BUILDING STRATEGIC FRIENDSHIPS.

The formation of childhood friendships isn’t as complicated and “ intentionally” demanding like adulthood friendships. It’s much easy if you ask me or perhaps anybody who can recall their childhood experiences when it comes to friendship.

It was so easy to classify all our relationships under the umbrella called friendship.
People were automatically our friends because we sat in the same bus, went to the same church, wore the same Christmas dress coincidentally, were our next door neighbors, were friends of friends and the most epic of them all- we basically were friends to people because we were in the same class.

While some of these friendships have stood over the test of time, many of them had lost its loyalty and significance in our lives because we changed schools or house locations or just grew older.

The truth is, we don’t grow into adulthood with the same mentality of making friends like we did as children. In the adult world, our colleagues at work, the people with same religious faith, our neighbors, our most loyal customer, our friend’s friend or the lady or guy we sat close to at the theater do not automatically become a friend just for the above reasons. We are moved beyond these reasons.

A lot of heartaches have evolved from not realizing this truth, and in the end expecting the same kind of commitment from everyone we meet in life.

Some people are privileged to have strong and lasting friendships with their childhood friends or childhood school mates or colleagues. Some aren’t. And the absence of such strong bonds mean one must put themselves out there in the places they can meet these people to begin with in the first place.

Adult friendship is an investment. Every investment has its risks. But we all love investments for the most awesome part of it- Its returns. We know when we put in something, we are likely to get equal or more in return,and rightly so is investing in adult friendships.

Often, I have realized that a lot of people want to find themselves in people’s life but don’t want to invest themselves in there.

We believe that once you show up at a door, it has to be opened. But no, showing up isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to push or pull down a wall to get inside. You need to prove that you deserve to be allowed in especially if you want friendship with someone who already know their worth. It is not a matter of Pride as some people will like to call it when they aren’t embraced, Truth be told, anyone that has built a healthy friendship over the years with themselves and people wouldn’t just allow somebody in just because they showed up. Showing up is something, at least the first step. But it isn’t just enough. You knock on the door, sometimes you call out a name, and until we have realized that we’ve done all we can and still aren’t let in, we do not have the evidence to prove that we gave a shot only that it wasn’t successful. Similar scenario works around friendships.

We believe that once you show up at a door, it has to be opened. But no, showing up isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to push or pull down a wall to get inside. You need to prove that you deserve to be allowed in especially if you want friendship with someone who already know their worth. It is not a matter of Pride as some people will like to call it when they aren’t embraced, Truth be told, anyone that has built a healthy friendship over the years with themselves and people wouldn’t just allow somebody in just because they showed up. Showing up is something, at least the first step. But it isn’t just enough. You knock on the door, sometimes you call out a name, and until we have realized that we’ve done all we can and still aren’t let in, we do not have the evidence to prove that we gave a shot only that it wasn’t successful. Similar scenario works around friendships.

-Jo Nketiah

And this is the part I want to stress, it doesn’t mean people are rude, no, it means they are mindful of their circle and they value it. People are mindful of the drama and psychological stress that comes with relationships with people. People are mindful of traumatic experiences and their corresponding triggers and yes won’t allow you in just because you want in.

Being a social media personality, I get a lot of friend requests on day to day. To be honest, sometimes I am overwhelmed with the process of accepting who and who I can’t. I am not a fun of random selection either. But there are days I have accepted a request because I received a DM to accept a request to be followed. It gets easier to know who wants to be around for what reason. I can tell you for a fact, people don’t like the brand i am building because they find me cute. But I believe they like the brand because they find my words to resonate with them or at least I attempt to speak and write for them. And it’s easy to let these people in because we belong to the same path of enlightenment. As they turn to depend on my influence, I also count on their companionship. It’s a two way journey.

When I go to conferences or meetings, I try my best to at least get acquainted with few people. Sometimes I go a long way to ask for a contact to reconnect if need be. To be strategic with friendship we must allow ourselves to explore and show up with what we also have to offer at the table.

Below are some few things I will want to share on strategic friendships.

