On the true value of friendship

Kristine Yakhama
Posted March 6, 2021 from Kenya

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Over the last few months, I’ve been hearing a lot about this new social media app, signal. I tried it last month. And I really don’t get why people prefer talking to strangers, while they could use that time to call their friend, sibling, mother, father, or anyone else who’s close to them.

Those meaningless conversations on social media will not be there for you when you struggle or feel lonely. Those people are probably also not your real friends. It reminds me of all the empty friendships I’ve had in the past.

In college, my friends were the guys I went to club with. After that, my friends were the people I spent my weekends with. And when I worked at a hotel, it was the folks I went to  drink with. But those people were not my real friends.

Here’s how Rose described those kinds of relationships: “These are what people call friendships of convenience; a woman adopted from self-interest will please only as long as she is useful. This is why a crowd of friends surrounds women in time of success but there is a desert around their ruin, and friends flee when they are put to the test.”

The first time I realized some friends are not actually your friend was when I went to grad school. At some point, I got tired of the weekly partying and got serious about my education and personal development. I preferred to study or have conversations about life with my friends. But some of my friends back then were not interested in that. So gradually, we grew apart when our common interest — partying — disappeared.

I initially thought that was sad. “We spent so much time together and had so many good times, and now we never see each other.” That’s the nature of life. Through reading the Stoics, I learned that we must accept the change that comes with life. Seasons change, people change, and you change. There is nothing wrong with that. We need to be okay with that.

But sometimes, you grow together. Ten years ago, I became friends with Sandra. At the time, we were both in our early twenties and liked to go out. We were part of a group of six women who hung out together a lot: We talked every day and saw each other every Saturday night. We often met up at my apartment and would spend the whole evening and night just having fun. Sometimes we went out, sometimes we stayed at the apartment.

Eventually, the other guys went their own way, but Roseand I remained friends. We always had the most in common. We’ve gone different directions in our lives as well, but we always supported each other. And wanted to see the other succeed and be happy. To me, that’s what real friendship is about.

Seek out people who have the same values as you. Friendship is not about quantity. Three friends are enough to spend your time with. As Sandra said, most people will not be your friend when they are put to the test.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with a co-worker or fellow student. Looking back, I still have a lot of good memories. It’s just that most friends come and go, which is not a reason to get sad.

I prefer to go deep with the people, and really care about the few friends I have. That’s the true value of friendship. Not someone you can call to ask for help with moving, or someone to go partying with. No, a friend is someone who thinks and cares about you, even when you don’t see or need each other. And whenever you do need each other, you’re always there. All the best.

 

This story was submitted in response to #HerStoryMakesHistory.

Comments 10

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jomarieb.earth
Mar 07
Mar 07

Dear Kristine,
I live in the most infected Covid 19 country in the world, the USA. Lockdown, shelter in place and social distancing changed the face of all relationship rules, values, foundations and anything that can create and evaluate a relationship. For many people, family and friends simply cannot cope and are not present for them. Zoom is our new normal. Strangers are often the go to when there is no go to. Not everyone has WiFi. World Pulse has proven to be the go to over and over again. The rules above applied pre-pandemic. But what we are dealing with now is beyond what the rest of the world could fathom. Perhaps the rules will apply again someday.
I lost 3 very close members in my life, family and friends. They did not die from Covid 19. They just could not cope. And they cut themselves off. This is happening a lot. So sometimes strangers are all there is. My bestie on World Pulse is from Kenya. But I feel that we are true sisters and she checks up on me more and better than my own sister, who is a doctor. I would have never imagined this possible. We co-write and collaborate, and encourage each other immensely. We care about each other. We are strangers, but we are sisters on WP, and of the world. This platform provides friends and sisters to a community that needs them. We are all strangers. But we are not strangers to each other here. I hope you can resonate with this.
JoMarie

Nini Mappo
Mar 07
Mar 07

Aww, my big sister-in-chief :)
It is heartwarming to see our friendship summarized in such beautiful terms. We are strangers who care about each other? ha ha what a true and kinda trail-blazing notion in the realms of friendship!
Thank you for being my friend, my sister, and my along-sider in my World Pulse journey :) My WP presence tonight is fueled by riding on the wave of the sparkles you shared through your most recent post. Thank you!
Warmest hugs and sparkles for you sis JoMarie!

Kristine Yakhama
Mar 09
Mar 09

Thanks for loss may they rest in peace. Be strong soon will return to normalcy everything works for purpose. Have a good morning

jomarieb.earth
Mar 10
Mar 10

They didn't die. Have a great day sister.

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 06
Mar 06

Dear Kristine,
It can be quite the journey to find true friends, and realize who we need to let go of. "I prefer to go deep with the people, and really care about the few friends I have". So true that this can be the real joy of having true friends, so precious to find..

Kristine Yakhama
Mar 09
Mar 09

Thanks Mum

Nini Mappo
Mar 07
Mar 07

Dear Kristine,
I am very glad to read this your write up about friendship. Glad because I think the face of friendship in Kenya is changing fast, especially since the 'block button' was introduced in our gadgets and our platforms. Our thoughtless use of it in the hurry to 'walk away from negative people' or people whom we perceive that no longer 'add value', as subjective as that maybe, as in the case with losing friends over whether or not you wanted to party--this is creating unnecessary isolation. I think increasingly, we are victimizing ourselves so much within friendships as to lack the maturity to have the relational courage that sustains friendships.
(I refer to the block button because my Kenyan peeps are blocking each other at insane rates, over trivialities, because social media told them they are vulnerable victims and they should 'walk away') that it absolutely shocks me.

Although looking for friends with the same values affords us relational ease and probably more enjoyment, I think it is good to also try and befriend people who don't have the same values as us, but who could benefit from the values we have. it is an aspect of mentoring that is, again, vastly disappearing as we look for friendships that only serve us. It is not to make these people 'projects', but simply to say that if I have something to give, I will give it, even if I gain nothing. Perhaps we can build enough compassion and relational courage for that, and in the meantime, adjust to the changing face of friendships in a fast changing social climate.

Thank you for sharing your story and insights.
Sending hugs and sparkles :)

jomarieb.earth
Mar 07
Mar 07

(My Sister-Blister strikes again! Amen.)

Kristine Yakhama
Mar 10
Mar 10

Thanks for your response good morning

Kristine Yakhama
Mar 09
Mar 09

Thanks for your response good morning