A couple of weeks ago, I was at a hangout with these two friends. One I had just been introduced too and the other had gone missing for a count four and half years. It was a reunion nonetheless, with the sole agenda of saying sorry and pleading to start afresh. Hours into our talks, my thoughts meandered into the horizon. Yes, there was plenty of laughter, roasted pork, and my favorite, kachumbari. I have to admit my weakness for nyanya, red onions, dhania, and hoho. Add a spike of chilies and the legendary avocado and I am good to go. The guys did their drink, as I caressed that bottle of coke like never before. I am always fascinated by the hourglass design.
Now, it is interesting when a friend assumes they know you so well, nothing can change. Funnier still when they are convinced that because you smile more often than the freezing temps of July make you frown, you are easy to handle. This is the situation I was handling. Another, in a different scenario even had the audacity to say, she was shocked by how people change. Come on now. I am not obligated to be the same person I was a second ago. That is why I can have plaited hair in the morning, unplait by noon and cut it short in the evening. I could easily spend the night in Mombasa, thanks to SGR and have breakfast in Nairobi. Times do change, nothing other than stone remains the same in life.
Digressing is my forte I know. Let me tell of this experience. Conversations were shared more between myself and the new party than with George, the returnee. From business to education, to religion politics and relationships, we covered them all. What came out clear, however, was that Mr. New here was all about growth and development. He kept challenging me to think further whenever I stated I could not do something for one reason or another. To him, the word CANNOT is sacred and should not just be uttered.
He even within a span of about two hours, got me to mind mapping. Now, I will admit, all this while, George was out cracking jokes and calling more revelers to the table. As a matter of fact, he had no idea what discussions we were having. Typical of him, but again, that is just the person that he is. Mr. New, on the other hand, gave me worth for my two hours than George will ever deliver in eons of hanging out together.
This got me wondering, who among the two is a friend. A couple of days and weeks later, Mr. New, (whose name I can barely recall – someone called this amnesia. But come on now, how many of us are as bad at recalling names of people and places?) has been calling checking on where I stand on the mind map progress while George calls asking if I care for a good laugh. Please, help me understand, who of the two is a good friend? How does one even define a good friend? Where do you get to cut the line and how thin is it? What is it that you look for in your friendships?
I will tell you of another experience. This is the one who is never wrong. She tends to know everything right and wrong under the sun. and what she feels she doesn’t know, she will learn from you. However, you, on the other hand, will learn nothing from her whatsoever. They will compliment your cooking, dressing, ideas, application of whatever in matters of life but they will never inspire you in even in a small way. Worst is when they compare you to their boyfriend’s achievements. Mmmhhhh, I am running my race and competing with no one. How now should I let one give me pressures just because she thinks their boyfriend should be doing better than me?
This person will never give you an invite to anything, never share an idea. They will even not tag you for church service. But will enjoy when you work your ass out to make them comfortable. And if you dare fail or take a step back, they say you have changed. That they no longer understand you. You see… I have no business being understood just for the sake of making you happy. Worse still if you expect me to stick around only because I need an extra friend.
I am sorry to say this, but I do not. I am just as fine when alone than in a crowd. I am ok in my own skin and do not need confirmation from anyone. And what life has taught me, you better have that one single friend or none at all than to have a crowd that takes from you. Happiness my friend comes from within. It is never about how many surround you. No. It is about you. If you are not happy within, nothing the rest of us mortals will do shall add any spark or glow to your life.
Friendship is meant to inspire. To uplift. To strengthen. A friend should be able to call a spade a spade and not a big spoon. They will let you laugh at your foolishness without being judgmental and still allow you to pick yourself up and start again. Friends will stand for what you believe in even in your absentia and not want to justify when they defend you. Friendship does not keep a bill for vengeance. They will teach you to trust and the art of forgiveness. They will not hide the truth from you, weighing the waters to see what side wins.
It is selfless. Built by passions, commitment, love beyond self and a need for greater good for all. I will tell you this my friends, if for a reason you are esteemed by your friends as the greatest in your group, it is time to move on. Not because they are not worth it, but when burn out hits, like it sometime will, you will find yourself alone. No one will have the tenacity to watch your back, because they all took from you. When you are alone are the strongest, then that becomes the beginning of your limits. It not about how good you are, but even the others should be able to stand for you at your weakest. Even the strong falter and they need a shoulder to cry on.
It is time to put your friendships on the weighing scale. Time to rethink the value they add to your life. Time to seek out those with your best interests at heart. Have you had that friend who never calls, texts or checks on you until they are hit with a need, or they desire a shoulder to cry on? Or the one who only wants you because you pull crowds and bring good tidings. Ask yourself, how many of your friends will even gift you if not on your birthday? Or sit with you because of your connections. Some stick around because of the favor in your life. While others joyride just so they can be associated with you for their own selfish gains.
Think hard, my friend. Then think again. Dr. Bitange Ndemo said that his phone stopped ringing when he lost his prestigious government position. Yes, that is the reality of life. You would rather have few friends who stand tall with you beyond brotherly love than a whole nation and yet loneliness is killing you inside. Love yourself some more and test the waters. Cut out the fakes and crowds and stick to the intimacy of only those who love you for the person that you are. That way, no baggage will drag you behind. You will shine like the star that you are.
Sieve out the chuff, then water the strong seed. It will give you fruit eventually.