-BUILD ONE BUT DON’T FORCE ONE
I always see friendship as a mutual work. I revere it as an empire that require the effort and energy of equal or close to equal energy of different and diverse unique ways to a person. In our desire to be strategic in making friends, we cannot force someone into one. All we can do is to show up with our tools ready to work on one and if for some reasons we are not welcomed, which often will not be personal, we can always pick our tools to other construction sites and build one.

-SHOW UP WITH WHAT YOU HAVE : Everyone has something to offer but sadly they don’t. Often a lot of people show up with absolutely nothing to offer in freinship. They don’t contribute to paying the bills, they don’t support businesses, they don’t call, they don’t text. They always want to be at the receiving end. And almost often they just want someone as a friend as if it was a trophy to be won.
Everybody has something, when building a friendship, make sure you show up with something. At least offer to pay the bills sometimes, be the first to text, call sometimes, in fact just offer something.

-BE WHERE YOU WILL FIND YOUR PEOPLE.
You are not guaranteed that you will find “your” people always in the spaces you except to find them but truth be told, you are likely to find some around than not at all. If you want to build friendship with creative people, you should show up at places you will see them.
My job as a medical Sonographer gives me the opportunity to offer extra help to people i have acquainted one or twice with before, either directly or not when they walk into our facility for medical attention. Sometimes I quickly spot the “I kinda know you vibe “ and most often I am right. In those situation, I am always equipped to do the best I can to make them feel very comfortable and if possible take care of them myself and share that little union of “acquaintanceship with them”. It’s always a good feeling to walk into a place and realize that you know somebody that can offer help in the most rightful ways. So attend conferences, go to the beach, join a club, go the gym, enroll in a class, at least explore the places you are likely to find your people.

-LEAN INTO WHAT INTEREST THE PEOPLE YOU WANT.

Truth be told, Our adult lives are organized and revolved around the realms of our work, family, passion, side businesses etc and that means we may get much opportunity to cultivate relationships that revolves around these things like our hobbies and personal interests. We need to find time to reconnect by leaning into these businesses.
There is something I have observed over the years. Some of my friends use to “blame” me for not inviting them for some programs and honestly for some I don’t because I know they don’t have interest in some of those things of mine. I do not like exclusive invitations. Often I put an open invitation out there especially when it comes to wanting to spend time with people. I have opened my home more than twice to host people who were willing to spend some time talking, hiking or meditating because those are the things that I love. That doesn’t mean I do not involve friends who don’t have interest in these things, it just means I am highly likely to bond well with someone who I feel share similar interest with me. It’s always about mutual upliftment and Joy.

Sometimes, we may not feel it but if we really are concern about having someone in our lives, we can go the extra mile to at least be open to love what they do. Sometimes we haven’t even tried it yet to know that we can love those things. We must give ourselves the permission to explore.

-DON’T GO INTO FRIENDSHIP WITH THE “SAVIOR’S MENTALITY”.
There was a time someone sent me a DM and requested we become close friends. And when I humbly told the person that I wasn’t interested in the “close friend” tag but an acquaintanceship, he completely tagged me as rude and adding that I never knew when I will need his help.
Now, I see a lot of people use that excuse to make friends. Truth is, you don’t need to get to a certain level in friendship with someone to help them and what makes you think they wouldn’t have any help apart from you?
We can’t blackmail or buy our way into people’s life with the “ Savior mentality”. A healthy friendship isn’t between a savior and a prisoner. It’s between two simple humans in need of each other’s help.

In the nut shell, we cannot live in isolation and neither can we live in total dependency. We have to find some balance and while some of these balances may come to us with little or no effort at all, some too may have to be worked on with strategies and intentionality. The other thing I often tell people is that it’s okay to go into anything with expectations. Too much and you either disappointed or happy you worth the price. Too little and you are either surprised in a good way or complacent with “not good enough.”

It’s a risk either ways.

But I still hope we start picking up tools to work on ourselves and our friendships, that’s the only way we can get better.

With love,
Jo Nketiah

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