I NOW want to evolve into my own bosom friend, at least that way I can ward off gossip and avoid getting burnt in fires I do not start. Being friends with someone gives you company, a shoulder to cry on and a platform to share ideas. But the benefits end there.
"Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are," goes an old adage. "Birds of a feather perambulate in close proximity," bellows the equivalent.
"Walk not in the counsel of the wicked," the Holy Bible reads, while dwelling on the subject of friendship.
The English dictionary defines a friend as an associate who provides co-operation or assistance, a person you know well and regard with affection and trust and a person who backs a politician or a team etc.
People expect to see the qualities of a person in someone he plays with.
Those who live by the sword play together and so do those who are into praise and worship.
But it is not always like that. Some people with completely different characters play together and you shudder to think what brought them together.
A lawyer can be friends with a street kid and keep their friendship like that without problems.
Befriending certain characters is akin to joining a boxing club.
Scars of different shapes and sizes start manifesting themselves on your body owing to the violent nature of the friendship.
Visits to the police station and court appearances soon become trite and chances of being a guest at one of the State's correctional facilities start becoming real.
Through some friends, you become a permanent member of the United Nations.
Half the time you will be negotiating peace on their behalf while at times getting hurt in crossfire.
If your friend is a motor mouth and bellicose, you risk spending every morrow of the day you meet them being sutured by doctors.
"Oh . . . my son. Of all the people of your age, why did you choose Samson to be your friend? He is always fighting people and your name is not being spared. Can't you find someone civil enough to avoid embarrassment?" yours truely heard a certain gentleman being told straight in the eye by his mother.
And she was not wrong.
A good number of people out there mean no good. They bring more problems than good, yet we keep them as friends. You are haunted by the ghost of Christmas past if you do not see them. Kutonzwa moyo kurwadza usina kuriona zitsotsi iroro!
According to researchers, once you hit 20-something and over, you reach a point where your time becomes your most precious asset.
A bad friendship can drain our energy, so we seek to avoid them as much as possible.
This manner of prioritisation tends to put our relationships into prospective, by subconsciously implementing The Two Laws of Adult Friendship.
1. I will only spend time on/with subjects of obsession -- Just like your obsession with running, painting, or growing your own tomatoes, most of us will only initiate friendships with those who make the most of our time.
2. I must recognise realistic variables -- Yes, adult friendship is like a real life math problem -- helping us set realistic expectations. Sometimes we want to be closer with others, but we foresee responsibilities that can get understandably in the way.
What is the probability of Person X + (1 Husband + 2 Kids + 1 Kitten) /Full Time Job have of going out dancing with Person Y on a Friday night?
Somehow, you might find those few friends who get past this litmus test, but really aren't worth the energy you are wasting on them.
You might feel like a bad person when these types of thoughts start popping in your head.
If this is a constant concern in the friendship, rest assured that it's probably for the best.
According to experts, here are the three facts to consider if you think someone is a bad friend.
Lack of Eye Contact: It says something about a person when they can't look you in the eye. Having a bud that stares at you intensely is pretty creepy, but avoiding your gaze altogether is even worse: it's a sign of lacking intimacy in the relationship.
Take a notice of how many times your friend checks Facebook updates and tweets while you're in the middle of a conversation.
Or maybe there are more subtle instances, like avoiding eye contact while they breathlessly monologue in what's supposed to be a shared dialogue.
Paying attention to body language will trigger that they are being rude and should probably do a little listening, so they avoid your gaze out of selfishness.
An amigo who doesn't value you enough to pay the slightest subconscious attention to your needs of communication isn't a real friend to you.
Self-centered interaction: The strength of friendships is based on our interactions with one another. It's about what you enjoy about them, and what they enjoy about you.
That's why you can spend hours with your closest friends while literally doing nothing; you've built companionship that doesn't require more than the other's best interest.
Bad friends couldn't care less about your well-being or interest, and this shows in the context of your interactions. They'll hang out when it's convenient for them or generally ask surface level questions, if they ask any at all. Getting to know you isn't important -- they just find you a convenience for the moment.
Remember, a good friend will let you rant on a bad day, and an even better friend will tell you when to let something go without dismissing your feelings for the sake of their own good mood.
Seeking validation: There is a 50/50 chance about how the last major sign will show up in a weak friendship. It's a mystery as to why it doesn't scream in the moment that this relationship might be toxic, but the fact is, those who are poor at maintaining friendships often know it. One of the few times they will look at us in the eye is when they admit "I'm a bad friend."
It's not a statement that comes up once or twice when they admit to messing up. Toxic friends will keep telling you this just to hear you validate their behaviour. We've all been guilty of doing it, so that the cycle continues on.
The other 50 percent might be so diluted by their selfishness, that they feel it's OK to take you for granted. In either circumstance, the best way to be a real friend to a faux one is to tell them -- in a loving way -- that they suck.
Telling them that their behaviour is OK isn't going to help them or you; it will only make things worse. We will say something when friendships really matter to us, unless we are just as bad as they are. That's the double-edged sword to this revelation.
Recognising these traits in others might be hard to admit, but it's even harder to acknowledge that we might be the bad friend who needs to change.
Friendship and building relationships is as good as life itself, but there are instances when you feel like your resilience is being tested in the most difficult way.
Friends who sponge on you without offering anything in return or get you hated by their wives and relatives for crimes you didn't commit are bad.
I'd rather be my own best friend that having to nurse wounds arising from the misdeeds of someone else.