I became friends with my best friend when we were 13. Now I’m 23 and when I look back I can see everything that I’ve learned from our friendship. Besides the happy and crazy times, there were rough patches—fights and moments when we didn’t want to see each other. But every time there was a rocky bit, we worked through it, and came out stronger than ever. Even though my bestie and I are so close, we’re very different people. I was more outgoing, and she was more shy. I had a larger circle of friends, she had a smaller group of very close ones. But our differences made our friendship deeper: We understand each other’s feelings and weirdnesses. Here are ten things I’ve learned in our decade of friendship

Loving someone else takes work, but it’s worth it

My bestie and I are as close as sisters, but the fact that we are different meant that we had to work at our relationship. Friendship, like being in a relationship, require work. But it’s so, so worth it. You have to learn how to accept and love your friend on their own terms, as well as yours.

Making time for each other really matters

My friend is a busy person; we all are. But she makes time for my special moments, and is always there for me. And likewise, I make time for her, even when life is chaos. Even when we aren’t at our best, the simple act of showing up for each other really means something.

Comforting is as important as offering a solution

had to learn to be comforting and loving when my friend was going through a crisis, or she was in pain. Sometimes our instinct is to push forward through the crisis, to try to fix it. But actually, it’s just as important to just listen and comfort and be there for someone. Sure, it’s awkward at times. But it’s good just to feel through things.

Jealousy is natural, but it has no place in friendship

Sometimes when I see my friend getting better at me than something, or getting a lot of attention, I feel a sneaking sense of envy. But years of friendship with my bestie have taught me that jealousy is natural, but it’s not that useful. If I have it, I can always talk it out with her. And otherwise, I can figure out a way to be happy with her and rejoice in her accomplishments.

You can be inspired by everyday things

There are going to be moments in life when you just aren’t feeling it, when you need a life cheerleader. My bestie is always there to give me a pep talk, and to point out ordinary things that I can be motivated by. I believe in her, and she believes in me.

Change is good

Over ten years of our friendship, we’ve seen each other change a lot. Our bodies have changes, our beliefs have changed, and our interests have changed, too. But being friends means growing together in order to accommodate new things. Friendship can change us for the better and I am grateful that my friend was wise and brave to tell me those things that made me change.

With a real friend, you can always be yourself.

I never had to fake it when I was with my friend, in the bad moments and in the good ones. We knew each other’s temperaments, and what we look like laughing our butts off and sobbing outrageously. My friend and I were free to express ourselves to each other, and that helped me to be free even when I was with other people too.

Friendship can teach you confidence

When I was growing up, I was never that magnetic, popular girl with a string of boyfriends, and neither was my friend (Hats off to you if you were!) But we learned, through trial and error, to inspire confidence in each other. When my friend was shy about going to the pool because she had to wear a swimsuit in public, I told her how amazing and beautiful she is. When I was insecure about a big assignment, she talked me up until I felt like I could conquer it. Together, we helped each other gain confidence.

Fighting is OK in a friendship

There were moments in our friendship that were not the best. That’s normal: Ten years of friendship without disagreeing on anything is a hard feat to accomplish. But fighting with my bestie taught me how to fight: How to compromise and talk things through. Those hard times made me better, stronger and smarter.

Life moves fast, so you better enjoy it

Sometimes things at my house were tough: My love life was a mess, and my career path had me stressed. But having my bestie around to take the stress off by seeing a silly movie or just talking a walk around the block meant everything to me. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s wrong and not see how much right is in your life.Omaira Velazquez was born in Texas but raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She grew up writing poetry from things that inspired her day to day. She also loves playing guitar and singing. [Image courtesy CBS]