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What you need to know about friendship dynamics and how to cope

Handsome young African man holding book and smiling while standing against university with his friends chatting in the background ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes

‘When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are’’-Donald Miller

When I was 7, my best friend was Edna. I met Edna in my new school, the class teacher had suggested that she was best suited to sit with me since I needed someone to guide me around the school and get me acquainted with the school culture and rules. Edna and I did everything together as children would, we played together, we ate together, we studied together, and that to me was a definition of friendship.

As you would imagine, our friendship would be threatened whenever we did an exam paper. But for the longest time, I had accepted the fact that Edna was a very smart girl as she always emerged to be the top student in any exam we did. I admired her, I wondered how she used to do it, how she maintained that position no matter how difficult the papers were. That kept me glued to the friendship up until the day, I got to be the first in the end year test and yes, Edna was pissed. So pissed that she canceled our friendship. I had lost my best friend. But was she really my friend? or was she was just comfortable with me being second to her?

If only we knew the impact that our circle has in our lives and if only we knew how to categorize the people in our lives. Everyone is different. Clearly, even without realizing it, my friendship with Edna was purely based on performance. She was a classmate, more like a colleague and the competition was bound to tear us apart.

Friends represent different traits of characters in us, and each of them should be handled differently. Just because B really knows how to have a good time in the club, doesn’t mean A is boring because she would rather stay home on a weekend and binge watch shows. After all, we all could use a nice chill time with such a friend when we are stressed or burnt out.

Knowing and appreciating their different personalities and the roles they play in our lives,as well as creating boundaries is key to having healthy friendships. Having said that, be very careful of who you allow in your circle and what you think they are to you.

Walk with people who add into your life and not subtract, multiply and not divide, and remember, be the friend you would want to have.

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