(Todd A. Smith)

The death of Shanquella Robinson is beyond tragic.

Robinson went on vacation with some of her so-called friends and never came home.

Those “friends” told her parents that Robinson died of alcohol poisoning.

However, the autopsy shows that Robinson suffered significant injuries like a broken neck while on the trip.

Additionally, an alleged video of a fight between Robinson and one of those “friends” has since gone viral.

In the video, a supposed male voice is urging Robinson to fight back, while people film the fight.

It seems that no one attempted to break up the fight.

As a journalist, I cannot condemn her so-called friends for her death because no one has been charged with a crime in her death let alone been convicted.

But I can say what many other people have said recently, and that is it is important to follow your gut when you decide who to be friends with and who to spend time with.

More importantly, people need to stop placing so much interest in their day one friends.

There is a line of thinking in the hood that people, who know they are headed for greatness, want to take their lifelong and childhood friends with them when they reach the pinnacle of success.

Therefore, you will often hear many celebrities talk about no new friends and bringing their childhood buddies along with them for the ride.

Many celebrities do this because they know their so-called day one friends were their friends before they had money and fame.

As a result, they know the friendship is genuine as opposed to the “friends” they meet when they have already found success, who might just want to ride in on their coattails.

But the truth of the matter is some of your “day one friends” have your back when you have nothing going for yourself because the fact that you have nothing makes them feel better about themselves and what they have.

However, when you go from nothing to something, often that hidden jealousy comes out.

For example, your so-called friends loved you when you had to take public transportation because you could not afford a vehicle.

Those “friends” might have even given you a ride on occasion.

But when your career takes off and you trade that bus pass in f0r a Benz, check out how those same people change in attitude towards you.

People need to get comfortable with spending time with family.

Although family members can do a person dirty like so-called friends, that blood relationship will never go away.

If a person gets into an altercation with someone outside of the family, they might no longer have a relationship with that person.

If the person gets into it with a family member and never speaks to that person again, that person is still family.

The love will be there regardless of the situation.

And that love should make it easier to mend those past wounds.

They also need to limit who is in their circle because if people cannot penetrate your circumference, they cannot cause much damage.

Therefore, people need to be leery of so-called friends anyway because their enemies will not pose as big a risk as those so-called friends because enemies usually cannot get close to a person anyway.

People are always on guard if they think someone is their “opp.”

But people tend to let their guard down around people they think have their best interest.

Therefore, so-called friends have more of an opportunity to cause real harm to a person than strangers.

Most importantly, people need to realize it is O.K. to outgrow certain people and certain situations.

I had some great friends throughout my life.

But some of those people represented a specific point in my life.

And like it or not, I am no longer at that point.

So, some of those people have become distant memories.

When I see them, it is all love.

But I have grown tremendously since the times we hung out in school or the neighborhood.

And no offense to them, but they might not like some of the black-tie events I go to now if their definition of a fun is just talking sh*t and swallowing spit all day.

And frankly, some of the people from my past would embarrass the-you-know-what out of me if I brought them along for the ride.

Moreover, some people in your life cannot be a part of all aspects of your life because God might not intend for them to come along for your blessings.

New friends can introduce you to new ideas and new connections that old friends cannot.

New friends can broaden your horizons and give you knowledge that takes you to an even higher level.

The problem for many is that they care too much about what others think of them.

They do not want people to say they forgot where they came from.

Also, they do not want people to say that they have changed.

But the great Muhammad Ali once said that if I am the same person I was 10-15 years ago then I have wasted 10-15 years of my life.

No athlete wants to stay on the freshman team their entire high school career.

Some of your friends were not good enough to make the varsity.

But do you stop your growth and development in sports because they do not possess the talent or work ethic that helped you get to the next level?

Absolutely not.

Instead, you just started hanging out with your new teammates who could keep up with your talent and skill.

Therefore, why would anyone stop going to the next level in life and business just because they had to leave some old acquaintances at the last stop?

It is your job to do what is best for you and what makes you happy, even if people from your past become envious of your progress.

In fact, if a person becomes envious of your success and your life, they were obviously never your friend in the first place.

Life will show you who your real friends are and who are your “opps.”

And if one cannot discern who their real friends are (because the warning signs will be there), it could lead to horrible consequences.

Unfortunately, Robinson probably did not follow her gut instincts when she got the warning signs about those alleged friends.

Todd A. Smith
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