REFLECTIONS: AM I A BAD FRIEND?


At the beginning of this year I lost a friend.  

On New Year's Eve she sent me this message "Happy New Year in advance darling. Thanks for being a good friend to me. I can be shitty with communication but it's all love lol."

On January 1, 2016 we went out to celebrate the New Year and she died 11 days later from complications resulting in a car accident on her way home that night.

She was only 25 years old.

When things like this happen it's easy to question God and wonder what the point is but all that does is take you into a dark place and quite frankly solves nothing. But the "good thing" about things like this, is if you let it, it can cause you to live life more purposefully and to not take anything for granted. 

We know all to well how the obligations of life can make you selfish. It's hard to follow through with the best laid plans when you can barely stay afloat. It suddenly takes longer to respond to messages and some times you just can't be bothered to at all. And you slowly find the parameters of friendship being redefined. We spend hours commenting, tagging and liking each others posts on social media, but when do you spend quality time together to talk about your joys, problems and fears? 

I can already hear some of you wondering "who cares Ifeyinwa?" Some of us have our own families and businesses and much more serious things to worry about than whether or not so and so thinks I'm a good friend or not. Right? Well I'll tell you right now, no we really don't. We're only on this planet for a very very short time. And at the end of the day, what matters the most are our relationships and interactions and the impact we make. The biggest thing I felt when my friend passed was regret. Regret for all the times I cancelled on her and she on me. Regret for the fact that I'd never been to her house or invited her to mine. Regret for the fact that as much as I valued and loved her and thought she was incredible, I never actually told her. So while this might seem trivial to some "in the grand scheme of things", at least for me, it's important that at the end of my life to know that I've spread love to the best of my ability.

As I've become older, I've learned more about myself and what I want and expect out of a friendship. I've outgrown friendships that feel forced (cue in the "long time how have you been" text followed by awkward conversation), shallow (cue in friendships that revolve around gossip and not much else) and routine (I understand that we went to secondary school together but do we have anything in common, now today?). Beyond meeting the need for companionship (because who wants to spend life alone?), friendship should be a two-way street that builds all people involved up and pushes you to be better. I have my friends that I can talk to about spiritual or more intellectual issues, friends that I can have a drink and good ol' chinwag for hours, friends I can call to help me fix an issue and rely on for anything. 

And that's not to say one friend is better or more important than the next, in fact I think it's more realistic and less of a burden to have different friends for different "purposes" or needs. But we need to make the effort to reciprocate and appreciate every single one of them, because the truth is, we won't always be here. I read a quote from a cancer patient online this week where she said she wished we'd treat everyone as if they had cancer and this really made me think about all the people in my life that have impacted me in one way or another and how important it is that I tell them and show them how much I appreciate and love them now while I still can.

So what practical tips can I give you on how to become a good friend? I'm a firm believer in showing people how much I care and that's why I try to support and encourage my friends. I've made more of an effort to reach out and follow up. And truly ask people how they are and listen to the answers they give. Thank God for technology, because now there really is no excuse to not reach out to someone you haven't spoken to in a while. And one thing I've found that helps me is to not procrastinate - if you think of someone, reach out immediately and make a plan to catch up right then and there. Don't wait for later or next time. And lastly, if someone isn't reciprocating or putting in the effort, wish them well and move on. A true friendship is never one-sided. Maybe they're too busy, or simply not interested in having a friendship with you, and that's OK too. Letting go of that friendship gives you more time to focus on those that will add to your life.



This post is dedicated to Doyin, I miss you.


10 comments:

  1. Very Touching post
    Relationship should be valued whilst one can and i support your idea that it is not one-sided
    TuhamWorld.Com

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  2. Awww, Ifeyinwa, I'm sorry for your loss. We do have a limited time here and should do all we can to show the people we love that we appreciate them.

    Berry Dakara Blog

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  3. I love this ify. I can totally relate. I struggle with keeping up with friends especially ones that even always reach out. I recently started praying to God to make me a better friend. God help us. Amen... I'm so sorry about your loss. Xx

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  4. coverallsandlipstick18 April 2016 at 19:01

    Totally loved this piece. My best friend passed away suddenly in 2014 and I never told her how much she meant to me. I am older and learning how to let go of those who SHOW me that they don't want me in their lives anymore, and that's okay. I'm focusing on those that do and making sure it's reciprocal.

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  5. You're a much better friend and person than you give yourself credit for. It's not necessarily about what is said or done, but about how you make people feel. You've always made me feel so loved and like I was worth something even when others would make fun of me. Sometimes months go by and we don't talk, but you are still and will always be a treasure to me Ify. If you were half as good to Doyin as you are to me, then no doubt she knew you loved her.

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  6. You're a much better friend and person than you give yourself credit for. It's not necessarily about what is said or done, but about how you make people feel. You've always made me feel so loved and like I was worth something even when others would make fun of me. Sometimes months go by and we don't talk, but you are still and will always be a treasure to me Ify. If you were half as good to Doyin as you are to me, then no doubt she knew you loved her.

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  7. Hi Ifeyinwa,
    I'm really sorry you lost your friend.
    May she rest in peace, Amen.

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  8. May her soul rest in peace Amen! So sad..

    Did you get my email? sent to your contact mail...

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  9. yes, have to renew my mind that friendship is not about gossiping. you see to be accepted we make decisions when we are young so as to fit in.
    A thought provoking article that's helped me to redefine more what my friendship is. To see that frienship is based more about gossiping nowadays. How to become a friend to myself then be able to be friends with others. facebook here i come!!

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  10. I can relate to this, lost my mom too around that time and am still unable to expresss my feelings or put into words the loss I felt

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Thank you ♥