To consider and treat someone as your friend is one of the best ways to maintain good relations with others. Friendship is the highest form of affinity in human relations – It turns strangers to blood. And without it, all other relationships would be mechanical – going through the motions – without joy and happiness. For example, for love to be complete between a man and his wife, they must also be friends, same for brothers, sisters, parents, and even with God – in fact, all relationships must have at its core a reasonable amount of friendship to succeed. The highest honor you can bestow on a man is to address him as your friend – that kind of recognition has great weight!
I learned that to consider and treat someone as your friend can help you maintain your mental and emotional even physical health. You see, it used to be very difficult to go in and out of my Estate. The area with over 1,000 houses was only assessed using a narrow bridge that is about 150 metres long, and it was just one lane – cars from one direction cross at a time and then stop for cars from the other direction to cross. There was usually a long queue, stretching up to a kilometer sometimes, during the peak hours of morning rush and evening after work hours. The queue usually got worse if the side with heavier traffic has to give way for the other side to use the Bridge. Then we sometimes had gridlocks when Drivers from both sides of the road would insist on their right and enter the Bridge at the same time, completely blocking movement. The most annoying was when drivers from down the queue would leave the line and try to force their way across the Bridge in a typical sharp Nigerian ‘wa wa wa’ driving style.
So on this day after about 10 minutes of waiting for the Bridge to clear, I saw from my rearview mirror a Driver maneuvering through the shrubs alongside the road, cutting the line to get to the Bridge ahead of all of us who have been waiting. The closer he got to me the higher my anger and disgust also rose. And I prepared things to tell him when he got within earshot. But as soon as I could see the Driver and recognize him, I got disarmed, he was my friend. All of a sudden all the anger fizzled away and was replaced by concern for him. ‘I hope he’s ok’. ‘Well, I am sure he has a good reason to shunt’. Bla blab blah blah blab tales! In fact, wetin remain na for me to hail am for jumping the line.
Did you notice what happened? From anger to concern, disgust to tacit approval, foe to friend. What a reversal that was. We have conditioned ourselves to make excuses for our friends. We will find a way to rationalize their bad behavior and continue to love them. Their sorrow na our sorrow, their joy na our joy. In fact, we are ready to die for our true friends! Think about it, how do you feel about someone when you say of him ‘He is my friend?’ A nice glow permeates your being. You are calm, at rest, and can let your guards down. You are at peace with the person’s behaviour and you would readily make excuses for his misbehavior. ‘He is my friend’ seems to be the wonder word when dealing with people. It makes engaging them delightful!
Instead of being angry when people fail you or make you sad or lash out angrily just say in your heart ‘he is my friend’. He is one of us’ ‘na my man’! The remarkable thing about this phrase is that whether the person is your friend or not, or even a sworn enemy, the moment you say that someone is your friend your whole system becomes reconfigured to treat him kindly and not adversarially.
When in traffic & that terrible driver cuts in front of you, instead of cursing, mutter the wonder word in your breath ‘he is my friend’ and see it take away all anger and bitterness from your soul. Even when answering the phone, if you say ‘that is my good friend’ before answering you will notice that your tone is better and more endearing. When political, religious, and other differences come, just remember that the other person is your ‘friend’, ‘beloved wife’, ‘brother’, ‘na one of us’ and you’d see how this douses the tension, anger, and bitterness.
Next time you get angry, indifferent or experience any other negative emotion as you interact with others, just say in your heart ‘this person is my friend’, ‘na my man’ ‘my own person’ ‘my bone man’ & see how it calms you as you work stridently toward the achievement of your goals. And if everyone adopts this strategy in all their relations, what a wonderful world this would be! Good speed to you.
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