With Friends like these....

There is comfort in surrounding oneself with trustworthy friends. Think of those hard times when a friend or two will stand by your side and assist in whatever way, or by whatever means, in lessening the burden on your shoulders. Truly, difficult times tend to prove who your true friends are.

  It is, however, disconcerting to note not every friend you've invested your trust in will reciprocate the same in kind. The ungrateful lot believes every one owes them and in return they have nothing to pay one back. It is useless to remind them the good you did to them as the godly act has it you do well to others and go your way expecting nothing in return.

  My walk of life has always taught me a vital lesson; everyone will be a good friend to you when you're better off but will see you as an unnecessary burden when you're worse off and treat you differently. Granted, no one is supposed to remain at topmost rudder rung throughout their life.

  When you were that business executive, or worked in a reputable company, or held that enviable job position and you were generous to a fault to everyone, you no doubt attracted all manners of friends who hang around you like moths to a glow globe.

  Then you were retrenched, or your position became redundant, or you went bankrupt.

  Everyone notices your financial down plunge. You no longer treat friends to free rounds as usual. That expensive cocktail or brand you used to take has been substituted by a cheap brand. High end hangouts are replaced by less glamorous ones. And in adjusting to new realities, you shift to a less costly address.

  And here is where everyone takes an inventory of you becoming experts of your life offering unsolicited opinions to whoever would care to listen. And it is from here you begin to realize those you counted as friends all along were mere baggage that should have been discarded long ago!

  Say you've this pressing financial need and you recall a friend you helped when the going was good. You decide to approach him for a man to man talk believing he will offer you a sympathetic ear and sort you in one way or the other as you're still struggling to find a sound financial footing again. This is the friend who you gave maybe Sh500 long ago and the only 'help' he will offer you is to return back your Sh500 and tell you to your face he doesn't owe you a life and you can pick your money and clear off!

  And this is the friend, who, later in the evening, you'll find regaling his buddies how you came to him helplessly begging on bended knees for a few thousand shillings and how he tossed you out like a mangy dog!

  And to punctuate his speech, he will say something like, "that fool wasted his money on alcohol and women instead putting them in a sound investment. Let him learn his lesson the hard way!"

  It is mostly like his buddies will roar in laughter taking this as a funny banter. Unfortunately, that is the kind of bashing I had to contend with!

  They say karma is a bitch and repays one accordingly. Not that I would wish similar predicament to befall any, the point is, if you see someone down, it is illogical to kick them continuously aggrandizing their helplessness. An African proverb succinctly captures this.

  You also wonder what is the point of approaching one only to hear words like, "I'm sorry, so and so was here and I had to sort them out. Maybe next time I'll be of assistance."

  Do they expect one to clap for them by showing their 'philanthropy spirit' to others and their meanness to you?

  The problem with friends, and especially the many you have, is that they are not there for you but for themselves. They are there to get the best out of you, and not the other way round. They are friends without benefits!

  Investing in some kind of friends hoping to recoup from them one day can be a costly affair than investing in a family. The family will be there for you, but not your friends with their fake smiles, pretended empathy and sympathy and crocodile tears!

  I'm a believer in this mantra, 'when you are on your way to the top, remember everyone, for you do not know when you will need them on your way down'.

  Unfortunately, some of those you treated well on your way to the top will be the ones to cheer the loudest at your humbling down climb or fall from grace!

  The saving grace is, you can always pick yourself up, remake yourself into somebody else and have the best in life again. After all, nothing is always permanent in life. 
Photo: credit


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