Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Friends and Friendships

Hello blogville (is it still called that or am I stale?lol) Lately I've been thinking about and assessing my friendships. I saw a quote somewhere that said 'friendship is not about who you've known the longest, it's about who came and never left your side'. I pondered this saying for several days and decided that it's mostly true.

I used to believe in the concept of one best friend. I'm very sentimental and emotional and when I call someone my friend, I invest a lot in the friendship emotionally. Unfortunately there are times when it seems my efforts or 'feelings' (almost sounds like I'm talking about the opposite sex) are not returned accordingly. I have come to realise it's not that these people don't like me, it's just that they see our friendship in a different light.

The bible talks about a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I reckon these are the friends who stay when you need them or the ones you can call on when you need them and you know they'll answer. They are those friends who you're not afraid to tell your innermost fears or secrets because you know they won't judge you. When you need counsel, they'll be there with the right one and when they don't have any counsel, they still listen to your ramblings, when you need a knock on the head, they can give you without being afraid. When you've done well, they're also there to rejoice with you. They can tell you the truth without blinking.

I have come to the position that not everyone is going to have that one best friend who is there through the years and knows all about you. If we do look closely though, we might be able to come up with a number of close friends who meet different needs in our lives and vice versa. If that's what we can get, then it's worth investing in the different relationships and keeping them going. Sometimes when I watch movies and see how some people have that one very close friend who is like family and knows everything about them like Oprah and Gail, I wonder what it would really be like to have that and then I realise those kind of relationships might exist but again might not be for everyone. They might also be easier to cultivate when people don't move away. These days though, it might be harder to cultivate such friendships with how much mobility we all have.

Over the years, I've watched how my mum has kept some friends. They might not see each other often but they're the same people she calls when she needs people to rally around her. They're there for her birthdays, her kids' weddings, same friends. What stands out is she didn't even meet some of these people till she was in her 30s but they have remained friends for about 30 years. They've watched each other give birth to their children, celebrated milestones together, sadly stood by some when they lost their husbands, now they're celebrating grandchildren together and many other things. My hubby and I then came to a conclusion that we haven't necessarily forged all our close friendships yet and that one could make the mistake of thinking one's life has already been lived when it's just starting actually. I'm keeping my mind open and seeing which of my present friendships or even new ones will make it into the future. I definitely want to have people to call on when I need them in the future.

In the past few years, I've met some amazing people who have been there for me in my dark times and in my good times. I want to take them with me to the future and I'm open to what God brings my way in terms of friendships. Sometimes it's as though I'm quite alone in this city where I live. I haven't lived here long enough anyway.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on friendships and learn a thing or two :)


Good Naija Girl said...

This is definitely a thought-provoking post. Like you I used to believe in the concept of only one best friend but I don't know if that works for everyone.

It's hard when a friendship that I thought would last "for life" fizzles...but I started reminding myself that only God knows how long that friendship was supposed to last: maybe I've given the other person what they needed or maybe I've gotten what I needed from the friendship so this is why things are not as they used to be.

At the same time, friendships take work to maintain, and good communication and understanding on both sides is needed. As we get older, it's hard for both parties to invest the same amount of time and energy in the friendship...at the same time. Sometimes one person is investing more time or energy in the friendship and then things switch and the other person is doing most of the work...as long as it switches from time to time I think it's ok. This is especially true when you go from single women to one getting married (my particular situation): all of a sudden the married friend might have more obligations than she used to. Or when one friend gets pregnant, again this might change the friendship dynamics. But then once her child is a little older and less dependent on her, she may have more free time but by then maybe I'll have entered the baby years...so it's a juggling act: juggling the family and the friendship!

Since reading your post yesterday it occurred to me that maybe by prolonging friendships that have run their course, I'm preventing myself from entering a new friendship that will actually help me develop into the woman I'm supposed to be.

Anyway, I think that distance can definitely affect a relationship, but not as much as being in different stages of life. With good communication you can fix an ailing friendship, or at least know if it's time to call it quits. One also has to be open to the fact that the friendship might change and not be the exact same type of friendship it was back in those single days, but it can be just as fulfilling.

Sorry my comments are all over the place!

sosexy said...

Cultivating frienships, the real one, I would say, takes forever to build and like you rightly opined, It's never too late to build long lasting friendship.. I love your post..

Jide Salu said...

Hmmmnn, deep stuff. To be honest with you, I am not the best at keeping friends. I don't even have the near perfect skills of staying in touch. but guess what, any time I have the hunch to get in touch I just do. The ones that have a slight dig and get on with where we left of, it may be 4 weeks or even a year, are the true friends. Those that reply with an attitude are never who you call friends, more like acquaintances. My tip, don't attach too high a degree of importance on expectations from friends, if not, you would have emotional scars that may never heal. take friends as they are, like water, it must find its level. I hope this helps WriteFreak.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Good friends are a blessing from God and I'm glad God is filling you wih wisdom regarding this issue. I've learnt something major reading this post. That I shouldn't live a closed life and feel as if I've made all the friends I'll ever make. Your mum making friends at 30 is an eye opener.

All I'll say is just keep being you. Be honest to yourself and others. I can't believe I'm typing all this cos I had a major friendship letdown about 2 months ago. I'm emotional and all that as well and I thought I'd never recover but God is faithful and just and has surrounded me with so many people that wish me well. I LOVE Oprah and Gail's friendship as well. I've thought several times how I would love to just talk to Oprah about her friendship with Gail. I still pray I get the opportunity to.

Much love.

Uzezi said...

Thought provoking. I typed my thoughts on this and deleted it. I have never given this a deep thought, but I do know that I am a person who values friendship. This post will make me think deeply, I'm sure.

MsJB said...

I can truly relate with this post. I tend to do like you too, put so much into friendships that when they betray it, it really hurts. I recently had a series of events that made me sit down and evaluate mine myself. I sure have my fair share of "friends that stick closer than a brother" and I can say it is pure bliss. I call friends that stay true blessings. I know what it means to have those friends that will always have your back. One should never neglect their importance. It is an essential part.

Now ffg!