Today is June 6th, just another day you may think, but one worth taking a stroll down memory lane. As my first friend in life marks her birthday today, I cannot help but remember all things friendships. Interestingly, we met in our mother’s wombs as they sat close to each other chatting away for the most part of nine months. While our mothers hung out, we little fetuses developed our own unique chemistry. She came out one month before me and gained seniority bragging right. I can imagine that she came over to say hello as soon as I arrived. I have made so many more friends since that encounter in the early 80’s and as I grew up, my family moved around a lot because of Dad’s job; which means I had to make new friends at least every three years. I stayed in touch with some and lost some along the way. I guess you can blame it on time, distance and maybe just my unwillingness to expend the required energy. Alexa and I stayed close and regardless of distance, we always found a way of reconnecting and playing catch up.
Fast forward to Present day, as my family and I transitioned into a new city, we received some friendship referrals from our dear friends and family. While I appreciated the kind gesture, I found myself responding to one of my dear friends with words that conveyed that, as much as I will love to inherit your friends, I prefer my friendships ‘Organic’. She is a fighter and since she felt strongly about it, she made her case, I agreed to take the number with my own set of terms and conditions.
The thing about friendship by referral is that most times, they tend to be like genetically modified foods (GMO). They inherit the genetics of the founding relationship, creating an unconscious expectation that if you are a friend of my friend then you must be like my friend in most ways. Sometimes, GMO friends assume a closeness that has not yet materialized. Trust is often assumed and the relationship skips the test and trials that strengthen the bonds of a true and lasting friendship.
I am not opposed to meeting people through people but I prefer to follow up each encounter with close observance before opening up my world to new people, letting things take a natural flow. After all, you can’t go wrong with slow and steady. When things are rushed, it could lead to broken trust and create a situation that rocks even the founding relationship.
Organic friendships on the other hand, evolve and take baby steps because friendship that last is built over a period of getting to know each other, testing boundaries, and gaining trust over time. People make friends for all sorts of reasons – character, religion, political affiliation, tribe, physical appearance, fashion sense, popularity, wealth, and status. Even having a certain type of accent will easily make this list. Just imagine with me for a second that the ability to speak with a British or American accent can bring with it a certain type of audience, quite amusing I must say. My personal take on making friends is that you start by looking out for people who think like you and share your values, remember only birds of the same feather flock together. Then you would need to put in the time and energy to grow and build because relationships like every other thing in life requires effort. I find that if you invest in relationships, you can be sure that you have an emotional bank somewhere that you can rely on in certain seasons of life.
Recently, I read that you are the average of the five people that you call your friends. If this is true, then you need to ensure your circle keeps you balanced, motivated and uplifted. I try to be very intentional about my friends, I don’t like ‘wahala‘ (unnecessary trouble) and as I think of my ‘Five’, I feel a smile building up, like a proud hunter happy with the day’s catch. I think of my friends as Team Possible, they believe in me, cheer me on and are not afraid to look me in the eyes and confront me with the bitter truth that reminds me of who I am, forcing me to auto-correct. They do not get blown away by the wind or washed away by the tsunamis that may hit my life. Under the scorching sun and the thunderous rain, they eat with me, laugh with me, pray with me, cry with me and play with me.
You will go through many seasons in life, good, bad, ugly, and indescribable. You are not meant to walk alone, spend some time reflecting on your inner circle and ask yourself two simple questions – will I go to war for these people, take note of your answer. Then ask yourself a second question, will they go to war with me? Let your answers lead you to take action.
We love to hear from you, so don’t forget to like, leave a comment, follow us and tell a friend. Keep your eyes on who you are becoming.
Have a great week ahead.