Hey everyone! Welcome to the third entry in My Relationship Series. Over the last few weeks, I’ve talked about my relationship with God and family. I’m so excited about this one because we get to talk about friendship. Unfortunately, this post means we only have one post left in this series and I’ve had so much fun interacting and getting to hear from all of you. This might be a long read but please stick with me here.
It’s nice to have friends. People to talk to, people to do stuff with, people to hung out with etc. Back in school we learnt that a friend is someone you love and trust. I still use that to partially define friendships (I know) and I will say that friendship these days is very underrated. I really feel that we don’t give friendship the value it deserves and just go around calling everyone “friend”. This is probably why I don’t have a lot of friends and why this post was so hard to write.
I’ve had some interesting experiences with friends. Some good and some bad. Some friendships worked out and some didn’t. So, what do I start with? The good or the bad? I’m guessing you said “the bad” first so I’ll go with that.
I had a really small number of friends growing up and I mean when I was 13 and under. Most of my friends were my classmates so outside school, I didn’t have many. The few I had did some really scary things to me that some even started showing up in my nightmares! I’m not joking but I really wish I was.
Without getting into too much detail as usual, I will share about a few experiences I remember very clearly.
I remember one time, a friend came over for a sleep over at my parents house and she had a phone. I was really young then and I didn’t have a phone at the time. I was still in the single digits and she was a few years older than me. So she came with her “Zain” phone with a green cover. If you’re Zambian, you probably know Zain but if not, it’s a mobile service provider that also made really affordable phones. She came over for the week and was going back to her home on Sunday. We went to church on Sunday and her parents were picking her from there. We got to church and she discovered she forgot her phone at my parents house. So we agreed I would bring it the following Sunday.
The following Sunday came and when I saw her, I realised I had forgotten her phone and I told her that. She was with her cousins when I mentioned that and she said it was okay. I turned to walk away when I heard her cousins say bad stuff about me and my friend was just quiet and didn’t try to defend me or just shut them up. These were older girls. From that time, I just closed up and I never really talked to her anymore. I gave her the phone the next time I saw her and that was it. To me she wasn’t my friend anymore and our relationship ended because why would you let people say bad stuff about me in your presence or why would people be comfortable to say that around you? I understand they were her relatives but there was no need for all that. I was young but wise, if I do say so myself. I never invited anyone for a sleep over again until I was 18.
Another friend I “lost” was the one I started having nightmares about. I’m definitely not giving details here but that was a scary time for me. Thinking about it now still makes me uncomfortable. I was only 9 or 8 when all that was happening and it was too much for me. This is one person I have failed to completely cut off from my life but have managed to successfully avoid for years and I’m happy and content with that. Of course, said person noticed they were being avoided, but I didn’t care honestly. We still talk to this day lol.
The different experiences I’ve had with “friends” in the past made me avoid making friends and I just got used to being alone.
We have to be mindful of who we call “friend”. Not everyone should be your friend. You can get along with someone or just be acquaintances and that’s fine. One experience I had with a “friend” made me realise that as you grow older, your line of thought won’t be the same as the next person and this may lead to people “outgrowing” each other. People change and that’s part of life. There is absolutely no need to force friendships.
A more recent story now. I remember one time I was talking to someone I fell out with, trying to fix things and this person said I had changed and they were wondering if this was the same Wonani. They said it in a negative way, trying to make me feel guilty. My automatic response was to defend myself and say I hadn’t changed because I was trying so hard to show that I wasn’t the bad guy in our mess. But then it hit me and I thought, “I have changed.” And it was all good change. I wasn’t giving the person the same energy I used to when we would disagree, I had grown up and learnt more about myself so yes I had changed and there was nothing wrong with that.
It was after that statement that I realised that person and I couldn’t be friends anymore and all we had to do was say our apologies and move on without each other. There was absolutely no need for us to be friends or try to make the relationship work. That was it.
Not all my friendship stories are sad though and I’m not saying that I’ve been the good friend every time. I just chose to tell these because they bring out certain aspects of friendship I want to highlight. If you want to read about me being the bad guy in a friendship, you can go and read this post. Now, onto the good news.
My goal for my friendships this year was to make new friends and to be a better friend. This was going to be the year I stepped out of my bubble and actually tried to meet new people but that didn’t happen. Instead of making new friends, I strengthened my relationship with some friends I already have.
At the beginning of the year, my bestfriend and I had a couple of conversations regarding my poor friendship skills and since then, I’ve really tried to step up and do better and I believe I have. She doesn’t complain anymore so I’m thinking that’s a good sign or she just gave up.
I do my best to ensure that every friendship I form is a good one but obviously I can’t always get these things right. I understand that certain friendships were meant to only last for certain seasons and I’m so grateful for those. I’m even more grateful for those that I’ve had for years.
Also, I’m grateful for the patience that my friends continue to show. There’s more I’d like to do and to be for my friends but life just doesn’t allow that sometimes so I’m grateful for those who haven’t given up on me lol. I have a very small circle but it’s one I really appreciate.
With everything that I’ve written above, don’t underrate friendships. Don’t give them less value than they actually deserve. If you believe you are someone’s friend then actually be their friend. People shouldn’t feel comfortable telling you negative things or fueling rumors about your friends. If they do, then you need to look at yourself.
Some friendships are just for certain seasons and when that season comes to an end, be okay with them coming to an end. Friendship break ups are the worst but sometimes, things have to happen the way they do and so in as much as it hurts, we just learn to live with it. There are certain people I wish I could completely let go of but life just doesn’t allow for that and so I end up being reminded of things I would very much rather forget. So when you can, let go of toxic friendships.
Also, befriend the right people. People who won’t get mad at you because you changed and can’t be easily manipulated. People who won’t get mad when they see you actually making positive progress in your life. People who actually care for you and would stand up to defend you. People who will “guard your legacy jealously”. Find friends like that and be that friend too.
The topic on friendship is one I struggle to write and to talk about simply because I don’t have it figured out and probably never will. One thing I know for sure is in the same way any other relationship requires your time and effort, so does friendship. I understand we all get busy and but once in a while, I try to send my friends a text just so they know I think about them. I believe it goes a long way. Make sure you do that this week.
I have so much more to say but I should stop here for now. I didn’t make any new friends but over the years I have made some amazing friends. I’m learning to cherish all my friendships and really love them while I still have them. Make friends or work on your friendships and be the friend that you want your friends to be.
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.Proverbs 27:9 MSG
What has been your best and favourite experience with friends? Mine has to be the trips and adventures I went on last year. Let me know yours in the comments!
Thanks for reading!