by Aderonke Adebanjo
Marry your friend. I’m an advocate for that. After all, when the butterflies subside, friendship is usually what real relationships are made of, right?
I feel that we have lost the art of making friends. I think part of the reason is a lot of people feel they don’t have time to make friends. If you’re over 30 and you’re ready to get married, perhaps, because you believe your biological clock is ticking, amongst other reasons, you wouldn’t be trying to devote time to making friends with a guy before actually officially dating him, right?
I guess that’s why a lot of people say you should check out your childhood friends to see if there are any eligible bachelors or bachelorettes you can get with. I don’t believe that the length of time you’ve known someone determines the success of your marriage. I’ve seen enough evidence to conclude that there is no formula when it’s comes to duration of the friendship and how that determines marital success.
So I guess it’s safe to say it’s the quality and not quantity that counts. But, what do you do when none of your childhood friends makes the cut?
You’ll often hear me say that people need to be true to themselves and each other in relationships. I believe that’s what real friendships are built on -openness, honesty, truthfulness, and just a general sense of “I can be myself with this person”, no façades.
I also think this is something that can be done later in life with a little more conscious effort instead of automatically checking off the list to see if any new acquaintance is ‘spouse material’ and this doesn’t leave room for people to get to know each other.
My recommendation is simply don’t be quick to start an “official” relationship. When two people meet and there’s instant physical attraction and connection, the next step is to pursue (as initiated by either person because I hear girls ACTIVELY and FIERCELY chase these days). But I think if and when possible, the urge should be resisted.
I strongly believe that when we don’t resist the urge to act on our emotions and attractions towards someone, we are usually bound to make mistakes and misjudge the person. Our judgment would be clouded by the most irrelevant traits the person possesses (physical/emotional in this case). So for example, for ladies who like “fine boys”, or if he’s “loaded”, when one approaches you, chances are you would give in even before you start to consider his other traits.
These decisions are usually subconscious too. I’m not saying people shouldn’t have standards (I believe very strongly in standards) but we have to let the most important things drive our choices. Stuff like, is he/she a good person (however you define good), do you enjoy his/her company, do you have similar interests, etc. This is stuff we all know, right? And this is stuff that takes time to appreciate and stuff you discover in a platonic relationship. But sometimes, when desperate times seem to call for desperate measures, we might base our decisions on the immediate and say “we’ll develop a friendship as we go along”.
It worked for some by the special grace of God, but I think it’s safer to take time to get to know people well enough.
For those of you thinking you’ve been single too long to try and start making friends now because you feel it’s a waste of time what about the relationships that didn’t work? You might consider those time wasted (even though I believe every experience teaches us something) so I say why not risk “wasting” time again strategically, if you know what I mean (it wouldn’t be a waste but figuratively speaking). After all, they say, “if you want to get what you’ve never had, you have to do what you’ve never done.” Let’s start making friends again.
Don’t dwell on the possibility of a relationship with people. Free your mind. Notice stuff about them with a clear mind. Easier said, I know, but you gotta make a conscious effort this time. And you never know within a few months, you’ll know enough, no strings attached and it just might blossom. This would also mean making many friends. This is not just for one person. Get to know as many people as possible. Be open. Be free.
What do you guys think? Do you agree that we’ve lost the art of making friends?
About the author: Aderonke is a radio and television broadcaster, singer, songwriter, poet, lover of LOVE a.k.a. hopeful romantic(!), and daughter of God. She enjoys good conversation and has a great laugh. You can catch her on Smooth 98.1FM and on Twitter @aderonkehiica. For more on her views on relationships, read her blog The Love Chest.
Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.