to yourself when you try to mould who you are as a person in order to please other people and fit in with them, especially when you’re maturing and still trying to figure out who you even are.

Surrounding yourself with the right people is not only important for you to feel secure in yourself, without having to alter your personality to please others, but it also prevents a lot of stress, anxiety and heartbreak.

Generally, when we talk about heartbreak, for the most part we’re talking about romantic heartbreak. However, I would argue from experience, when friendships break-up it can be just as difficult to get over.

You leave the friendship wondering how a person you trusted so much could leave your life so suddenly. You start to question your own self-worth and wonder if you’re are the reason that the friendship didn’t work. It is a rough situation to be in.

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So, if I were to break down my advice it would boil down to this. Surround yourself with people who allow you to thrive. Not people who get jealous, or bitter or who put you down (yes, there’s always that one person). The key thing to note is that, even if you meet the right friends, there will likely be the scenario when you’re not friends anymore. However, that’s life. People come, people go, but each friendship you have is part of self-development, maturing into the amazing person you will be. Don’t be defeated by friendships that don’t work out. Some friends just simply will not be in your life forever, and it’s okay to let them go. They are just part of the journey that help prepare you for future friendships.

I’m not suggesting that you should withhold from becoming too close to people out of a fear of it falling apart nor am I suggesting that all the friends you have now will *expire*. It is just important to consider who you let influence your emotions and who you let into your life because at the end of the day, it is not about how ‘cool ‘ they are it is about who will be there for you when the going gets tough and if the kind of person you are when you’re with them is the person you want to be.

Oyinkan Bello

Oyinkan is a spirit and her smile and energy is contagious to say the least. The woman is unstoppable whether it’s fab content on her YouTube Channel, EstherTalks or photography. I am beyond proud and blessed to be able to call her my friend and someone who inspires me to be better every day.

Oyin wrote for Matriarch Community back in June 2020, My Black Experience which you can find here.

Oyin is currently studying Medicine at the University of Nottingham.

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