Find Your Roots: What Nature Teaches You About The Company You Keep

by Ryann Graham

Does anyone else find it increasingly difficult to keep up with people? Or to even want to, for that matter?

I mean, if you would have asked me about my friends five years ago, I could have given you an ungodly amount of information about all 50 of my “closest friends.”

Don’t get me wrong; I know general things about most of the people in my life. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s okay to not be "best friends" with everyone. It’s even made me happier.

Let me explain: In my senior year of college, I took the “no new friends” approach. I kept my circle small, and I cut all the bullsh*t out of my life. I dropped people left and right.

It sucked.

I hated feeling like I was the last “good” person in the world, and like the world was against me.

In this state, I had to change my perspective about how people behaved. I had to stop being the victim and had to begin to realize that people have lives, and I have no right to stop them from living.

I heard an analogy about friendship in the strangest of places: a Tyler Perry movie.

It sounds weird, but his thoughts about the people we surround ourselves with were profound. Essentially, there are three types of people in our lives: leaves, branches and roots.

Just go with me here.

Imagine yourself as a tree: You are the trunk and the other parts are extensions of you, much like the friends and the company we keep.


Leaves are those friends we have who are all over the place. These are the classmates we share notes with, the coworkers we complain about our managers to, that guy on the fifth floor, Jerry. Or is it Jim?

You get the gist.

Leaves are the people in our lives we like and can have a good time with. Leaves can make us (the tree) look healthy and happy. They are always there when the sun is shining, and can really boost our self-esteem.

Unfortunately, leaves are also those friends who can’t handle a storm. And when we get into the winter lulls of our lives, the leaves are pretty much gone. People are in our lives for different reasons, and some are only there for a season.

This doesn’t mean they’re bad people. It just means the chapter has come to a close, and it is time to move on to another season of life.


Branches are the friends you have who are always by your side. Some people have so many branches, it looks like the cast of "Bad Blood." Others only have a few sturdy branches.

Be careful with the branches, though. One minute they are on the right, and then the wind blows and they are moving to the left. Friends like these care about you only as long as something better doesn’t come along.

Friends like these are great, and honestly, a lot of them will last a lifetime. However, there will be days when the branch will almost break under the pressure.

Some will break off and leave scars.

It’s all a part of life, and it helps us grow and learn.


These are the people in our lives who are more like family than friends. They don’t knock when they come over. They call when they don’t need anything, just to see what you’re doing.

They keep you grounded. They are your roots.

These friends aren’t always visible to everyone around you, but you know you always have them. You know they’ll never let you down. I’d trade in all my branches and leaves for a few solid roots any day.

When you have them, make sure to take care of them, because you need them to survive.

We meet so many people in our lives that it’s hard to sift through the people who really matter. All of these people are in our lives to teach us something. Some of them just happen to stick around for longer than a season.

Your roots will last a lifetime. Find your roots.