HANDLING TRANSITIONS IN FRIENDSHIPS

Sustaining Friendships when life changes.

Between myself and her I don’t know who comes out often to say “ I miss you or I love you” the most. Her is the name of the close friends I have experienced and still navigating a massive transitioning in friendship with.

First I use to think it was me, probably I heard myself saying it more to her in my head but not often in person but I think for some time now, I have been more at the receiving end of that gift of vulnerability.

“I miss us” that’s what she sent to me.

To be honest, She’s said that a number of times and I have too but there are some days in this phase that makes me doubt her and even myself because I was somehow grieved in my own way of what looked like a loss of Friendship. We met at the university and I was a year ahead of her. Some people thought we looked a little bit alike and it kinda made it easier to flow but as the years went by I began to notice how different we were. She loves light, coming in late and loves casual cuddling. I am the opposite of all of this. I don’t enjoy cuddling. My receptors are dead I guess. Ha!

She is well mannered and structured and well, I am sometimes, but my crazy part as an artist gives me the liberty to dive into my own kind of weirdness.We’ve actually been present in each others life for a long time but as life began to happen for us individually in the pursuit of our own dreams and goals, our friendship began to shrink into those challenges come with growth as well. I felt I was the only one that didn’t feel belonged in her “world”. She is very corporate and hangs out with high profile corporate tribes but as it truly was, she also never felt belonged in my world of “crazy artistic humans”.

We’ve had a lot of conversations around finding away around the challenge a lot of times but sometimes things are what they are, you just don’t know but it works for a while and it doesn’t anymore. And this transition was happening at the zenith of rediscovering of myself, at least if not for both of us, for me.

I woke up at dawn to the notification on 22nd February
“I miss us. Don’t know if we can ever be us again. Just think you should know I love you Josephine”.

I love being called Jo. But Josephine, it is the closest thing to home especially when it’s coming from close friends and they don’t do it often. So when they do, I feel like they are calling my soul out unto something“. Those moments, being called Josephine is been seen through and through with no barricades.

I honestly replied. “ Sometimes I do”.

And then I opened up more.

“I just sometimes feel clueless as to how to
really act anymore. And I know it may seem
like personal but I just have lost soo much of
the “old” Jo who was bubbly and all over the
place to a “new one” who is more assertive
and reserve and just wanting to push hard
towards my goals. You know what I think,
I think we can let go of the idea of who we
once were and work with the new us.
I mean I see you too! Big smart ass boss
much stronger girl. You are getting more into
the corporate space and I am getting more
into the art space. So instead of how we use to spend time today maybe we can use our current phase to get better. We can schedule and go on dates. Be present & support each other’s program wholeheartedly. Sleep overs and sometimes video calls. It sucks that we have to do all these things again as if we now getting to know each other, but girl I think we can use who we are now to get back to who we once were.
And yes I love you too.”

Then she replied back
“I totally get that. We can’t be who and how we were years ago. That would be no growth.
And I understand you had a whole phase
where you had to evolve and find you and I
am glad you did. Sure let’s do that. I will be on standby”

The next conversation was a “count me in” comment on a project I am embarking on followed by “ I want to get some cookbooks. Can we do a baking or cooking date once a month at least” ?

Which I said yes to all of them.

I love Friendships. Beautiful friendships fortify me in many ways I can’t even bring myself to admit fully. I am generally a lover with no or little boundaries to how much I can love the people who means a lot to me irrespective of their gender. I have been asked a few times if I was gay or in a relationship with some random guy because of how I explicitly love on people and go about showing it with all vulnerability and openness.

Transitions can be challenging especially if it’s a good friendship. For the not so good ones, it often seems like the best opportunity to say your goodbyes.
But goodbyes are too soon when they are coming from good and fortifying friendships.

When Kwabena and Fafa got married, some traditions we used to have together finally died. For the four of us, we usually individually come up with decisions and vote on them. Last week, I called Fafa to get her opinion about fixing a date for us to go visit Esi and it hit me right there when after what seemed like an agreed date, she added. “ Let me speak to my husband and get his opinion on this.”

In my mind I was like, you know “your husband” is Eddie right” but I understood it so well and respected that boundary whole heartedly.

I mean I could have picked the phone and tried to convince Eddie to vote for my proposed date, but I knew that both were individually my friends but together they were a team and that meant something little will be altered.

So these are my personal discovery when it comes to handling transitions.

  1. Be honest about the change in “phase” and talk about it.
  2. Accept that things have change and don’t pretend they haven’t.
  3. Embrace how you feel about the change.
  4. Ask more questions for clarity. ( Was it just life or it’s something particularly that has been done.)
  5. Find a new way to relive the friendship.

Her isn’t the only friendship I am having my own share of transitioning in. Everyday something about my friendships with people are either budding or dissolving. And somehow the one thing that keeps me grounded is to let myself experience these ever unwavering blessedness of what it truly means to be called a friend , to be seen, to be loved and to feel belonged as one.
– Jo Nketiah

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3 Comments

  1. I love this
    Yeah i see myself in this transitional phase and sometimes i felt like i was the odd one trying to break the friendship… Now i understand, we’re growing differently and I’m more focused on me now… I hope I’ll be able to relive the friendship from where we are now …
    Thank you Jo

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