Friendship is not something you learn in school, but if you have not learned the meaning of friendship, then you really haven’t learnt anything.

– Mohammed ail

Everyone needs a true friend; not a lover, just a friend. Human beings are social by nature, our very survival as a species depends on it. Friends fill the void of siblings that God never gave us and in some instances they are better than the siblings that God gave us for we have the flexibility of choosing our friends. As essential as friendship is, creating a healthy and lasting relationship is harder than said. In this age of the social media craze, meaningful relationships are clouded.

Friendship is like a business that requires investment and continuous monitoring, like a portfolio; money is easier made than kept and so is friendship. Well invested friendships are very important, true friends not only know who we are but who we were and who we seek to be. Good friends make life enjoyable; they lessen grief and provide the chumminess to help us achieve our personal goals.

In the realm of friendship, one of the most important things to consider is that some friends don’t stick, as you grow older, perspectives change, people change; friends get over you and you get over some friends that turn to baggage, it is not betrayal, it is simply part of growing up. True friends are those that stick to you through the thick and thin.

There are three types of friends; the first is of convenience and pleasure, the second is of utility; which is based on common objectives and the third is true friendship. The third is the most important of the three, it is virtuous and accepts the good, the bad and the ugly of friendship, all taken in one simple breath of acceptance.

One of the most important tips in maintaining lasting friendships is understanding who you are, what you like and what you don’t like. Friendship is founded on the concept of like mindedness; the sharing of similar interests. It is important to know the limits of your friends and in equal measure, for them to know your limits. Clear lines must be drawn, lines over which none is to cross over. Know which buttons not to press and which to press.

Maintaining healthy relationships is dependent on knowing that you are not special; that you are human and that we all make mistakes depending on our perspectives. Learn the skill of maintaining a third eye; it acts as a honest critic of yourself. By doing this, you learn to critic your own words and to decipher if what you are about to do or say will be receptive to your friends. Be conscious of yourself, this enables one to take ones emotions and image captive. The most powerful skill is the skill of holding your emotions captive while taking control of what your personality picks off from friends and family.

In the face of a new friendship that is at the risk of collapse due to the few flaws in your new friend, it is better to compromise by finding a solution around the problem. This saves on the energy of looking for another friend.

Categorize your friends according to your interactions with them; only fools have the world for a circle of friends. Maintain a small and very tightly knit circle of friends, understand each of your friends and know the limits to how far you can go in dealing with them. It would be unwise to reveal the finer details of your life at work or to acquaintances. Details on who you are dating, your finances and your family woes are better left to very close friends.  Revealing very sensitive information to your outermost circle creates the impression of someone that is incredibly stifling, demanding and intoxicating. It is wise to say less than necessary.

Friends, even those closest to you always hold some form of mystery and unfathomability. Some aspects of their lives are closely guarded. For this reason, people tend to judge us by our appearance; what you wear, your words and actions are your biggest selling points. It is only the shallow minded and foolish that do not understand this fact. Invest in an image that is cut out of the fabric of who you want to be; words such as thank you, please and i am sorry go a long way in building strong friendship investment portfolios.

Whether you are good hearted or bad hearted, people will always play games with you, it is in man’s social nature to do is bad to have no friends but it Is worse to have no enemies. It does not matter if you are at school, in the corporate environment or in the running of a business, enemies will always exist. Failure to manage enemies leads to the wastage of time, energy and resources in managing insults that annoy you. Some people will always interpret your actions as a threat to their agendas.

I have learnt through experience that the best strategy in dealing with enemies is to show no mercy, to crush them into fine power, burn the remains and to scatter the ashes over the sea. I know it sounds harsh and evil but playing the “nice guy” and being defensive is perceived to be a sign of weakness by the majority of people. Letting an enemy get away with an attack only encourages scavengers; those that wait for the lion to make the kill and move in on the remains, they slowly nibble on your bones while you lay dead. The genius in avoiding this is to concentrate your forces on the weakness of the lion, attack the lion and the hyenas will scatter.

In life you get what you tolerate, make the enemies feel the consequences of their actions against you. Striking an enemy should however never lead to physical confrontation. Asked to choose between cowardice and physical confrontation, I would choose none, for they are both one and the same. It is not by muscles, speed or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character and judgment; mind over matter.

Being of an average body, I have had my fair share of bullies and I have taught myself through the years to deal with them. Direct and open confrontations on certain issues can be counter intuitive. It is sometimes better to have other people fight your battles for you; planting information and moving pawns like a chess grand master; seeing days, weeks, months and years into the future, anticipating every move and reaction. In an argument it is better to set up the enemy to their own words, this way they dig their own pitfalls. That is the real genius of power and friendship.

-Antony Mwangi.


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