The Enemy of My Friend
If you survey random people about the importance of having friends, the common theme from the responses will be along the lines of friends being a support system in times of need. This is true because we need people to hold the fort when the chips are down.
But as you may already know, there is no free lunch on God's green earth. The importance of having friends is widely discussed but not much is said about the price one has to pay to keep said friends.
Friendship is supposed to be all about love and doing things for another man without expecting anything in return as our Lord Jesus said in Mark 12:31. However, deep down, friendships are not what they seem. They're just mere transactions; you scratch my back then I scratch yours. But the price we sometimes pay is more than a scratch.
Over two decades of my existence on this earth, I have realized that the price we pay to sustain friendships is far greater than the benefit we derive. I know, I earlier mentioned that we're not supposed to benefit but they're not supposed to be liabilities either.
Why do we keep holding on to relationships that keep draining us mentally, emotionally, and financially? To rephrase, when you enter into any form of friendship, you take on liabilities that eventually set you back mentally, emotionally, and financially. Let me explain.
When it comes to friendships, emotional blackmail is rife, at least from how I see it. You automatically inherit your friend's emotional baggage. When they are happy, you have to celebrate with them, and when they are sad, you have to mourn. I'm not saying this is a bad thing but everyone should have the liberty to celebrate and mourn whoever they choose at any time without being compelled. Moreover, you have to always read the proverbial room to deal with emotions but this is such an arduous task. The one time you "accidentally" offend your friend's emotions, all hell breaks loose.
They say two heads are better than one right? I don't believe this quote is true in the context of friendships. When you make a new friend, you inherit their enemies too, which means that you've burned bridges already. Maybe a strategic partnership with your friend's enemy could be life-changing for your career, job, or business but lose that opportunity by association.
This is a mere example but the essential point here is that when you make a friend, you become mentally handicapped to make decisions in your best interest. Your judgment will also be clouded since you'll have to favor your friend even when they're in the wrong.
When your friends are caught up in financial distress, it is only right that you extend a helping hand. But how many friends will put you on a good opportunity to make some money? How many friends will give you a cut of their income if you become unemployed or incapacitated to work? How many friends will risk their livelihoods to make sure that you also succeed? Just a handful. These things rarely happen and when they do we pay back these friends with ingratitude.
All these points attest to the fact that friendships are more about exploitation rather than serving as an avenue for being your bothers' keeper. Friendship is a dangerous adventure that may taint a person's life forever, and for this reason, the Akans crafted a proverb about the crab losing its head to friends to advise the younger generation about the dangers associated with friendship. In the same way, this writing is also a cautionary piece; it is good to have friends, no doubt, but you better understand what you're getting yourself into before you regret it.