When You Feel Pressed to Perform Friendship



Sometimes, you feel you are not “being there” enough for people.

It is the friendship version of the impostor syndrome, that sapping feeling of inadequacy forcefully demanding an admission that we have, all along, feigned competence. For some, it comes at the moment they scroll through their list of contacts, just to be reminded of many not called in a while. For others, WhatsApp initiates the heaviness of conscience: those who view your status updates with whom you have long cooled.

This happens to the best of us. No matter how available, loyal and faithful you are to those in your network, there are some who have slipped just outside the circle. You failed to take active note but you can recall the gradual process by which distance began to be created. The cause for these drifts vary: work, marriage, a previous disagreement not talked about. Most people do not intentionally set a date for cutting people off; time passes, people move on.

The pressure, for some, is to correct this ‘wrong’, to pledge greater commitment and to be more concerned. So maybe dial one of those viewing my WhatsApp status regularly that I haven’t spoken to in a while. The secondary school friend always posting on my timeline whom I find eccentric? Probably say “hi” and see what happens. A leader in the church who I have failed to keep in touch with since changing location? Ask how the ministry is going.

Good gestures. But then ask yourself: do I want to be performing friendship or making friends?

I found this idea of “performing” friendship in a piece on friendships growing cold as we grow cold. The author’s prognosis is insincerity, not knowing oneself well enough to decide on what one can do. There are tips for manning up and being more available to meet people and form fruitful connections. But you must know what kinds of persons that work for you and not try to stretch into a click where you will be out of sorts and dissipated. You can be nice without having to be friends with everybody.

People are going to need your help and it is morally valuable to be ready to help. Aid or assistance could be in forms other than the pecuniary. Where within your means, offer cheerfully if not asked; an opportunity to be of good to another is a privilege we ultimately become better for.  But it doesn’t have to be more if there is no basis for more. Don’t spend energy building a friendship based on nothing but tolerance. Be good, have a large heart but the journey of life requires that you travel light.

Everyone deserves to be in a relationship that is based on the truth. An atmosphere of truth begins with enduring mutual interests that breed commitment, dependability and reliability. These are core values of friendship and under the right conditions, bloom into love. I would like to think love is intentional and, by design, re-fuels itself. Love and friendship are not performed for likes or to gain credit.


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One Reply to “When You Feel Pressed to Perform Friendship”

  1. Jamie Uhuru says:

    In order to avoid going through the oft repeated thing about social media making people more unsocial, I recall an incident that filled me chagrin recently.

    I added an email address to my phone’s email app and behold numbers I’d all but forgotten came back. And with them the baggage of more WhatsApp status views and statuses to view.
    Now I have to pick and choose which to view and which to dodge.

    Not all of it is bad but I think most of it is downright flawed.

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