Quotes like, “You find out who your friends are,” and, “you are what you run with,” are some of the sayings that echoed in my mind throughout my childhood. One of the wisest men I know, my father, said this to me at a fairly young age. It was a reminder to choose my friends wisely because, while you may be the most upstanding citizen in your community, if your friends knock over the local 7/11 and leave you behind to take the heat, then it’s probably not going to reflect well on your character or theirs. Now, of course, this is an extreme example, but the point is that one is guilty by association. Luckily, for the most part, I have had positive influences in my life from grade school to college, where I was lucky enough to find the brotherhood of Sigma Pi. Others, however, are not so lucky; some have a difficult time finding the group of friends that is right for them.
So the question is: how do you find the right place for you? How do you find the friends that will have your back and not stab you in it when you least expect it? In my opinion, there is no answer to this question. The only way you know is by sharing life’s experiences together. Experiences, whether good or bad, are what bring people together and in some cases what can tear people apart. The kinds of people you need in your life are the ones who won’t run away when things get bad. The good ones are those that will stand by your side through thick and thin. People that will raise you up when you are at your lowest, the people that will drive out to the middle of nowhere to pick you up at 4 A.M. because you can’t get a ride (cough cough Michael Ogburn), these are the kind of people that should matter, not the ones that make you drink until you can’t see or leave you at the bar because they met someone there. The kind of friendship each of us deserve are those like Scooby and Shaggy, Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp, or Woody and Buzz.
The moral of all this is: get rid of the guys or gals that have a negative impact on you and make others think you’re a bad guy because of their actions. Have the friends that tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. Make the friends that you don’t need to change for. Make the ones that love you no matter who you because these are the ones that you want standing up for you at your wedding and being the godparents of your kids. The true friends will be the ones that you want sitting next to you in a retirement home when you 90 years old, and you can turn to and say “Thanks for always being there for me.”
Through my experiences some of the friends I had before college and the brothers I have made in Sigma Pi are those positive influences, and they are now much more then friends. Many are family. Sigma Pi has united us in brotherhood and has been a great tool in making sure that the guys we are running with are a positive influence on each of us and the fraternity as a whole. I am proud to call many of these men my friends but honored to call them my brothers.
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell