“FRIENDSHIP IS NOT ACQUAINTANCESHIP”

Dear Someone!✍️

I don’t know what your Year 2020 resolution was, but the reality is this: it is moving at telegraphic speed! We are in June (now past), alive, to God’s glory! As for me, I just turned a year older and if that doesn’t amaze me, nothing else can. But so what!!? Am I the first to attain a double-graced age in a twenty-something old body? I suspect you don’t get it! You see, in my native Bukhakhala village of Busia County, guys of my age bracket are scarce and if there are, we couldn’t fill a 20-seater! Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS pandemic in the late 1970s and early 1990s visited disaster on us by harvesting hundreds of burgeoning, exuberant, brilliant and promising friends in their early teens. Our hearts still grieve for them! It means I have long exceeded the mortality rate of my village by the grace of God, so that I can confidently share with you about friendship and acquaintanceship or their difference in between, based on a little experiences here and there!

A watchtower on the edge of a small cliff by the ocean.
Photo by Mau00ebl BALLAND on Pexels.com

Nothing can stand the test of time like true friendship! You can take that to the bank!

W’Obukosia

Thinking of that, there is this story in the the Old Testament that comes to my mind: 1After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. [1 Samuel 18:1-4]

And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to theeward very good: …[1 Samuel 19:4-5]

Impressive story there with lessons:

  1. These two guys based their friendship on commitment to God, rather than themselves;
    1. They didn’t let status and family differences come between their friendship1. They drew closer together when their friendship was tested;
    2. They remained friends to the very end! Are we experiencing friendships like that in our domains? Personally, I am aware of my long and short time friendships and I am also aware of acquaintances here and there.
    3. While a friend is a person we have a strong connection with spanning time, an acquaintance is someone you know by name and with whom you have a contextual connection (from evening class, regular hangout or nyama choma joint, school, work, a friend’s party, on Facebook [hapa mko wengi], etc.)
    4. According to Aristotle, there are three types of friendships:
      1. Those based on utility -In the first type, friendship based on utility, people associate for their mutual usefulness or [quid pro quo] benefit. These relationships are the most common this Millennium.
      2. Those based on pleasure or delight, and
      3. Those grounded in virtue
W'Obukosia holding a baby gazelle.
The photo came with the letter.

There is no template on friendships as that is purely determined by our unique personality traits. But there are certain factors that steadfastly stand out, in most cases. Friendship is a solid support network and undeniably important for our mental and emotional well-being. With stable friendships, we can confront just about any challenge life tosses our way. But, what defines true friendship? What makes a good friendship? How can we tell we are cultivating good friendship? Friendship is like a tree that grows in stages from stranger, acquaintance, casual friend, close friend to intimate friend all governed by level or depth of interaction at each stage. Real friends stick with you, directly and indirectly, throughout all stages of life irrespective of differences in every respect. However, the vast majority of high-quality friendships feature certain core traits that lead to a sustained and mutual sense of empathy, comfort, love and understanding. The most dignified features of friendship are:

  1. Trustworthiness: Authentic friendship must involve trust. Trustworthiness isn’t just about keeping confidences, but about sticking to a set of moral principles and values that relate to everything else that forms the basis for such friendship. Someone who flirts with your partner or tries to undermine you at work isn’t a friend, and definitely can’t be trusted. Friendships that is built on trust can be long-lasting, deeply gratifying and fulfilling. We must be deliberate in making it obvious that we can reciprocate.
  2. Honesty and Openness: We must deliberately strive to maintain the truth rather than lies that impress to keep us happy in the short term. We have to maintain straight, confident talk about how we come across or handle issues. We should avoid being abusive, deceitful or manipulative. A friend is authentic and honest with you even when it seems uncomfortable to do so … they are so open to challenge you lovingly “Hapo hujaongea au hujafanya powa” [You didn’t talk/do well there!].
  3. Loyalty: A friendship that sticks by our side no matter what and that their commitment to us is not fickle nor driven by circumstances; A friendship that responds to our season of struggles, whether materially, financially, emotionally, mentally but not “fair weather friends” ones who are only there when things are good for us and when we have plenty to give or appear “successful” or “popular” or “in league”. This should not in any way insinuate a take and give situation. Our loyalty should never be a measure of what we can give or receive to reciprocate friendship!. A friend stands by you consistently both when you are present and when you are not; when it is convenient and when it is not.
  4. Accommodating and Accepting: Great friends are accepting, even when their lives diverge from our own. They will understand that our choices are our own, and see that what’s right for them isn’t necessarily right for us. A friend won’t try to make you change how you look, pressure you to do things that make you uncomfortable, or fight with you when you reveal you have a different view about something. A friend should challenge and encourage you objectively on values and principles, in a balanced way that does not necessarily influence change of our identity. A friend prioritizes your friendship over other relationships and situations, especially when they know you need them. For example, when your friend is away on vacation, they’ll still make time to call and check in on you.
  5. Low-Maintenance: Great friendships keep tabs, maintain contact and regular communication and are able to reconnect from time to time irrespective of distance and periods in between. One way to maximize our chances of creating low-maintenance friends is to seek out people with similar lifestyles. Low-maintenance friendship is the kind that is not threatened by your upward mobility, in other words not envious nor competition, but only appreciation and encouragement.
  6. Non-Judgmental: Friends make us feel confident about who we are, and do not induce self-doubt. Friends pay attention and listen to us, doing their best to understand our situations, even if it means trying to relate to a very different belief system.
  7. Respectful: Mutual respect is a powerful trait in a dynamic friendship. Friendship is a mirror that demands we are also the kind of friends to others we would like them to be to us. Respectful friendship derives on good, and alike in virtue that is desirable for the good of the other. If two people are good at heart and wish to see good done in others as well, then they may become true friends.

You can add your own qualities, but consider this whether you are man or woman: A man that has friends must show himself friendly … or … One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

[Proverbs 18:24]

As I conclude, I am glad to inform us that there is a special friend who can never ever desert us, invisible yet ever present, reliable, excellent and accurate in directing our lifestyles and ALL activities including writing such long posts. He is the Spirit of Truth [John 16:13-15], tried, tested and patented. In my personal testimony and submission, His Counsel guides me in EVERYTHING from prayers, worship to what I shall eat, wear, which matatu to take, who to see or meet to rebuking and correcting! He is the **HOLY SPIRIT**!I wish you a blessed and fulfilling June 2020 (now past 🙂 ) and the rest of the year,

Shalom!

Yours in Christ’s army,

W’Obukosia

Originally posted by Dann Matthews W’Obukosia

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