but one of my photography buds suggested i grab my first speedlight
to start practicing with. what should i do because i do need a flash
but id rather have my lens, what do you as photographers suggest?
Have a look at the video below (hopefully the link works), In my opinion if you already have a lens you are happy with I would go for the flash unit. My first purchase after the camera / kit lens was a flash unit and I don't regret my decision as I have learnt how to use it in so many more applications than just in low light and I have found it has added so much more to my photos then having an addition lens and no flash, also off camera flash is great fun!
I prefer actual lighting as well. I have two flashes: SB-800 and SB-400. Since a majority of my images are made while traveling, I carry the SB-400 'cause it is so small and I usually only want fill flash. I dial it down (generally -0.3 or -0.7). I took this one at the Photowalk in Old New Castle at -0.7 on the flash (D300, aperture priority, Nikkor 17-55 @ 44mm, 1/60s, f/9.0, ISO200). Not the best shot but great example of how versatile the SB-400 can be.