This thing called friendship
There’s an African adage that says and I quote “twenty friends cannot play together for twenty years”. Well, what an elder sees while sitting down, a child cannot see that same thing and even more while standing on a tree. To clarify that adage, let us look at this thing called friendship as it is one of our core values at the Motherland.
Everybody sure has their various definitions and experiences of friendship so I did a brief survey ranging from almost all age grades to know what friendship means to them and these are the answers I got.
Some kindergarten students said a friend is someone who they always want to share their biscuits,sweets, packs of juice, snacks,food with. Someone who they always want to have play dates with, someone they want to sit next to in class, someone they always want to pull their hair.
To a couple of teenagers, a friend is someone who even if they do not choose to major in science or arts, still supports their interests, someone who has similar likes with, someone who takes strolls with them, someone who helps them out with chores, accompanies them on errands, takes a particular day every week for sleep overs, listens to you talk about the girl/boy you like, talk about how your siblings are getting on your nerves,talk about almost everything with.
To some adults including me, friendship is a mainstay, a safe place, a space of literally no judgement, freedom, intentionality, transparency, honesty, comfort. A place where you are being called out for the wrong steps you take, the wrong ways you acted, a place where every little and big win is strongly celebrated. A place where we cry with each other, hold each other’s hands and walk through whatever challenge at the moment because we share in one another’s pains and sorrows. A place where we plan trips and go on them together because that’s one of the ways we strengthen the bond we have.
A Friend to some baby boomers is a person that has been there in almost every stage of life, a person who has some connections that their children and grandchildren can benefit from. A person that keeps you company as life is coming to an end for them. A person that they can reminisce on some key life moments with.
With this brief survey conducted, we can see that there are some relative experiences of friendship to the different groups of people. To clarify the type of friendship they are all talking about, it’s true friendship; that kind where friendship is complete and whole.
For context purposes, there are four major kinds of love and relationships ; Philos, Eros, Storge and Agape. We will be talking more on Philos which is the type of love that usually exists in friendship. Don’t get me wrong, eros can also be found in friendship but primarily Philos is the friendship love. Before you call somebody your friend, they are first a stranger, then an acquaintance, classmate, colleague, neighbor, coworker etc. Do not in any way be pressured to be in any sort of friendship with anybody yet until you are satisfied and convinced that the person understands what friendship means. In other words, not everybody is your friend o.
Now let’s talk about what friendship means. Friendship is a bond that exist between two or more people that has the following fundamental characteristics; trust, enduring affection, respect, understanding, kindness, intimacy, security, loyalty and most importantly, love. There are 3 kinds of friendship; friendships of pleasure, friendships of utility, friendships of virtue and all of your types of friendship falls under these three be it best, close, work, casual friendship. Mind you, it is not wrong to make friends for different purposes meaning it is normal. This is because not every friend can serve every type of friendship to you.
A friendship of utility is one where your friend is useful to you; someone that helps you pick up stuff, fixes up stuff, basically a friend that can help out with almost anything for your comfort. A friendship of pleasure is one that exists between people who enjoy each other’s company in a fun way. The one that you trust to have a good time with in the club, in parties, game nights and the likes, one that you can travel with and be sure that you’ll have the most fun with, this is also where the term “friends with benefits” come up. A friendship of virtue is one that teaches you the things you do not know, one that pushes you to become a better person, one that magnifies your strengths and works on your weaknesses, one that inspires you to get things done, one that helps you grow and literally adds value to your life.
Since friendship is a form of relationship, it also means that it involves some level of commitment, devotion and efforts to make it work. Yes! Friendship is all about understanding. It’s about showing up for those people you call your friends at any time you can because you always want them to be good. It is about giving out your last dime because you want them to be okay, it is about staying up all night to keep them company while preparing for a test, it is about teasing them on their silliest and naughtiness actions. It’s about laughing at the stupidest inside jokes, it’s about them becoming family and their family becoming yours. Truth be told, even the foundation of love is true friendship.
Sometimes we get too caught up in our own pains that we forget to reach out to our friends, because at that point we too are going through a lot. Mind you, it doesn’t mean that they do not rate you less.. but at that moment we also need to understand that they’re also trying to be there for themselves especially when you know that this particular person has a track record of always showing up for you especially as we all know that life is happening to everybody almost at the same time.
I also believe that friendship can exist between the opposite sex contrary to what people think. I mean friendship, not “friends with benefits”. Friendship between the opposite sex does not always have to be sexual or get to that points. I believe we are all adults now and can make platonic friendship that motivates you to be a better person, gives you support, listens and pays attention to you without it having a sexual inclination.
There is also this thing with male friendships where they do not know how to express themselves to each other, do acts of service, give words of affirmation, give gifts to each other because apparently, culture has put a sort of bias on it as opposing to how female friendships are. So I think men need to be more expressive when it comes to their other male friendships because that’s one of the things that keep friendship going.
I’ll be wrapping up this article with a personal experience of friendship and I’ll It is possible for five friends play for twenty years. Growing up, I had these four friends. We practically grew up together and mind you, two out of us went to boarding schools. Everybody that knew us expected our friendship to separate but that was when we grew our friendship. We would take advantage of holidays. Spend them together in each other’s houses with each other’s families, go out as many times as possible creating memories that will last till the next holidays and even till now. We passed that stage and was time to proceed to the university, it required us relocating to different states of the country which was quite hard because we had literally done almost everything together. We tried to keep the communication flow as easy as possible, keep each other abreast about the happenings in our individual lives. There was a time, life happened and we had to be there for ourselves making us a little bit distant for a while but the distance couldn’t last because we grew to a point that we need each other in key areas of our lives. We took advantage of social media; doing group video and voice calls, planning trips and showing up for them because we know that somehow we need each other to survive. Twenty two years later, this friendship is still giving utility, pleasure and virtue.