By Sheillah Maonga
Lifestyle Writer; KDRTV
Liza was a popular girl in college. She was surrounded by many friends. Her phone did not stop ringing. Her evening calendar was booked months in advance as she had so many invitations to events organised be her friends. She was hardly alone, a friend (or two) was always by her side.
Then the proverbial stuff hit the fan and she suffered bereavement one after another. Her mental health took a nosedive -because of overwhelming grief, and before long, she was admitted in a psychiatric unit of a hospital. This was so as to keep her safe from harming herself.
Her friends disappeared into thin air forcing her to battle both the bereavement and the mental illness on her own. It was an incredibly lonely journey to healing and recovery.
In another case, John had a best friend called Jim. They were inseparable. Where John was, you’d find Jim. They operated as a duo and this had been the case for many years. Then John had a road accident that rendered him an invalid for 5 months at the local hospital and 5 months in bedrest at his home. For a total of ten months, he was physically incapacitated.
Jim did not visit even once. Admittedly, he sent text messages to John daily but he never called nor visited. He always gave good reasons for this.
First, when the accident happened, he was on holiday out of the country, so he couldn’t visit. When he returned, he started a new job so couldn’t take time off. Then his wife’s mother got ill, so he took over most of his wife’s roles at home to release her to attend to her mother. Then they moved home, then he discovered he feared hospitals, then his car started giving him problems…. the list was endless. All in all, it meant that he was not in a position to visit nor call his best friend. Something important and urgent always came up.
Then there was Milka. She belonged to a close knit group of 9 friends. They were so close to each other that they referred to themselves as family. Then Milka suffered an unexpected redundancy whose knock on effect was to put a strain on her marriage which consequently ended. She then found herself unemployed and a single mother of 4 children.
Her friends in her tight circle avoided her like the plague. It was as if they thought her spate of bad luck was contagious so they needed to keep a safe distance. Occasionally, she would see photos of them together at a meet up that she was not told about. Her calls to them went unanswered. It was clear that they had checked out of their friendship with her.
The above case studies are examples of fair-weather friends. We have all been unfortunate enough to have them at some point in our lives. These are the friends who are there with you when the going is great. They are friends of good times only. Friends that stick around when the sailing is smooth. They are very present and visible when it is all about fun times.
When you hit a snag; when you go through a rough patch; when you face a difficult situation- as it happens in life, these fair-weather friends do a Houdini on you. They disappear into thin air. They become scarce. Or extremely busy.
Some are callous enough to do the very bare minimum for you but expect a standing ovation (from you) and accolades as well as gratitude shouted from the rooftops. These are the ones that send you a hurried text wishing you a cliched blessed day and expect a pat on the back for that.
The ones that broadcast on social media how you are in their prayers, yet they can’t task themselves to have a face to face conversation with you. The ones that put on faux sympathy just for show, but are all about talking the talk but never ever walking the walk. The ones that wouldn’t inconvenience themselves to help you. If they have to help you, it has to fit in well with their plans. They will not go out of their way for you.
People, if you have fair-weather friends – the ones that have been tried and tested, and have been found wanting; in 2018, let us say farewell to them. They are taking up crucial space that can be filled by genuine friends. Let them go. Release them from your heart.
Adopt zero tolerance for such type of fake friends. They are not worth it at all. Friends should be people you can count on. Fair-weather friends can never be relied upon. They will let you down. Say bye bye to them. It will be good for your psyche not to crowd your space with such friends.
I finish by asking you: what type of friend are you? Are you a fair-weather friend?