The Art of Making Friends

MARRY YOUR FRIEND. I'm an advocate for that. Afterall, when the butterflies subside, friendship is usually what real relationships are made of, right? I feel though that we have lost the art of making friends. I think part of the reason is because a lot of people feel they don't have time to make friends. If you're over 30 and you're ready to get married perhaps because you believe your biological clock is ticking, amongst other reasons, you wouldn't be trying to devote time to making friends with a guy before actually officially dating him,right? Like, who has the time for that! Lol. I guess that's why a lot of people say you should check out your childhood friends to see if there are any eligible bachelors or bachelorettes you can get with. But what do you do when none of your childhood friends make the cut? I don't believe that the length of time you've known someone determines the success of your marriage. I've seen enough evidence to conclude that there is no formula when it's comes to duration of the friendship and how that determines martial succes. So I guess it's safe to say it's the quality and not quantity that counts. But if your childhood friends, who you've known for a long time don't make the cut, how do you start making new friends in what seems to be a bit late in the game and ensure that you have a solid enough friendship to proceed?

You'll often hear me say that people need to be true to themselves and each other in relationships. I believe that's what real friendships are built on - openness, honesty, truthfulness, and just a general sense of "I can be myself with this person", no facades (man, do I hate facades or what!). I also think this is something that can be done later in life with a little more conscious effort because it seems like what happens when people meet someone these days is they automatically start checking off the list to see if the person is 'spouse material" and this doesn't leave room for people to get to know each other without any strings attached. Would you agree? So, if you don't have anyone in the picture that you can truly call a "friend", what do you do?

My recommendation is simply don't be quick to start an "official" relationship. When two people meet and there's instant physical attraction and connection, the next step is to pursue (as initiated by either person cos I hear girls ACTIVELY and FIERCELY chase these days. Lol). But I think if and when possible, the urge should be resisted and I'll tell you why. I strongly believe that when we don't resist the urge to act on our emotions and attractions towards someone, we are usually bound to make mistakes and misjudge the person. Our judgement would be clouded by the most irrelevant traits the person possesses (physical/emotional in this case). So for example, for ladies who like "fine boys", when one approaches you, chances are you would give in even before you start to consider his other traits. Think about it for a second...Or if he's "loaded" a.k.a. has a lot of dough, and that's a strong point for the woman, she would also start to give in before considering his other qualities. This stuff is usually subconscious too. I'm not saying people shouldn't have standards (I believe very strongly in standards) but we gotta let the most important things drive our choices. Stuff like is he/she a good person (however you define good), do you enjoy his/her company, do you have similar interests, etc. This is stuff we all know, right? And this is stuff that takes time to appreciate and stuff you discover in a platonic relationship. But sometimes, when desperate times (e.g. clock ticking) seem to call for desperate measures, we might base our decisions on "he has money so we'll be financially secure" and "I'm physically attracted to her" and say "we'll develop a friendship as we go along" and I think that could be a recipe for disaster. It's worked for some by the special grace of God but I think it's safer to take time to get to know people well enough. Wait things out and you might find that you really don't like them as a whole afterall or you might find that their entire "package" is quite spectacular but only after you've given it some time.

For those of you thinking you've been single too long to try and start making friends now cos you feel it's a waste of time what about the relationships that didn't work?  You might consider those time wasted (even though I believe every experience teaches us something) so I say why not risk "wasting" time again strategically, if you know what I mean (it wouldn't be a waste but figuratively speaking). Afterall, they say, "if you want to get what you've never had, you have to do what you've never done." Let's start making friends again. Don't dwell on the possibilty of a relationship with people. Free your mind. Notice stuff about them with a clear mind. Easier said, I know, but you gotta make a conscious effort this time. And you never know within a few months, you'll know enough, no strings attached and it just might blossom. This would also mean making many friends. This is not just for one person. Get to know as many people as possible. Be open. Be free.

What do you guys think? Do you agree that we've lost the art of making friends?

P.S. If you missed my voice note, here it is :-D

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  1. yeah i agree
    we have totally lost the art of friendship
    i have a male friend now,6months
    what what beautiful friendship

    and im not botherd about him not asking me out
    though if he does dat will be very wonderful *wink wink*
    nice piece aderonke

    1. Hehehe. I hear ya :) Keep being his friend and you might be pleasantly surprised. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes ronke this is a good write up, i particularly agree with you on importance of bith parties having similar hobbies or past times because honestly marriage can be very boring and it is at this time that aspect come into play. For me i get bored easily on relationships hence it is at this time i try to focus on what brings me fun.

    1. Yup, as with everything, marriage can probably get boring and how SUPER boring it would be if you're not married to your friend, right?

  3. Good post Aderonke.

    I think that part of the problem we have is that many of us are judgmental. When we hear certain things about people, or if they tell us about things that we don't necessarily agree with or like, then we automatically put them in a 'weird' box.

