"Judgment Free" Friendship.

Good friends are necessary, core friends are key, and judgment free friends are vital. There is something to be said about a friendship without restrictions. A friendship in which you can be yourself, whole-heartedly, and share your deepest darkest secrets. A friend who encourages you to talk it out rather than harbor feelings that can be toxic and inevitably harmful. And most importantly, a friend who you can tell the most embarrassing or difficult things to and know that they won’t react without actually thinking about it first. It's the type of friendship where your friend says to you "oh, i'm not judging you...I'm just trying to understand."...

I’ve always said that you are the company you keep and that you need to choose your friends wisely. You want friends who empower you, encourage you, and most importantly, friends who stick by you even when you find yourself in a difficult situation. And if you ever find yourself in that situation, you can trust that your friend is going to be there for you, without judgment, and ready to give it to you straight. When they do, you'll know they have your best interest at heart (even if you don't realize it yet) and will be brutally honest. What good is a friendship with dishonesty, one that casts judgment on everything you do, and one that can't be strong enough to know they can raise issues even if it will result in tears?

Just because your friendship takes a toll from time-to-time as a direct result of having a judgment free relationship doesn’t mean it’s neither a good friendship nor an unhealthy one. In fact, it means it is the most honest friendship you’ll have. We all need that friend who accepts us for who we are (one hand on a glass of wine, the other holding a pizza, and a plate of nachos and viva puffs next in line...), but also has limits to the amount of nonsense we can pull. That’s when you need that friend the most, when you’re looking for validation or someone to tell you it’s okay when in fact you need the opposite, someone to tell you they love you but what you did or are doing is wrong. Choose not to listen and expect for them to say "I told you so". A friendship without judgment doesn't come easily and it doesn't come without a price. These friends know us well, sometimes better than we know ourselves and can see sooner than we can when we are straying from our true selves or compromising principles that we hold dear. We must thank them for 'slapping us in the face' to wake us up every now and again.

Whether you think they’re being mean or constantly being hard on you, the truth is that a true judgment free friendship doesn’t come easy. It requires trust, respect, support, and a lot of love. You earn those friendships (blood, sweat, and tears), you create bonds, and you maintain a promise that 'friends never lie' (Oh, Stranger Things…). But take those hard earned friendships for granted and you'll be left with nothing but a memory of the one friend who once protected you most - a hefty price to pay if you ask me! This is why it's important to appreciate friendships that are based on unconditional love and mutual respect. Life is too short to focus on the superficial! So bring on the difficult conversations and conflicting opinions, we're all better for it afterward.

So, remember to keep judgment free friends around you because they'll always be the ones to:

1. Give honest and non-sugar coated advice because they know you at your core; 2. Have difficult conversations with you when you need it most;

3. Never measure your friendship based on things, money, looks etc;

4. Love you for who you are; and, 5. Create a trust so that you always have someone to turn to.

Ultimately, we will all make eyebrow raising decisions that can lead us to many sleepless nights and days filled with self-judgment. A friend shouldn't add to the weight of the world already on your shoulders, they should be there to support you and to speak the truth when you need it most...and to be done in a judgment free manner.

Thanks to my Jococo for taking photos with me. Blessed to have met her (side-eye looks and all) five years ago.

Wearing: Boots by Aldo, Jeans by American Eagle, Shirt by Aritzia, Earrings from Forever 21, Bag by Gucci, and Jacket by Massimo Dutti.

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