By Itty Okopide
“I have a small circle of friends and a wide circle of acquaintances,” my best friend of over fifteen years, Abigail, told me over the weekend. It was difficult to fathom why she couldn’t receive help from people who had the capacity to help when she was in need sometimes.
“I get it,” was my reply to her. Also, I can’t say that I don’t understand when she said she couldn’t receive help from people. Everyone has quite a number of people they refer to as friends but not everyone is truly our friend.
Till date, people have not been able to draw a fine line between friendship and acquaintanceship, that is why it bothers them when their “friend” doesn’t act like they expected. The next question would be, how do you draw a line?
WHAT MATTERS MOST TO ME
For me, it is none other than the truth, how comfortable and real I feel when I am around you, and the fact that we don’t want to lose each other. This has been what I have always looked out for in people before I regarded them as friends. Unfortunately, not many of them could give me that, nor could I.
THE START OF MY FRIENDSHIP WITH ABBY
At the start of my friendship with Abby, we were both in secondary school, and I was her roommate. I would borrow some toiletries from her when I had run out of mine and she would do the same too. Then we began to do things together like go to class, wash, go for sports and take a shower.
As little as we were, we would both make sacrifices for each other. I remember once when she missed her CA Test because she had to accompany me to the health centre. I also made sacrifices for her.
Whenever we had a misunderstanding, we just worked it out without being too concerned about who was at fault. Eventually we graduated from school and both gained admission into two different colleges. We kept in touch and it was always fun whenever we reunited.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
Sixteen years later, many things have changed in my friendship with Abby. The fact that we are now pursuing our different career goals and we care for each other more. It is funny when I hear people say friends, siblings and couples are bound to fight and not talk to each other. The truth is, we have not had a misunderstanding that made us cease communication for over thirty minutes. The same goes for my biological siblings.
I realised that the older I get, the more I long for things that bring me joy, peace, and happiness. I tend to bother myself a lot so I will not be caught up with a friend who is untrustworthy, who I am afraid to be open to and who I don’t enjoy being in their company.
With this, I think I have been able to draw a fine line between friendship and acquaintanceship. Abby should be the first to read this, just incase she has a list of what makes one a friend and the other an acquaintance. I think she does.