S has been my friend for 9 years now. We’ve been friends through the days of starry eyed dreams to the days of work and grit of turning those dreams into life…we are good friends, and there is one thig she does that I have always hated…whenever we go to buy stuff – the supermarket, fuel, suya…she always sits in the car and lets me go and buy the things. Maybe it’s because she’s a celebrity, but me too I be celeb na!! It’s always gotten to me.
Anyway, this past week, S came by to visit; one of our rituals is to buy suya and have a chilled evening eating and drinking and catching up. So we park the car, go to the suya man and then S lets me know she is going back to the car (as usual) and asks if I want to come sit with her until the suya is ready. That isn’t the surprise…the surprise is that I said “No, I’ll wait here for the suya to be ready”. See I had a “Hollup” moment …like did I really say that? And mean it???
I realised that this thing that had been such an issue for me where my friend was concerned was no longer an issue. I honestly didn’t mind…this was the kind of person my friend was, and I accepted her for it. Maybe it had something to do with a few days before, when we’d gone to a mutual friend’s house and following a combo of eating and drinking the wrong thing, I found myself puking my heart, soul and left kidney out and S stayed there, rubbing my back, cleaning me up, making my excuses to our hosts and getting me home safely and then…NOT yabbing me to the ends of the world the day after. I think I realised even further in that minute how valuable a friendship I had.
Friendship is acceptance. Friendship is service. Friendship is my friend P who, knowing how much of a problem I have with boundaries, always asks if she can come over/sleep over/hang out…even though the answer will always be yes. She knows I need to be the one to open my doors, and so she knocks, even though the door is always open to her. My friend D reminds me of how awesome I am when I forget…she got even more upset about my not winning the ELOY awards than I myself did (that is a blogpost on its own). D always looks for ways to give me gifts; usually things that I love but will never bring out money to buy.
I said once on my show that in friendship, we should look for reciprocity, not replication. This means that I will not expect my friends to do exactly as I would do, but I will expect them to do their best. The verse “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” is often reinterpreted to “Do unto others what you would do to/for them” – it’s not the same thing. My friends and I are not clones of one another, and our ways of valuing our relationship will manifest differently. So when P asked me this week to bring my laptop to her house so that she could copy a song, I huffed, puffed and then, just as I was about to blow my house down, I carried the laptop to her house and we copied the songs she wanted. This same P will make a whole pot of afang soup and hide my portion in the freezer, unapologetically saying no to anyone that asks her for it.
Friendship is giving. It is serving. It is not imposing conditions on another. It is accepting someone as they are, and being the best you can be for them…even if the best you can be is entertaining the quirk that makes your friend sit in the car with her sunglasses on while you’re staring at the fuel pump with a beady eye.
Friendship knows that no matter how weird this weirdo is, they will stand for you, fight for you or cry with you. They will come to you with no more than a message.
I am grateful that my friends show me the best definitions of friendship. I am grateful that I have friends who have as much pleasure in being friends to me as they enjoy me being friends to them