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Your success should not rely on your best friend

Best friends are sometimes unexplainable to others — it’s almost like one day you were wandering around and you met your other half, and you both decided to never live without each other again. They are the best supporters, comedians, secret-keepers, sometimes the only people who truly understand you, and they are family.

With all of the fun and supportive things that come with best friends, however, I think that there can sometimes be an unrealistic request to bring them along with your success.

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I watched the James Brown Movie, and I personally didn’t think it was all that great, but one thing that I got out of it was that James Brown had questionable expectations of his best friend, Bobby Byrd. Brown wanted Byrd to be supportive, give his everything to the James Brown initiative, only take what James Brown gives and never try to establish anything for himself without James Brown’s permission. At one point in the movie, Byrd was asked why he didn’t stand up for himself, and it was because he believed James Brown was amazing, it was a privilege that Brown allowed him to tag along on his ride to greatness and that not everyone has what it takes to be a front man. 

One question I have for individuals who do try to hop on a friend’s personal success is, why is this a consideration in the first place? Is there a fear of not making it on your own? And if not, is there a fear that you will make it, but not as far as that friend? Or is it the fear of having to work hard, and face your dreams and goals on your own? Whatever it might be, we all have our own paths in life, and in order to find that path you must be true to who you are and where you wish to go. If you’re tagging along with someone, you’ll never get any further than that person or go anywhere else other than where they go.

It’s best to stick with your own agenda, though every once in a while a coalition does work — or so it seems.  Penn and Teller, two famous Las Vegas magicians who have been successful partners since 1975. While their show wouldn’t work if the other wasn’t present, it’s not because of a strong friendship. In an interview with the Telegraph, Teller describes their relationship off-stage.

“We are artistic and business partners, not primarily friends,” Teller says. “But we recognized how useful we were to each other. And that prevailed.” 

In the college environment, there are so many entrepreneurial ideas that come about and you always hear about plans and goals forming under the “let’s go in on this idea together” initiative. But you have to think about the details, like who’s idea it really is, and what could happen in the future if that idea takes off and leaves you in an awkward position of having no position or stake at all.

For example, the well-known Facebook page for CSU Confessions was started by a group of friends who, after the page gained a lot of momentum, got into a fight that caused one administrative member to break off and start CSU Confessions 2.0. That not only created a bit of confusion across their audience, but it also begged the question, who does the idea of CSU Confessions really belong to? Recently, however, they have reconciled their differences and reunited over one official confession page once again and reached a happy ending — for now.

Things change all the time, and it’s important to keep in mind that just because a partnership or group effort is going really well right now doesn’t necessarily mean it has a secure future.

So, it is possible to have these kinds of joint ventures, but a lot of time someone always steps out and does their own thing, chases their own dreams and goals, leaving a friend alone with nothing because they depended on the success of the joint effort. And sometimes, the bottom line is that it all comes down to is whether you want to lose a friend or lose yourself if you choose to embark on a partnership. Is the risk worth it, or should you just stick to pursuing your own dreams and supporting those of your best friend at the same time?

If you and your best friend have the same hobbies, make sure that you differentiate a hobby from a goal. Understand why you started and where you want to finish with whatever it may be, because it is easy to lose sight of the end goal which makes it easier to end up depending on someone else to take you to the other side when that might not be part of their individual plans. I don’t think that best friends do it intentionally, but that is how life is.

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An individual can’t always count on pushing their agenda along with someone else’s — support and dependency are two totally different things. If you support your friend, that is beautiful. To be able to encourage someone when they don’t think they can go any further, or to be there for someone regardless of the decisions they chose to make are wonderful qualities to have. But if you are depending on your friend, or they are depending on you, to get to a desirable and significant goal, that’s not usually a good road to go down. You need to find a dream of your own, and chase that dream with everything inside of you. 

By all means, be a supportive best friend, share hobbies and share in moments and events together, but establish goals and dreams for yourself that don’t rely on another person to become a reality.  The blame is only yours if you allow a friend or yourself to deny an opportunity to find your own path. At the end of the day, your success is your responsibility. 

Collegian Columnist Chynna Fayne can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @ChynnaFayne

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