Those who quickly show the marks of friendship to each other wish to be friends, but are not friends unless they both are lovable and know the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise quickly, but friendship does not.~ Aristotle
I actually started this draft after watching AY on Chude’s show last week and subsequently got distracted. But then I read a tweet about Basketmouth’s reaction yesterday and decided to finish it.
Even before I watched Basketmouth’s recent interview with Nedu Wazobia and his crew I already wrote that the two comedians were neither good nor true friends and may never be. Basketmouth just confirmed this. I mean why would you owe me and I will be begging for forgiveness? For ages for that matter? Even gatecrashed your wedding? What offence are we even talking about? For using the available means to try and get paid money I earned? Oh come on! The animosity between them is definitely deeper than 30k but that is their headache. It only brings me to my point of latching on to the keyboard this morning.
Recently, a friend who seemed concerned about my sudden inactivity on Facebook rang to check up on me. After exchanging pleasantries he asked if my sudden inactivity was because my ‘friends’ now avoid my page since I became Obidient. I laughed long before reminding him of our previous discussion some years back. Then he was also worried that I appeared to be losing ‘friends’ over my adamant support for the Buhari administration.
You see friendship is one thing I cherish. For many years I had a plaque on my door that read “Friends make the world go round”. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines friendship as a state of enduring affection, esteem, intimacy, and trust between two people. Notice my emphasis on the word two. Friendship isn’t really for three people because as they say, three is a crowd. It is a bond between two people.
My late dad added that it is often one party that bears the burden of friendship. Let me break this down a bit. Over the years I’ve seen many cases of one party doing more than the other in a friendship and I will use myself as an example.
If there have been a thousand calls between me and my best friend, I can tell you that he rang 900 times. Had we maintained the same frequency of reaching for the phone to ring each other we could have had only 200 calls. That is 800 fewer discussions and of course, you know what that means.
But does it show he cares more or that I care less? Definitely not! If friendship is measured by who cares more or less then in my dictionary that is no friendship. Ours can be likened to Aristotle’s model of friendship. We are not bonded together through need, utility, or familial duty, but rather through long years of kindness, mutual respect and loyalty.
Aristotle described this thus: “Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good-and goodness is an enduring thing.”
It is the good virtues like kindness, mutual respect and loyalty we represent over the years that provide the incentive for sustaining the bond of friendship.
So back to the convo with my worried friend. I told him that many of those who avoided my page a few years ago are now my ‘friends’ and in the same vein if I switch my political support tomorrow those ‘friends’ who are now avoiding my page will sneak back and start clapping.
You see social media makes it easier to have friends these days. Friend requests/suggestions are usually made according to algorithms like common friends and shared interests. And some people mistakenly assume they have made friends. That is why you see people bringing confidential issues to social media with the laughable caption “Friends what should I do?”
True friendship is neither based on a few years of social media interaction nor built on shared socio-political ideologies. The fact that you and I believe Nsala is the best soup in the world will never trump the experience of enjoying it together at Ada Enyi’s restaurant. Think about it, your ride-or-die friends who always have your back are usually those who have travelled the same path. They are those that have shared secrets, drank and even did a blood oath with you.
As a disciple of the time-tested theory of 5 close friends, I usually describe people I meet on social media as what they are; social media friends. This is because I know that many are what Aristotle described in Nicomachean Ethics Book VIII as utility friends (where both people derive some benefit from each other) and pleasure friends (where both people are drawn to the other’s wit, good looks, or other pleasant qualities).
It then follows that as these needs, beliefs and principles evolve, this type of friendship begins to fade because we no longer receive the benefits. But should I write off decades of a relationship based on loyalty, shared experiences and mutual trust because a friend supports what I term to be a failed administration? Or should my friends discard me because they no longer get dopamine from my posts? Of course not. Doing so will mean we placed a higher value on transient beliefs and benefits above inherent goodness, individuality and trust.
In reality, some of my best friends are not even on social media. And those who are there value our relationship above whatever ideological differences we may have. I say this because my definition of authentic friendship is based on the famous Kate Angell saying; “A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun’!”
Nevertheless, all I have said does vitiate the fact that I’ve forged valuable friendships on social media. I have met wonderful people on different platforms. People who have supported me without even knowing what I look like. And over the years there are some I can now truly call my friends.