Squad Goal (skwäd/ɡōl) (noun) (plural noun: squad goals): an aspirational term for what you’d like your group of friends to be or accomplish.

You and your girls wear stylish outfits, complete with faces full of makeup and cute poses. All of a sudden, you’re “#SquadGoals.” Do you think you make an impact on others solely based off of your physical appearances? A true squad that elevates itself to be someone else’s standard of excellence is deeper than just how everyone looks together. 

“If we’re going to be a squad, we have to be like minded. We have to have knowledge of self. We have to support one another truthfully,” says Socorro Kenoly, a senior at Hampton University. “People don’t know what it means to be a real friend anymore. You need strong and selfless women in order to have a “squad.”

Showing up and looking good is cool, but what truly makes you and your girls goal-worthy? Here are three clear signs that your crew is either setting an example, or just faking the funk for the ‘gram:

1. Motivating Each Other Is Second Nature

How many of you have group chats full of gossip? How about those group chats full of screenshots from Instagram laughing at someone? If that sounds like your “Squad,” maybe you need to reevaluate who’s in it and consider what role you play. Are you the motivator or the instigator? Being the motivator is uplifting your girls and trying to get away from the negativity. Being the instigator labels you as the follower and you’re only matching the petty behavior of everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their tea they have to spill, but when that’s all you and your girls talk about, your friendship has no depth. Instead, you should aim to inspire.

2. You Want to Collect Passport Stamps Together

Hand stamps from clubs every weekend fade away—passport stamps are forever. Your squad should want to see the world, pack up the bags and be ready for a vacation. Yes, I know it is not always cheap to travel; however you should aspire to want to take trips (and not juse those Miami weekends, although those are a lot of fun!). Aspire to visit different countries and experience different cultures together. Try saving money for trips by spending less on handbags and shoes. It’s worth it!

3. You All Aim to Live a Drama-Free Life

Everyone has their issues, whether it’s relationships, family, finances, or school. However, your group of girls should be the ones you know you can turn to no matter what. Sharing your troubles with the group shouldn’t add to the issues in your life, it should be a relief. Having friends that envy you, or that want to be you, adds negativity to your space. Surround yourself with a crew that is there to hear your problems and to uplift you when you need them most. 

So, before you hashtag #SquadGoals under your next Instagram selfie with the girls, ask yourself, “Is this friendship really beneficial to me?” I’m not saying drop all your friends, but truly realize who’s real and who isn’t. It’ll all come to light sooner or later. Remember, in order to be goal-worthy, you should have goals of your own as well. Show us your squad on Instagram and don’t forget to tag #ESSENCESquad.

Asia Milia Ware is an ESSENCE College Ambassador

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