Sunday, 4 March 2007

The expectations of friendship

Why talk?

I was quite struck by the comment that was left regarding My Bed where the commenter wondered what I was trying to achieve by bringing my "friend's" attitude into the public.

That is a deep comment finished off with the thought that I was probably trying to be another Tracey Emin.

I think it is important to explore the underlying issues here; indeed it is a question of honour and integrity to keep our secrets secret and not to wash our dirty linen in public.

However, do we question what these underlying principles are based on and what relationships are needed to ensure that these principles are cardinal?

Helping each other

For instance, I was asked at the beginning of the week by my friend if I had considered joining a lodge and I said, I do not believe that relationships cultivated on blood oaths allow for fairness and justice to thrive where that is needed and where the binding principle is developed on the custom rather than mutually cultivated respect for each other.

It transpired that the reason why I was asked that question was because he felt that we Africans do not strive to help each other enough; that could mean we are looking to offer meritorious recognition to people of our race or we are developing a corruptible culture of nepotism, patronage and mediocrity in the name of having a coterie of Yes-men at our beck and call.

I believe in cultivating relationships, I could adhere to the brotherly principle and rationalise saying because a man is Christian, I need no other commendation to have absolute trust in that person or I might say, whilst he is a Christian, I do not know him in personality and character enough to accord unconditional trust even though we presumably adhere to the followership of Christ.

Relationships thicker than blood

I remember when some very close relations attacked the fact that I was giving more time and opportunity to relations much far removed, they contended that blood was thicker than water, I retorted, cultivated relationships of mutual respect, communication and integrity are a lot thicker than blood which is thicker than water.

What am I getting at? I believe in the goodness of man and believe the best of everyone initially, I expect anybody's default rating of good, respectable and honourable to appreciate with introduction, acquaintance and friendship, sometimes some fall short but everyone is tolerable to a great extent, we are all not perfect even if we can quite judgmental or prejudiced.

Friendships

So, it then comes down to a number of issues or questions.

What is friendship to you?

What can you expect from a friendship?

What are the fraternal links and relationships that strengthen your friendships that when you are offended you can overlook that offence and move on regardless?

Do you expect to be treated with respect in your friendships?

Do you want to be taken advantage of by your friends because you can tolerate their cunning or because you will not speak up for the fear of damaging your friendship?

If there are issues that can frustrate your friendship how would you tackle those issues in the face of indifference?

Are honour, integrity, consideration and concern essential for friendships to thrive?

Can you die for a friend?

These are questions, seemingly jumbled which might clearly determine if a relationship is based in genuine mutual respect or on one taking undue advantage of the other.

Friendship dies with indifference

In the light of this, I believed I had a friend in my friend but this illusion was shattered when an inconsiderate attitude coupled with utter indifference lead to an abuse of my hospitality and no realisation of that situation.

I sought the friend inside the man in order to overlook the acts but found none, however, the man tried to use that illusion of friendship to continue in the comfort of my home that he was thrashing rather than a hotel where he would have had to pay the phone bills, the mini-bar bills and consequently the cleaning bills.

No, this was no friend and cannot continue to expect the fruits of friendship which would involve a culture of silence for acts of contempt.

The fraternity of cultivated relationships

I belong to the fraternity of cultivated relationships in which each side should work to nurture the relationship and in that provide support for each other when needed, it is based on mutual respect, informed consideration and communication and it would suffer if either party is inconsiderate and it would die if either party is indifferent.

Why did I show my friend's behaviour in public? Because, he broke the selfsame bounds that make a friendship; we have not become enemies, but we are no longer friends. Hence, I owe him no allegiance and I have my wounds to nurse.

If you would find what my "friend" did to me and my home acceptable, you are greater and more magnanimous person than I am, I can only strive to better myself.

Why can Africans not help each other? In my own experience, many take advantage of the brotherhood of race and friendships and abuse those whose altruism is now looking like naivety and foolishness. I do not have to be cynic, but I need new positive experiences to restore my faith in some.

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