Yes I do and the Paradigm Shift of Friendships.
Slightly over a week ago, I had a heartwarming chat with a longtime friend of mine. She is the type you talk to, brainstorm, laugh and at the end you feel like you didn’t talk enough. So this was one of those talks we usually have with her depending on whose turn it is to call.
Suffice to say that we agreed to draw a call timetable and so each one of us knows their date to call. Let me confess though that sometimes we forget and it is the other’s responsibility to remind the other one that is it their turn. You realize that this is a very great way of ensuring we don’t get too complacent and forget then start blaming each other for forgetting that we existed.
It has been our way of checking out on each other out for quite some time now. And then in our last chat she broke the news that her marriage date was set for early next year. I was so happy and overjoyed that my friend was getting married and never missed words to register the same to her.
She indeed desired that I attend and for the first time she acknowledged that I have been very helpful in her life. In fact she told me that come then, she will celebrate me in a special way for mentoring her by announcing it. Mentoring, I thought was an overstatement.
The only thing I remember is that we usually catch up and talk. I encourage her where I can and advise her occasionally when she seeks my thought on an issue or two from time to time. It never crossed my mind that that translated to mentorship. I tried telling her that I have never been a mentor to her and all she could point was, “Is it you who knows or it’s me?” And for that reason she won.
It then dawned on me that our friendship was built on a solid foundation in the course of more than five years we have known each other. As a matter of fact we come from different tribes, different places and we still managed to have a great friendship, one that transcended boundaries.
So when I realized that she is about to enter into the institution of marriage, I knew that our friendship will never be the same again. I tried to console myself before that friendships never get affected by marriage in any way only to realize later that I was very wrong.
They do get affected a great deal and to an even greater way with the coming of children into the circle. I was happy that my friend is finally full filling a promise she perhaps made to her sweetheart, yet I was sad that that meant a slow but sure decline in the quality of friendship we have enjoyed for this long.
Like we don’t have time rules when it comes to when one of us can make a call now. It could be in the morning once in a while, at other times it could be during the day and in other days in the evenings. Now from next year probably we can’t call in the evenings because that is family time and now that I am a male friend.
You see there is always something that is wired in our human brains that makes us uncomfortable if we see our girlfriends or boyfriends or even spouses talk with friends of the opposite sex in such a manner to suggest that they are best of buddies. There is that feeling like we have been replaced by the other lot and this tends to strain relationships.
As someone who understands this well, I am already destined to ensure the flourishing association of this young union by ensuring that the focus of the two remains on each other. For instance if we used to do a call per week, it now turns to a call for every, let’s say, three weeks. It may seem nonsensical but it is the right thing to do especially when this union will be young.
Were I to be a lady, perhaps we could still maintain the tempo of our relationship and association though still it could as well be affected slightly. Probably for me, I will have to cherish the friendship and let my children know in future that there were people who encouraged me in my earlier journey and that she was part of that team.
The beauty of such a friendship is the building up of each other to a level of seeing the other fella achieve their aspirations and know deep in your heart that you played a role. And that even in the silence of the ensuring change of association you still cherish the moments you shared.
History serves us the bad blood that followed the change of friendship for Thomas Edison with his student and friend Nikola Tesla. The once friends turned into foes and as such lived the rest of their lives with animosity in their hearts. I don’t know if they died happy but if they so showed the world in the outside, deep inside they must have been quite unhappy and regretful.
So even in the change of guard with our friendships when one of us says ‘I do,’ we still have a chance to maintain the friendship and keep it for posterity by adapting to the change rather that probably rupturing the friendship by failing in the adaption to that change process.
If you are lucky to marry your best friend, enjoy and continue the friendship because friendship is all that remains after the bliss of love is gone. And even greater still, keep your valuable friendships strong even with the changes that come when we get married.
To my friend, I wish you the very best that marriage life offers.