One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Have you ever wondered why your friend sulked for days on end after you “forgot” their one month anniversary with their new bae? It’s because it’s a small thing to you and a big deal to them! Individually, we have likes and priorities that differ from those of our friends. However, time and again we forget that we are wired differently and tend to impose our priorities on them and when we don’t get the desired results, we sulk. These little differences between us have the potential to cripple long lasting friendships. The secret lies in knowing how to handle the situations.
Forgetting a birthday
You did what now? Forgetting a birthday is one of the unwritten taboos of friendship. It simply isn’t done. You may forget their favourite colour or outfit because let’s face it, those change all the time and it’s impossible to keep up, but a birthday? Some people treasure their birthdays and friends celebrating that special day with them is the icing on the cake. If you’re one of those friends who use the excuse of being broke to avoid celebrating your friends’ birthdays, well, stop. Forget about presents because in true friendship, it’s actually the thought that counts. Staying up all night just to send that first birthday message at the stroke of midnight says a lot about who you are. Mental reminder: commit your friends’ birth dates to your heart’s memory. You don’t want to be that friend who sends happy “belated” birthday messages. In friendship, belated does not exist in the vocabulary.
Keeping little secrets
We’ve all heard the old saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Translated, this means do not tell all your secrets to one person. In fact, some believe there are types of secrets for specific friends. There are those friends you tell your family secrets and others who are strictly for all the bae secrets. Also included are those friends you vent to about work or academic stress. However, true friendship requires you to group all your little secrets and tell them to that one particular friend. Friends don’t care about the categorised baskets. They will want to know all your business and anything less than that is an act of betrayal. Keeping little secrets is making room for a very dangerous volcano that will erupt the moment your friends find out your little secrets from alternative sources. “Oh, so you have a new boyfriend and didn’t tell me? What did you think I was going to do, snatch him? You bought a new car and didn’t tell me? Whatever happened to sharing good news?” Sometimes you may think that it’s no big deal because you’re probably bidding your time before you tell them or you think they will find out anyway. However, to them, it says that they are not important enough to be let into your business and that is hurtful.
Your reaction to their news
The first ten seconds after your friend shares important news with you are the most important ten seconds in friendship. They will look at your face for a sign and anything that your face reveals will be held for or against you in future. Your face will betray you when you least expect it, so you always have to be alert when your friend is sharing. There are other things you do after hearing news that can be misinterpreted so you have to check yourself there as well. It could be an aww that sounded more like an eew or an “oh wow, really!” that came out as“Oh? Wow. Really?” Intonation and everything matters when reacting to news. If you’re really happy for your friend, it will show andif you’re secretly resentful or dying of jealousy, it will also show. They say it’s in the eyes (something about eyes being the window to the soul). Friends have a tendency to seek validation and reassurance in everything they do. When they share their news, it’s always important to know what’s required of you. Is it reassurance, approval or (constructive) criticism? If you get the reactions crossed (approve when you’re supposed to constructively criticise or express doubt instead of reassurance) then you might have a problem.
It’s amazing how the smallest things have the potential to cripple the best of friendships. Always remember there is a possibility that what is a small thing to you might be a big deal to your friend. Since we are in the business of putting the needs of our friends first, it may be time to start prioritising their priorities.
by Ntombikamama Moyo