When I reflect on the year 2011 to-date, it has been a rather turbulent year for me emotionally, psychologically, morally and financially; but I am glad that it has been this way because it has enabled me to reflect considerably about a wide range of issues; especially about friendships.
Some of my thoughts and opinions have already been articulated in pieces that I have written here on ‘OutTales around the Fire’ and the process of making these contributions, has been quite cathartic for me.
This year I have rekindled friendships and put to bed and consciously let go of a few supposed friendships. Therefore, my reflection in this piece is based on my take on friendships.
What does friendship mean to me? Well, it means mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual loyalty, mutual affection, mutual faithfulness, mutual effort, mutual responsiveness, mutual nurturing, mutual emotional intimacy, mutual emotional safety, mutual support, mutual honesty, mutual forgiveness, mutual devotion, feelings of mutual comfort; and being there for each other in the goods times and the bad times – for better and for worse.
I make friendship sounds like a marriage; though it is not a marriage, friendship to me is a ‘Bromance’. It does not mean that, like a lover and partner, I have to see the person all the time, have sex with the person or speak to them all the time; but instead I think about my friends a lot, and I consciously ensure that I stay in touch with them – Facebook, email, blackberry messenger, yahoo messenger and Skype have been very helpful for me to stay in touch with most of my friends.
I have emphasised the word ‘mutual’, because this is integral for me to acknowledge in my own mind, that someone is my friend or I am their friend; as opposed to categorising someone as a ‘social and personal acquaintance’ with whom I may occasionally roam together, have physical contact and perhaps have the odd fun moments, dancing at a club or party for example.
I have learnt to understand that people are different – some are introverts and some extroverts – and therefore I respond and reciprocate to overtures of friendship and maintain friendships differently; and in different ways with different people, whom I call my friends.
This year, based on my experiences, I am now consciously trying to keep hold of friends that I feel add value to my life, are genuine and I feel bless me by being my friend. These friends add value to my life, genuinely like me and are a blessing in my life. These friends have good virtues, are highly disciplined and when I am in contact with them, they have a positive impact on me; and I learn and grow. These friends for the most part, like my type of person (and will tell me when they think I am doing something wrong), challenge me constructively, they will go out of their ways to support me to succeed in life, in their own unique, big or little way. They are happy when I am happy, sad when I am sad, rejoice when I do and take me to the innermost part of their hearts. They are my real friends.
I have found that I have established who some of these friends are, when things have not been going well for me. Hopefully, I give in friendship what I expect from friendship.
On reflection, I have therefore deduced and concluded that for me, my acceptance and giving of my friendship is not unconditional. ‘Mutuality’ is integral for me to call someone my friend because there has to be a degree of meaningful emotional and or psychological and or spiritual and or physical reciprocity, affinity and balance in my social and personal exchanges with a person that I wish to call my friend; and that I wish to be their friend.
I also rely quite heavily on my six senses, intuition and instinct when deciding who is and who is not a genuine friend, as opposed to an acquaintance. I respond to peoples’ vibes based on my own interpretations of the person and my experience of the person. This I now understand is based on the lenses through which I see the world which are cognitive, emotional, spiritual, physical, contextual and communal.
Copyright © 2011 Paradox.