I returned from work to find Chichi, my daughter very sad. She was so inconsolable that her heart was bursting out through her mouth. It was a relief for her to pour out her grief to me, her affectionate daddy. She was waiting for me to return from work.
Gaining and maintaining the trust of my children in that they could tell me everything, I adjudge, is my greatest achievement as a parent.
“I sense Joan doesn’t like me anymore”, my daughter said in a tone betraying a sense of let down. And she continued, “Joan was very cold to me today. I guess she doesn’t want to be my her friend again,” my 10 year old daughter said as if her whole life depended on her friendship with Joan.
Chichi is a chip of an old block. She took after me. She is committed to friendship and could take a stab for her friends and relations. Unfortunately, my daughter is too young to realize the dangers of being a true friend. She loves the story of Jonathan and David in the Bible. But, I had to ask her not to believe the story of Romeo and Juliet. I told her that the duo were not from Nnewi.
That was how I began to teach my daughter the principles of friendship; but not before I asked her siblings to join us so that I could use one stone to kill three birds.
Have you ever found out what that person you call your best friend think about you?
You may be shocked to realize that even your supposed best friend is only tagging along and would not waste an opportunity to do you in or betray you at a slightest chance.
Even dog, the man’s best friend, could bite the owner under certain influences.
My little sojourn on earth and practice of friendship have brought certain reality to my attention. I have since realized that friendship has a season and its duration is determined by tides, events and time.
Daniel Imoh, my classmate at Nnewi High School had once told me that friendship had an expiry date. He told me so to justify his decision to deal with our common who also was a school mate. Daniel told me that the transgression of our friend had determined their friendship; that he didn’t mind losing the friendship in question. He invited the police to pick up our friend with instruction to press charges. I couldn’t believe it but I saw pragmatism in action.
This made me take an amateurish analysis of friendship.
I came to reckon that when a baby is born in the hospital, the baby’s first friends are those born within the same period and in same hospital followed by those he stays with in the crèche, nursery and primary schools. At these period, friendship existed albeit childish as long as the children are in the same venue. Most friends made at this stage might never remember or meet themselves once they are separated.
From my experience, friendship developed in the secondary or during trade apprenticeship seem to last longest. It could be that this kind of friends related without feeling of status. That could be why Old Girls or Boys Associations wax stronger than Alumni associations of tertiary institutions.
I have realized that a friendship where one of the parties sacrifices more and always ignores the excesses of the other party last much longer. It is evident that the glue holding some friendship is the determination of one party to ignore the shortcomings of the other.
There are friendships developed due to necessity of geography, work, commonality of enemy or pursuit of common objectives.
Once the the reason for the friendship is no longer there, the friendship would collapse. That’s why former colleagues or classmates suddenly become strangers after separation from workplace or upon graduation.
In my different phases of life, I have noticed that I have always had people I called my best friends.
My best friend in the primary school left for a secondary school different from the one I attended and the friendship glue weakened and we lost our closeness. Same thing happened to my best friend in the secondary school and that of the university. We are still friends till date but the intensity of the friendship is no longer the same.
My experience as a working adult revealed that friendship at the work place is a victim of promotion, posting or disengagement.
Not all your friends would be happy if you are promoted beyond their own expectations or estimation of you.
Most friendship is alive when both friends are progressing. A little set back could put a dagger on the neck of a friendship.
On numerous occasions, I had found out that those I regarded as my friends were responsible for framing me up, carrying cryptic destructive gossip of me and directing career terminating darts thrown at me to fall.
I have also realized that those secretly dangerous friends of mine were envious and didn’t want me to rise above them and would conceal such wicked thoughts from me. Some of them take the form of Delilah or Judas.
I have succeeded in teaching my children that building a friendship is like making a pot of soup. The soup tastes sweet when it is fresh but could get sour, rancid and poisonous.
I impressed upon them to develop antennae to detect the real-time taste or state of their friendship with anyone and should develop a skin, thick enough, to absorb the pains of defriending someone or the one that follows being defriended.
Losing a friend could be so sad but just like everything created, friendship must come to an end one day.
Even though friendship is an essential form of human relationship, it comes in seasons. A today’s friend could be someone’s enemy just like former enemies could become aka ekpe na ụtụ ọhụ or five and six.
Friendship does have to be permanent. Sometimes it is important to allow it die. It makes the former friends learn the need to appreciate the other party’s selfless disposition that has kept the friendship.
By Anayo M. Nwosu