This proverb was collected from a friend, who was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico and is 20 years old. The proverb “más vale solo que mal acompañado” translates into English literally as “it is better to be alone than in bad company.” It clearly comes from a place of experience, and it is about toxic people not being worth befriending just for the sake of having many friends.
Even though my friend had been hearing it all her life, specifically from her dad, she never really believed it. Like a lot of young kids, she believed that popularity was everything and surrounded herself with as many people as she could, even though some of them weren’t good for her. They were shallow and often mean, she says, which caused her to imitate that behavior as well just so she could “fit in.” However, when she left for college, all of those relationships immediately fell through. All her “friends” stopped talking to her, and it was hard for her to be alone at first, but her dad kept reminding her of that. She really got to know herself and learned to find peace on her own, and to be a better person. That saying has become really important to her, something that she constantly reminds herself, and she is very grateful to her dad for teaching her that lesson.
To me, this is also a very meaningful life lesson. I have also heard it since I was very young and I had very similar experiences to my friend’s. I think is a really powerful message that most of us forget as we let appearances and popularity define our behavior. Similarly to her, that reminder has gotten me through a lot and it has also made me learn to appreciate real friends, no matter how many of them I have.