I once did a soul search and asked myself if i can live without my friends. The answer was resounding NO! Friends come and go but even when we are disappointed or we disappoint others, we will still gravitate towards the next person and strike another alliance - hoping it will be better than the last. No matter how reclusive we may want to seem, we can't function fully as humans without the love and affections of our friends.
I have heard people say things like, "I don't have any friends" or "my siblings are my only friends", or "I don't want to have any friends". Married women are even advised not to have friends and make their spouse the only friend they have - no wonder most women nowadays are not making the impact our mothers made then. I remember growing up seeing my mum host several women's association - either from the Anglican Church we attended then or from her office or other groups. These women come together and in the midst of the normal bickering- they stand by one another, help out when it is needed and rally round each other for the sake of the friendship they share through the clubs or association. I remember also that they started a mentoring strategy where a young, or newly married woman is attached to an older woman who acts as her guide and prayer partner. Such women, who are now older still remembers my mum and keeps in touch - years and several re locations later.
The men also had theirs - even though it is more of an excuse to eat bush meat and drink palm wine than to bond - yet it brought out a lot of results for the children as you are able to leverage on your dad's association with a certain permanent Secretary or DG to get an IT placement, job or get out of trouble.
So how come we don't have these groups of 20's, 10's and even 5's anymore? Sometimes we even struggle to keep in touch with the few church members we say hi to after the services and we don't call to say hi to our colleagues at work once the weekend start? When i recall that there was no GSM or social networking sites then, i wondered how our parents made the contacts necessary to keep their friends close.
We have facebook, skype, twitter, e-mails, GSM - yet it has drawn us apart rather than keep us together! There is need to feel that closeness with the other person that is intimate but not sexual, that is revealing but not indecent.
I love my friends and sometimes i overdo it - making their husbands and boyfriends jealous and uncomfortable - but i can't help it because i only thrive and be my best when i am surrounded with them. My husband has learn to accept that these people - young, older, mates - women and a few guys - will always be part of our home. That is why it is possible for me to accommodate a male friend in my home for almost a year without much ado and give a key to my home to another female friend.
Who are your friends? Are they the people who looks and dress like you do or do you go out of your way to be a shoulder to someone who is different? Are you reliable? Can i trust you with the deepest secrets of my heart? Can i rely on you to bail me out of a bad situation? You don't have to be perfect to be a good friend, i am not - sometimes my big mouth comes between my good intentions and deliveries and i hurt my friends and myself in the process - but then, there is forgiveness which we have all received and should give back in volumes.
Where are your friends? Look out for those who mean something to you today and don't hesitate to be a friend to another.