I have met a number of people who say things to suggest that friends and friendships are simply…overrated.
They claim they don’t have friends and don’t need them anyway.
They tend to make several excuses to prove those points. They usually keep busy by focusing on themselves, their families, career, ministry, or one social cause or the other.
I’m talking about those who have been afflicted one way or the other by “supposed” friends. I know that is such a sad experience to have and it often prevents future friendships from budding.
In two of my previous posts, Friends, Friendships & Friendliness (2015) and TRUE FRIENDS MAKE A DIFFERENCE (2016), I think I have made a good case for the importance of having (the right kind of) friends.
I’m happy to say that I still hold on to those beliefs, and I’m yet to have an experience with a friend that has left a sore taste in my mouth (not that I want to).
Today, I’m thankful for the beautiful friends God has blessed me with.
The truth is that I’m not really good at making friends.
Let’s just say I’m a bit awkward in social gatherings. But the few friends that I’ve had and that stayed, are as beautiful as they make them.
My med school days are some of the best highlights of the friendships I’ve had. And I miss that.
Everything from get-togethers to sleep overs, to casual hangouts and being treated to restaurants or with take outs (the jolly days of Chinese and Subway 😰, thankfully our Naija also has KFC franchises all over the country), or just staying home to watch movies or play games or talk about life…which is my most favorite thing to do.😉
I have had friends who made my hair at no cost, took me shopping for groceries or paid for my fares out of their benevolence, when I was wanting financially.
I even had a friend who would make me meals and bring it over when I had nothing to eat; the same friend once babysat me all through the night when I was sick and did all the running around because I had to travel to another island for a VISA biometric capturing, the next day. What a huge relief it was for me.
Towards the end of my stay in SVG, I left the apartment I was living in. Two lovely ladies took me into theirs, housed and fed me for a couple of days. I’m not exaggerating when I say they literally doted on me throughout my stay. It was like being waited upon in a 5-star hotel, with room service. I had such a cozy experience.
From there I moved into another friend’s apartment and stayed with her until I eventually left the island. She also went the extra mile to take good care of me. I have been so blessed with such friends and I will always remember them for good.
I’m especially thankful for friends of the same faith. There’s nothing as wonderful as having sweet fellowship with your christian friends.
I belong to a Small Bible Study Group, made up of a few friends and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had in my christian walk. It’s such a privilege to study God’s word and discover some deep truths together. More so we hold each other accountable based on what we learn and our lives have been imparted remarkably.
Since returning to Nigeria, my friends have rallied around as much as time, distance and our schedules permit.
-My sweetheart, Funbex (who with her husband), hosted me in her lovely home (not minding our marital status difference 😄),
-My wonderful Wanimi, who went out of her way to help my family give me a befitting (surprise) welcome home party,
-My amiable Walopxy, one of my faithful girlfriends who has stayed all these years, checking on my wellbeing every now and then, because she’s caring like that. May the flames of our friendship burn for many years to come!
Drs. Bunmi and Ify, who made my experience at LUTH worthwhile in every way.
Derayo, our paths have divinely crossed again. Lord B, it’s a blessing to finally meet you.
And to, Ibksinging, Wiseguy, and Tdeemc, the gentlemen who on separate occasions, treated me to the Lagos hospitality.
Of course, Uncle B (my friend from jand😅) who paid me a visit in IB.
And to the others (Ayoigbala, Barrysome, Dr. DJ, Niyot) who have kept in touch, even though we’ve not visited…I appreciate you in every way.
For my friends in the Diaspora, Asholly, Ede et al, thank you for checking on me PRN. 😘
Thanks to you all for the all kindness you have shown to me.
What joy it is to have friends walking in purpose and committed to serving God all the days of their lives. That has been my TESTIMONY.
Let me just share a few nuggets with you from my little wealth of experience (I’m by no means a scholastic authority on this subject):
1. Friendship is NOT always about you.
Yes, we must never forget that. Sometimes we are too carried away by our own needs that we are often blind to the needs of others. Sadly, I’ve found myself making this particular mistake more times than I’d like to admit.
It is true that there are benefits to every friendship but if you make the friendship about you ALL the time, you’ll lose out eventually.
It’s not always about what you like, what you want, what you need…it’s about them too.
Selfishness is something that rips friendships apart more than distance or time. One good way to nip it in the bud is to pray for your friends and then check on them, especially when you feel they are acting detached because you don’t know what’s really going on behind the scenes.
It’s cheap emotional blackmail to whine and complain all the time that your friends don’t keep in touch, when you never bother to text, call or visit them either.
There was a time I accused a friend of forgetting to call me on my birthday, and guess what? The said friend had actually been on admission in a hospital. How selfish of me.
If you however have a friend that is only around when they are in need and soon disappears after, please run! run!! run!!!
2. Your FRIENDS are different from you, don’t try to change them.
I’m a chronic phlegmatic, cool as cucumber, hardly ruffled on the outside but acutely sensitive to the atmosphere around me.
Bottomline: I’m an INTROVERT with bold letters.
My point is, I’m wired differently from my next door neighbor, Sally Jones who seems all over the place, the typical extrovert, blasting music from dawn to dusk, laughing hysterically at anything and everything that seems funny, and lives for the FUN of it.
And that’s okay.
A good attempt at self discovery, will help you appreciate the intricate yet complementary differences seen in others.
I love to watch others have fun even when I’m not participating (or particularly enjoying it) and when it’s time to have my own kind of fun (books, animations, writing), which is boring to most of my friends anyway, I simply excuse myself.
It’s NOT okay for your friends to be anything but themselves when they are around you.
Now when it comes to values and principles that you live by (like integrity, honesty, diligence, discipline), ensure your friends have similar values.
If they don’t help to build you, please leave them.
3. When it HURTS, it’s alright to say so.
Here is one we often take for granted. Like any two smooth surfaces in motion experience friction, friends will occasionally rub off each other in ways that unintentionally hurt. The mistake we make is to keep such hurts inside until our hearts get scarred and the next best option is for us to drift apart.
Only God knows how many friends destined for greatness have been cut asunder by the seeds of bitterness.
I’m not suggesting that you go on nagging about every petty thing your friend does wrong, but you can learn how to communicate effectively when you’re not pleased about a situation.
Granted it might sting your friend at first (most friends assume they give their best), but a good friend will appreciate the feedback and you both can confront the issue and adjust accordingly .
By God’s grace, as I keep learning and becoming wiser, although I’m a long way from becoming the kind of friend I want (need) to be, I’ve certainly grown and my friendships have blossomed and gotten richer over the years.
Also remember that there are several categories of friends, old friends, new friends, special friends, casual friends, close friends, distant friends…no one size fits all.
Every friend is there for a reason and will be needed at one season of your life or the other; as the saying goes,
“A friend in need, is a friend indeed.”
Here are some biblical verses about friendships:
“Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” (MSG)
Proverbs 18:24 “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” (MSG)
“Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious-don’t get infected. (MSG)
“Better a nearby friend than a distant family.” (MSG)
“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.” (MSG)
“By yourself you are unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.” ( MSG)
To my many lovely friends, I say thank you for the beautiful experiences I’ve had. I do not take the bond between us for granted.
So what are you thankful for today?