How are you?
I hope you are enjoying a beautiful and blessed summer.
The idea of friendship is almost as old as time.
Whether we call them acquaintances, soulmates, close friends, best friends, or siblings, the basic concept of friendship is broadly defined with a central theme – a safe ship. We expect comfort, loyalty, safety, care, trust, compassion, and honesty.
People who are unwilling to commit to friendships or be open to friends are often seen to have trust issues. However, they just might not feel psychologically safe to commit themselves to such friendships. Vulnerability is a risky adventure with humans. This could be why people build walls to keep others out; however, the same walls you erect also fence you in.
Yet, friendship is an essential human need – the need for companionship and social acceptance. A sense of belonging and safety with your tribe.
I have been blessed with great friends- classmates and colleagues who became friends, fellow believers who became sisters. Sieved through the mesh of time, geographical distance, frictions, realities of life, personal ambitions, and marriages, our friendships have morphed into a formidable family bond. All my friends are just a call away – sacrificing their time, resources, and convenience to nourish the relationships.
Knock knock knock
I looked through the security hole to verify the person at the door. The gentleman had a parcel for me but I had ordered nothing. The parcel came from a friend 39.5hours drive away. It was a bath kit and a beautiful card: “I just need you to relax amidst this stress”
It was a very sweet and thoughtful gesture.
But that was a start.
More parcels came in from different corners of the earth. Truthfully, there are items I never bought for myself. Two things that readily come to mind are wristwatches and wines. Beyond physical items, I’ve got friends heavily invested in my aspirations and pursuits.
“If you need me to help you draft this, just say the word, whenever”… “I’m sending a referral for this. I’ll take it up”… “dress up, I’m taking you for drive”… “bring your hands, let’s pray”…. “Girl, I saw this and thought it’d look good on you”
The receiving end of benevolence is where many people prefer to be. However, like the Holy Book says “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. Friendships are sustained with mutuality. I have also seen people disdain their cycles because they can’t yet ‘ball’ them like they see some other cycles so.
Time. Work. Respect
Give it time.
Everything good requires an investment of time. I smile whenever I see influencers post tweets like “do you have friends that can raise you xyz if you’re in need?” and observe young people castigating their friends because they don’t have such people in their cycles. You see, you are also in that cycle and cannot afford to support any of your friends in that regard. You need to be patient with time and cultivating your friendships. If what you have now is a bottle of water or a word of encouragement, show up. As an undergraduate, my friends and I did not have much. However, we had each other and ensured that our resources and brains went round. We studied together, held group discussions, and ensured that the concepts were well understood by everyone in the cycle before the exam. Should anybody have a resit, we returned to campus to study with them and pray for them. It’s called support.
Idle time is nonsense and there is no patience without the requisite work. Don’t let go of your aspirations and plans. Reach out and reach up. You need to be built to remain valuable to the people around you. Don’t lose your mind to indulgence and vices. Friendships are healthier when people are headed in the same direction.
You know how people love folks who fly in from different nations and shut down their friend’s wedding. Yeah, it takes money and influence to show up. You need to show up. Life could happen to one of your friends and the rest of you need to rally round the weak soldier to raise him back to his feet. If your circle is sloppy, it’s time to call a ‘family meeting’.
Respect yourself and your friends.
Even when you have a fall out, don’t be myopic enough to go about disclosing the beautiful private moments you shared and the things they told you in trust. Don’t let your ego sabotage your friendships. Extend grace to your friends, forgive their weaknesses. People are perfectly imperfect. If you have chosen your friends based on values, then it’s easy to see the good in the person and forgive their frailties. Don’t disrespect your friends on such social media comments because they can’t afford to take you to the moon.
Having done all things noble and moral, respect yourself enough to excuse yourself when a friendship becomes unhealthy and beyond repair.