Friendship really isn’t a walk in the park. It is something tasking; something that requires an investment: an investment of time, money, energy, wisdom and everything good.
But friendship has benefits. Oh yes, it does. It is a thing of joy to have someone you can depend on, someone you can count on, and someone you can confide in; someone that accepts you, pretentious or unpretentious.
There are friend makers and there are friend keepers. I am a friend maker. A friend maker is someone who can easily make friends, and people get easily attracted to them. A friend keeper, however, is a person who will do all it takes and put in the work to see that the friendship sees the light of day. They will invest themselves in the friendship; their time, their energy. They hardly ever get offended if the other person isn’t responding as usual, they initiate conversations and sustain influence on the object of friendship. Even when the friend in question has forgotten they were ever friends, they still regard the friendship in high esteem.
I meet great people everyday. Really privileged to, but am I able to keep them? I’m wondering.
Sometimes my friends get disappointed in me. They want me there, but I’m often too busy to be there. “Busy doing what?”, you might want to ask. Oh well, good things: ministry, solving problems, forging ahead in life and in most cases, making new friends. Making new friends? He who comes to me I will in no wise cast away. Oh yes!
I have observed something about friendship. It is not a two-way thing as most people think it is. Many come to me saying they felt abandoned by a particular person, sometimes me. For that reason, they in turn have decided to delete that friend from their life. I do not agree with that principle. I totally disagree. I’ll tell you why.
You see, I think it is possible for John’s best friend to be Peter, and Peter’s best friend to be Charles. Peter’s best friend doesn’t always have to be John. In clearer terms, you might be my best friend and I might not be your best friend.
At this point, you may have forgotten who a friend is. Take a minute and think about who a friend is to you. What makes you address someone as your friend? Once you have answered that question, you’ll be at peace.
Of all friendships, I love the professional kind: the kind you make in the line of duty. No expectations, just persons becoming aware of what needs to be done and doing it. Disappointments logically come from unfulfilled expectations. But is it possible to have friends without expectations? For a short time, yes. For long-term friendships, one really needs to be highly disciplined: in words, in thoughts, in emotions. You don’t want to say the right thing to the wrong person. Discipline. That’s the key word for friendship. Know who your friend is.
I believe friendship is about what we give not what we get. Ah! Chi my fresh doctor friend. I have been friends with her for 7 years now and we are so cool, it bothers me if the friendship is real. Of course it is! We could stay for months without talking, but when we do, we do! We are cool like that, as we like to say. Each one is doing their own thing and when we both have time to catch up on each other, we do. We enjoy the time together, and pray for another opportunity to do so again. No worry, no sorry, no hurry. That is a friendship. Giving is a good thing. Getting is also good. But if you give just to get, or wait to get before you give, then, in my estimation, you are not a friend. You are a businessman!
I like this quote, “I believe that if you want it, do it. Do it for you, not for the friend. Do it because you want to, not because you have to. Do it because you love to, and can. Do it, even though the other friend wouldn’t.” I think that quote is actually mine.
Not everyone that is friendly to you is your friend. You must understand that. Remember that these personal principles I share are to enable you lead a peaceful life in relation to your friends. Not for them, but for you and your peace. You must understand that certain persons, like your leaders could be very friendly to you because they want you to feel comfortable or want to support you in the work you do, by way of encouragement. That shouldn’t cause you to assume that you have automatically made it to his permanent time table. Still, that in no way means that you will be sent away if there is a genuine need at hand. The only time you will question that friendship is when your needs are not met.
Caution: I have, in order not to always apologize for being a bad friend, an attitude as though I don’t care, I have decided to properly define my friendships and not start anything I cannot finish. When someone sees you as a friend and you seem not to care, or have not been able to give flesh to your care I.e. make a physical tangible representation of your purposed care, you leave a heart broken. I’m sure you don’t want to do that.
A friend will change you. Ike Amadi is blunt but caring. Strict and at the same time sweet. Don’t ask for my view on a matter if you don’t expect the truth. I can hardly condone some things like gossip, or gossip news, I don’t see how that reflects upon my destiny, so I avoid it like the plague. If anyone in my friend list loves gossip news and gets turned or tuned down three or more times, that person would obviously bear it in mind that Ike does not like such gist, and with time, either take his trade elsewhere or change his gist sources. Little wonder, my friend said, “a friend will change us for the better if we let them.” This change happens unconsciously, but can equally be yielded to or resisted.
A friend of mine, an amazing friend of mine once sent me a text all the way from across the world, “Ike, how are you? I found myself thinking about some stuff I learnt from you that I am applying in the real world.” What humbling text. Enough to give one a career push. I didn’t take it at face value, upon quizzing further, I observed that it was my ability to always separate the truth from the heap of stories an individual presented me. Whether a gift, whether a skill, I had it, and used it often. It rubbed off on him, and was useful to him when I was not close. Such is the influence of friendship.
The life-blood of a friendship is communication. Just the same way the life blood of a marriage is communication. By communication, I don’t mean ‘often’ but ‘effective’. I don’t mean ‘speech’, as much as I mean, ‘understanding’. Not much ‘volume’ but ‘perception’. A friend once sent me this touching quote, “we are closer than lovers. We talk.” I had to stop and think about how effective my ‘talk’ with my lover was. Where I found it wanting, I sped it up. I didn’t want to just be a lover, I wanted to be a friend too. In fact, I wanted to be closer than a lover. If talking was going to cause that to happen, then I better start talking with her. Yes!
Marriage is long-term friendship, they say. And that every marriage must start as friendship. I believe they mean modern marriages, as our fore-fathers married pretty young ladies that were never their friends, up until they were happily married. But I would not counter the supposition that marriage is essentially a type of friendship. I support it.
Marriage should be fun, stress-free. It would be if everyone plays their part. And having thought deeply about friendship, and having understood that I am much of a friend maker, an occasional wind to revive the fire, I have decided that I’ll need a friend-keeper for wife.
Well, every man needs a friend-keeper for wife. A wife is a home-maker. And while the man nurses the pain of business, the woman overcomes the challenges of home-making. Sometimes, it is the other way round, which is fine too. Like I earlier said, depends on which model works for you.
If marriage is founded on friendship, then we must not enter it for what we can get, but for what we can give. We should not be afraid or be in a hurry to change the other party, but must be ourselves for they will eventually change or be modified. We too will be.
We must seek to understand what type of person our friend is, whether a keeper or a maker. Once we are convinced the person is genuine, we must not allow temporal unfulfilled expectations cloud our judgment of the eternal worth of that friend.
Do you still want to be my friend?