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Understanding Friendship by ajuksobi: 9:26am On Mar 11
Ajukura, Fidelis O.
10th March, 2024.

My attention was drawn to a write up done by one of our brothers in a social media platform where he showered immeasurable encomium on a certain prominent fellow in our community for being a true friend. According to him, this friend of his, without delay came to his rescue when he was in trouble. Indeed, it is an exhilarating experience to have a friend show up when one is in distress. After going through the carefully worded dirthyramb in honour of a good friend, I began to do some inquiry into the concept of friendship. What exactly is friendship? Is friendship possible? Can man survive without friendship? Can an act of generosity be equated with friendship? Is it possible for a man to offer an act of generosity with an ulterior motive? Who is a true friend? Is it possible to meet someone today and call him/her your friend?

Friendship is an integral part of human life. Even lunatics have people they see as friends. Friendship traverses all the cultures of the world. 'Friendship' according to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 'is of enduring affection, intimacy and trust between two people'. Every friendship must possess three fundamental ingredients such as; positivity, long-standing and cooperation.

We live in a society where people are not sincere - they manipulate everything including friendship to their own advantage. As a result, many people have concluded that friendship is a sham. But it will shock some people to learn that friendship is made possible by certain cosmic or elemental forces. When people of like minds or character come in contact with one another, friendship is born. Our father used to tell us how his friendship with Moses Odila started. According to our father, he noticed that among all the young men, especially those from our tribe - Ogba, Moses was extraordinarily decent, he conducted himself in a respectful and orderly manner. While our father formed this opinion about Moses, Moses had also done same about our father. This is how their friendship was birthed. This friendship never waxed cold, it grew from strength to strength. The bond holding their friendship was so strong such that nothing could come between them. Their religious belief was kept far away from their friendship. Despite the fact that my father was a member of Church of Christ and Moses a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, they tagged along very well. Their friendship received a boost from the fact that they looked alike. They were like twins. There was hardly anything they didn't buy together. Their clothes, hats, walking sticks etc were always in pairs. The friendship was so strong that they called their wives the same name - Roselyn. Their friendship was known by all within our community and Port Harcourt where they lived such that they began to complain that if something eventually happens to one of them, the other will not last. When our father passed away in 2010, his friend, Moses could not withstand the blow, he followed suit the next year. This is what friendship is all about.

Friendship is much more than how many of us look at it. An Australian legal philosopher, John Finnis in his integral human fulfilment theory recognized 'friendship' as one of the basic goods of life. To Finnis, the interplay of these basic goods viz; life, knowledge, practical reasonableness, play, aesthetic experience, friendship and religion produces human fulfilment. For Finnish, friendship is a basic good that must be sought for its own sake and not as a means to an end.

From this inquiry, it is obvious that friendship transcends act of generosity especially, those done with the intention of getting public attention. While acts of kindness or generosity should be applauded, it should be known that they can be used to launder the image of the one (usually politicians) offering the assistance.

In conclusion, who can we refer to as a friend? A friend is one who is there for you regardless of the time and situation. A friend must be one who doesn't judge you - he accepts you the way you are. A friend will never speak ill of you or try to hurt you. A friend is one you never get tired of being with. A friend is one who is always loyal, trustworthy and willing to tell you the truth. A friend is one you can entrust your life, spouse, children, properties etc in his hands and do not entertain any fear. A friend is one who makes you happy.

Anything outside of this is nothing but fake.

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