    If we just give ourselves a chance to be surprised by everyone we meet, instead of pre-judging them, our lives would be richer and more 'fun'.

    1. Thanks Ighosime. Hmmm, I guess we can't really help categorizing people based on what they tell us. It's probably inevitable but it's what we do with that categorization that's important, no?

  4. Very well said and like you said, people develop friendships along the way. Like when i first met my boyfriend, we didnt really start off as friends, we knew we wanted to be with each other exclusively and today i call him my best friend because we dont let the fact that we are dating spoil the fun of friendship. One year has gone by and i am glad he gave us a chance cos if he had listened to all the stories flying about me, he woulda put me in that box and things woulda been different.

    The art of making friends i would say is easier for the female parties cos most guys i have met and know just want a girl they would marry and i tried explaining to one why he should first be friends before marrying but he wouldnt listen cos 'all his friends are getting married'.

  5. Friendship is both a gift and an art, which not many have nurtured to grow into a tree that yields investments. Myles Munroe said the 'end' and real purpose of marriage is lifelong friendship that is exclusive to a couple, who also interact with other people is an extended friendship of sorts. So if we don't learn to be friends before marriage, we may never become best friends with our spouses...that's why you see guys/girls who after marriage still keep in touch with the 'best friends' they'd wished they married, had they been more patient or waited for the friend who wasn't quite ready at that time.
    But having someone as friend has it's own downsides too, as two people can become too comfortable with the friendship that starting a relationship becomes an awkward thing especially if the other party has foreclosed the possibility after waiting for the coast to be clear. For instance, some girls expect a guy to ask them out from the outset, and if all he seem to want at that moment is to 'get to know them better', they may close their mind such that if he does a volte face later and asks them out, the girl often declines even if they'd grown to be best of friends. There are cases when all guy wants is to be 'her friend' only for romantic desires to overcome her and she projects same to him in various ways, and he may not be able to handle that reality.

    Much as it's OK to be friends, it behoves both parties to be on same ground such that should one party move on to have romantic relationship with someone else, the other party may've to swallow the bitter bill...and not see it as rejection!

    And one reason why friendships are tricky is often expressed in some clitches like 'A man/woman can never be friends with someone you have romantic feelings for..."

  6. I am a 30+year old single sista, and to be honest! i TOTALLY miss having male friends!!!! i had a bunch in my 20's! as in friends were we would hang out and crash at their house or vice versa and there was no pressure of, is he gonna try attack (lol ok i exaggerate,rather cop a feel) while am sleep?...friends that we could talk bout our issues with opposite sex,work,school etc...when i recently took stock or inventory, i realized that most of the friendships fizzled out cos they got married...they only ones am still close to are the ones that I am friends with their wives(so that way its not like am tryna snatch their hubbies lol)...

    but seriously though, i guess another issue is what you pointed out Aderonke, once you're in the frame of mind to get married you sometimes view "building a friendship" as a time waster.... guys (esp naija guys) who are ready to marry dont wanna get stuck in the "friend zone" for fear of being clowned by their boys and girls feel like i dont have time to waste LOL. But also for me i find it will be harder for me to make friends with guys my age cos most of them are already married, on way to getting married or looking for "chop & clean mouth"(which i am NOT about) LOL

    I do hope tho the next guy i date/marry, that we would both have the desire and patience to actually develop a friendship before entering a courtship/relationship...

    great article/writeup Aderonke :D

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  8. This is another truly tough one, and like most things there are no straight answers. Some people say, "what the hell, if you like each other, why wait to become official? You will get to know each other as you go along." The flip side is that you then have a string of failed official relationships in your history, with the attendant baggage, but who's counting?

    The other side is that you should take your time. Let the initial euphoria of finding someone wear off. Ignore that, "he/she could be the one guessing game that's fuelled by those heady moments of finding a "connection" and just be. Get to know each other. Build a friendship. Be honest, be certain that you could actually be with this person. Date. Hang out. And then decide if you can commit to them.

    Personally I've lived by the second approach for as long as I can remember. But its cost me, when the other person is not on the same page, and they think you're stringing them along. Or they keep hiding themselves (protecting herself, she says) and you learn nothing.

    I've learned the hard way that you shouldn't wait. Commit. Give it a shot. If you like them, make it official, and learn what you need to learn along way. The best way to learn about school is to go to school. Best way to learn to swim? Yes, SWIM. If you like someone enough to consider dating them, then do so. Don't take the chance that someone else will snap them up while you're still "getting to know" them.

    Making it official gives both of you a blanket of security and certainty. Its respectable, and its open. Its a platform upon which to find and build that friendship, or to discover that you don't have the chemistry to stay together for life. At least you know.

    Great article Aderonke. Keep it coming.


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