“My friends are com­pletely dif­fer­ent from me”

Dig­i­tal en­tre­pre­neur Ashanti Ben­til-dhue, 28, made a con­scious ef­fort to switch up her so­cial cir­cle. Here’s why...

Women's Health Australia - - RELATIONSHIPS -

“Grow­ing up, my friends were all sim­i­lar to me in terms of cul­tural back­ground but not up­bring­ing. We all met at school when we were 12, and we’d go shop­ping or to the cin­ema, but I never made a ‘best friend’. I kept hop­ping be­tween dif­fer­ent so­cial cir­cles – I just felt too dif­fer­ent. When I moved away at 18, I picked a univer­sity far away from my fam­ily and [which] at­tracted ma­ture stu­dents. I made a con­scious ef­fort to get in­volved in the com­mu­nity and knocked on my neigh­bours’ doors to try to make friends. The peo­ple I met were a world away from those I’d grown up with and they were com­pletely dif­fer­ent from me, too. But the re­la­tion­ships I forged dur­ing that time are still some of the clos­est I have to­day.

I’m much more se­lec­tive about my so­cial cir­cle – I just don’t have time to waste on peo­ple who I don’t click with. I’m not both­ered about mu­tual in­ter­ests or as­pi­ra­tions, but it’s im­por­tant to me that there’s a sense of ease be­tween us. Over time, I’ve learnt that hon­esty, loy­alty and kind­ness are much more im­por­tant to me than a shared pas­sion for en­trepreneur­ship or travel. It’s easy to think that we’re just raised to be­have a cer­tain way or grav­i­tate to­wards a cer­tain type of per­son, but I’ve al­ways found that chal­leng­ing those norms can bring the most re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ences – and peo­ple – into your life.”

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