Now, where to start from? I’m currently hungry. I know this because my body, which is responsible for letting me know when I am hungry, is telling me so. I told myself not too long ago that I should stop starving myself. It’s 6:35 pm and I am yet to eat anything. However this article is not about me, well it is about me technically but not about my eating habits, I already know I suck at that one. It is about communication and how it plays a role in the relationships we keep.

Something I have noticed is that when the word “relationship” is mentioned, people’s minds drift towards the boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. While this is in fact an actual type of relationship, there are still different ones that exist. The relationship between colleagues at work, whom you spend most of the working hours trying to reach a deadline together with. The relationship you have with your coursemates, whom you spend most of the school hours with, attending lectures and writing tests together.

While there have been some points raised over the years by some people, on how you should specify the relationship you have with people, like calling a coworker a colleague rather than a friend or a classmate one rather than a friend, I find out I don’t really keep track of that. Once I have felt a kinship bond with someone, I consider them my friend. I do not care deeply for labels although now that I think about it more, I get why it is important to be distinctive about things like that. Because despite having attended classes with my over 180 coursemates back in the university, I can say I have that kinship bond with about 40 of them.

My realizationAs someone who has stayed a decent amount of years on this earth and has also experienced a number of events, I observed a lot of human nature or behaviours. I have seen close friendships drift apart and I have seen new ones blossom. At times I stay back and try to remember when I and a particular individual became that close. What was the turning point?

There was this proverb I heard that always comes to mind. It says “20 children can not play together for 20 years.” As I grow older, I come to realise how accurate those words are. You can definitely start out together with a set of people but as time progresses, you will come to the realization that not every one of you shares the same interests again. Some might be pulled to study in a different country, some might suddenly develop an interest in joining the national army, and some might even go on to become a criminal. There is nothing you can do about it, it is just how life is. The oldest friend that comes to mind is one whom I attended primary school with over 14 years ago. I do know we don’t talk every day yet I do know I still feel that kinship bond with him, and no matter what, I’ll be there for him as much as I can.

The word on the streetThe word on the streets says that if you are not in regular communication with someone, then you are not friends. While I do think this is true to an extent I do not believe this is a good metric for determining what a good friendship is like. What is now a good metric for it, you might ask. Well, the thing is, I feel that’s subjective. However, I would say it’s by how much they are there for you. Another realization of adulthood is understanding that everything is transactional and that’s fine.

People are drawn to people who they perceive as valuable. Someone they can be able to gain something from. Now this something can actually be anything. It could be financial support, emotional support, academic support and so on, which is perfectly okay as I said. Heck, what are the perks of having friends if I can’t use them? You might say the wording sounds off but it is what it is and it is fine. I use them and they use me, I understand this balance. Of course, I won’t take advantage of them, they are my friends.

The problem lies in being friends with someone who totally relies on you for things without you being able to rely on them. While the idea of a perfect balance between the give-and-take relationship is not realistic, there is still a need for a semi-middle ground. Your friend should have your back and you have their back. That’s the unwritten rule.

Back to the word on the street. Well, I do have friends that I don’t speak daily to. I don’t think there is even any I talk every day with, although there are some I would probably chat with about 4 times a week. Yet if someone whom I haven’t spoken with in a month calls me and needs my help, I will do my best to help if I can. I won’t think about how he or she hasn’t spoken to me in a month before I decide to help out. That is how it should be.

Back to me fullyI have a lot of friend groups. People I met from my local church, people from my university (who make up most of my close friends now), people from the Nairaland community, people from anime communities and so on. What does this imply? I know a lot of people and a lot of people know me. This can be a gift and a curse sometimes. You are in a talking stage and the girl is mentioning how you know a lot of girls, in a not-so-good way. What she fails to see is that you do know a lot of girls but also a lot of boys. This article is not about my non-existent love life, maybe one day I will write about love again.

The various friend groups mean I actually can’t be in touch with all at the same time. I understand we are now adults and might not have as much time as before but we can make do with the little we have. This is why I love to hang out with them when I can, which is usually when I visit the city they are in. While I do not believe keeping fully in touch is a metric for friendship, I believe we can intentionally create time for one another. This is why despite the distance, I have been making attempts to hang out virtually too. I do hope you get to do what works for you and makes your relationship with friends blossom better.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash