With all of the sentimental posts flooding my Instagram feed for the last couple of days, I wanted to take the time to reminisce about 2017 as well. Nobody described 2017 as best as my fashion blogger friend and photographer, Sharon Litz. Basically, Sharon stated that this year has been "an unusually challenging, crap year but also weirdly fantastic at the same time" and I couldn't agree more. Simply put, 2017 has been a crazy ass year that made me experience a fluctuation of ups and downs that I never thought I'd want to experience...and I wouldn't have it any other way. Without struggles, unpredictable outcomes, meltdowns, and surprises, I wouldn't be the person I am today and I am grateful to have experienced all of these moments, whether they were bad and good. When things don't go your way, it makes you a stronger person at the end of the day once you overcome the obstacles that once hindered your growth. Now, I want to take you guys on a long-story-short version of my 2017 and what I learned about the importance and value of friendships, family, and relationships throughout this unpredictable, yet intriguing year.
1. Trust your gut instincts about people - whether it involves work, love, or friendships.
When you meet somebody for the first time, your first impression of them is often on point (that is, if you're a good judge of character or have good intuition). If I find myself thinking about that person after meeting him/her for the first time, I most likely will take control of the situation and reach out to that individual to hang out again.
In an industry that is competitive and oversaturated with bloggers, I'll be honest when I say that it's not often that you find a work-related buddy worth keeping by your side. People in any competitive work industry often take what they can get, so you can easily be replaced, betrayed, or ignored if you don't watch your back. If somebody is often talking to you about work-related topics and doesn't bother to get to know you on a personal level, the chances are high when I say that they are using you to get information. Just because somebody is nice to you does not mean they want to be all "buddy-buddy" with you, and this person could care less about the things happening outside of your work life. Sadly, you'll learn the hard way about who really cares about you when you something drastic happens in your personal life and that "buddy" isn't there to check up on you.
If you get the feeling that your potential love interest does not give you the time of day to get to know you, drop him/her and move on. A serious dater would make known that he/she is serious about you by dropping obvious clues or signals that he/she likes you. Or even better, he/she will directly say what he/she is looking for when it comes to dating and relationships and won't waste either of your time.
If a friend says or does questionable things that make "red flags" fly, don't automatically turn around and run for the hills. Be cautious of future actions or spoken words from this friend, get to know them on a better level, and see if their flaws are worth tolerating (because c',mon, we all have flaws). I'll be honest when I say that there are some people that I have to distance myself from in order to keep the friendship at a healthy level because that's just life. After all, you aren't meant to be 100% compatible with every friend that you make. Sometimes, two people aren't meant to be as close, but can still maintain a civil, healthy relationship from afar - and why break a friendship when you don't have to? Don't dive into every friendship thinking that you can become BFF level with everybody, but definitely get a feel for chemistry and compatability and see if you can become closer without harming the friendship. If there's no or minimal harm done, then you've found yourself a good friend!
2. Keep the friends around who support your passion and goals, even if they aren't invested in the same interests.
It's all about work-life balance.
I may sound like an asshole for saying this, but there were days when I wondered, "If I have a good amount of blogger friends, why do I need to befriend individuals who don't blog?" However, I actually found it funny that a college friend shared similar thoughts and asked me why we may need friends outside of the workplace. And here's my answer...
First off, friendship isn't entirely based off of similar passions and interests. Yes, similar interests/passions and compatibility is a bonus when it comes to maintaining a long-term friendship, but it definitely is not a necessary part of the equation. Instead, friendship is based off of the amount of support, honesty, and time that a loving individual is willing to give to you. Even if that friend doesn't understand the basics of photography or owns a blog of his/her own, I would love this friend just the same as somebody who blogs for a living.
Essentially, if a friend opens up their heart to me and wholeheartedly respects me as an individual, this is what true friendship means to me - regardless of interests, ethnicity, gender, or religion.
Also, I wanted to point out that it's actually a good thing to socialize with friends outside of the workplace. Let's take a hypothetical example and say I only had blogger, photographer, videographer, and social media influencer friends. If this were the case, we would constantly be talking about work 24/7. Eventually, my mind would begin to shut down because there would be no "off" switch that turns off all conversation topics about work. Even if I don't bring up work in the conversation, there's a good chance that another person from this my work party will.
When you hang out with a friend who isn't from the same field as you, it automatically takes your mind off of work and allows you to experience peace of mind. You can chat about topics that are non-work related, and this will allow your mind and body to indulge in good ol' conversation. Plus, you can always learn more from people who are in different fields or share different hobbies. And who could say no to learning more in life? Sign me up!
3. Don't judge words; judge actions.
If you've ever read Gary Chapman's book "The 5 Love Languages", I discovered that my first way of expressing love is through "Words Of Affirmation". In other words, I love lifting my friends up with positivity and giving/receiving compliments make my heart feel all fuzzy and warm like that Teddy Bear Coat you've been eyeing on Nordstrom's website.
Now, can you imagine how hard it is to take my own damn advice when it goes against what (referring to "Words Of Affirmation") I love most? Hah. Anyways, I learned the hard way that as much as I want to trust people's words, it will only hurt me in the long run if they don't end up keeping their word. Trust words with a grain of salt, and learn to observe actions more.
So, if you are trying to figure out whether a friend or (potential) love interest cares about you, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Does this individual make time for me?
- Does this individual text/call/message me?
- Does this individual initiate conversations or hangouts?
- Does this individual ask you questions about your personal life?
If you answer "no" to more than one of these questions, you may want to reanalyze why you're so focused on this person in your life. A genuine friendship/relationship should evoke a natural flow of conversation and emotion, and you should never have to try hard to get this two-way street to work. If you find yourself struggling to make a friendship or relationship work when the other person isn't investing any effort, it's time to move on to better people.
4. Family will always care about you, no matter how inexpressive they may be with their feelings.
Don't get me wrong - I love my family with all of my heart, but we aren't the type of family who often dish out warm hugs or say "I love you" upon each meetup. It doesn't mean that we don't love each other - it just means that every family expresses love differently, and that's totally okay.
My family's dynamics of expressing love is shown through cooking and eating meals together or keeping in touch through family texts. Recently, the moment when I found out just how much my family cared about my well-being was when I shared a personal story on the blog not too long ago. Honestly, I didn't even have the balls to confront them about such a sensitive and raw topic, so of course, they found out through social media eventually. As soon as they found out, their overprotective family traits sprung into action immediately, which made me burst into tears upon interrogation. However, these were happy tears; tears that I couldn't hold back because of the love and warmth I felt from their care.
All in all, don't ever assume that your family doesn't love you if you don't hear or see obvious signs. It doesn't mean that they don't love you; sometimes, family may not be the best as expressing their love. No one's family is perfect (nor is anybody perfect), but don't forget to focus on the bigger, more positive picture. Count your blessings and appreciate what you have in front of you because when shit hits the fan, sometimes family will be the only solid foundation that you can count on during the toughest times in your life. Always be grateful, and always remember that family is the reason you're here in the first place.
I love you guys so much and thank you so much for the support and love that you continuously show Missmisschelle for the three years and counting that I've been blogging for! Honestly, I cannot wait for what 2018 has in store for all of us and I'm ready to hustle harder than I ever did before! Wishing you all a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve!