Friendship is a choice. I am not talking about being friends with someone because you are looking to get something out of them, whether it is a financial gain or any other kind of favour. I am talking about genuine friendship, the kind that requires nothing, the pure kind.

Friendship starts from a connection, one that doesn’t need anything. You connect with someone because of common interests, common qualities, common flaws even. Friendship doesn’t require any material thing, it doesn’t need money, trips, popping champagne, cars, references for business opportunities, none of that.

Friendship is a choice. It is about respect, mutual interests, it is about understanding, it is about compromise, it is about taking care of each other, it is about loving each other. Yes, it is about love. Friendship is a kind of love. Friendship might be the best type of love because it needs nothing to exist. I, for one, love my friends. I am not in love with them, but I love them. They have a special place in my heart, they are a part of me, and hopefully, I am an integral part of their lives!

Friendship is a choice. Who can ever force you to hang out with someone? That is impossible. Friendship exists because two people choose to be friends. Friendship cannot be applied forcefully. It just cannot happen. You choose, consciously, without any duress., to have a relationship with someone, a friendly relationship in this case. You see something in them, and they see something in you. You connect for reasons only both of you understand and your friendship needs to be defined by both of you, no one else. A friendship between two people doesn’t need to make sense to the outside world. It is always between the two parties. That’s it! We all have childhood friends, we have friends we made through work, school, trips, etc. We chose to be with them because they offer us smiles, laughs, peace, a little happiness, and not stress!

Friendship is a choice. No one can say friendship doesn’t go through stressful times. Friendships can end. Sometimes we break up with our friends and we never rekindle the friendship. Sometimes we realize the friendship should end as we have grown apart with our friends. It happens. Other friendships can be repaired, and we carry on. Sometimes, friendship can be stressed to the extreme. Those times are extremely stressful and tough. At times, within a friendship, there can be mistrust, there can be misunderstandings. Friendships are like branches; they can break if the wind is too strong or sometimes, they can bend and return to their original form. It is always the friends’ responsibility to fix or end the relationship. It takes two to tango.

Friendships require maintenance, which is no easy task, as you may very well know. Friendship requires care, friendship requires patience, friendship requires respect. Some friendships are easy, others aren’t. Friendships perfectly reflect people’s nature, which means they are moody, duplicitous, great, honest, dishonest, true, fake, real, malicious, etc. There is an unwritten rule stipulating that we must do everything we can to keep friendships intact. That is not true. Some friendships are like yogurt, they have an expiration date, and as sacrilegious it is to say, some friendships must end. Other friendships are like gold; they never rust, they are always shiny and beautiful. Some require a lot of maintenance; others require almost nothing. Some friends need more attention than others. As I said before, friendships reflect people’s nature, in all its diversity!

Never forget that friendship is a choice. The moment a friendship becomes a burden, the moment it becomes source of stress, the moment any friendship brings more bad moments than good and it becomes a pattern, a trend even, then sit your ass down and re-examine the friendship. Perhaps you are at fault, perhaps the other person is. You will only understand what is going on once you have an open, honest, unfiltered conversation with the other party, which is no walk in the park. Humans have a tendency of not accepting responsibility for their shortcomings and faults, so that open and honest conversation may not go as planned. Yet, the only way to make sure a friendship lasts and flourishes, it is to be honest, brutally honest. One must say how they feel, what they think. One must accept responsibility for their actions, deeds and words. Friendships sometimes cannot survive betrayal, hypocrisy, jealousy and envy. Well, true friendships shouldn’t have any of those flaws to begin with, I believe. Friendship is a choice and some friendships have an expiration date. I could write so much more about it but this will do it.

Aside from my family, my friends are the most important people in my life. As a matter of fact, some people have been my friends so long that I consider them family. I have nothing bad to say about my friends, they are quite exceptional. We get along, we fight, we make up, we take care of each other, we love each other, and we carry on. They take me as I am, as difficult as that is. I am no piece of cake; I am aware of what an asshole I can be and how difficult and moody I can be at times. I was perfect in another lifetime but not in this one apparently. I cherish my friends and I hope I show it to them regularly and I am sure I can do better in that department. May the Gods bless them as much as they have blessed me.

Take care of your friends, they are more valuable than you realize. Give them your time, your love, your consideration, and respect. Those who annoy you and don’t deserve your friendship anymore, well…Ending the relationship isn’t a sin, it is just the right and healthy thing to do. Don’t ever be afraid of ending a friendship that wasn’t working. Once it is over, you will be smiling anyway! That is a guarantee.

To you, my friends, I say thank you for your presence, love and care all these years and I love you.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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