So Here’s What You Do When You are a Terrible Friend

Over the course of my time here in Australia I have lost my fair share of friends. Now granted, I have reconciled with many of them, and am in the process of being disconnected by some others, but still, I feel that perhaps I would best serve you by writing an article on how to keep friends from someone who is currently losing a few.

1) Reciprocity: If they feed you, feed them. If they pay for things for you, pay for things for them. Always assume that when they do something for you, they expect it to be returned. This isn’t necessarily selfish on anyone’s part, it’s the law of reciprocity that keeps relationships running.

2) Inform People of Major Life Decisions: If I were ever to redo what I did when I packed up my things and changed cities from Melbourne to Sydney, I would have done one thing differently: I would have informed all my friends and family of my decision and why I am doing what I am doing. Why? Courtesy.

My general state of being apathetic and quite oblivious to other people’s pressure dos and donts combined with a complete obliviousness to social rules and conventions mixed in with a little bit of my always assuming that by default I don’t matter to other people (quite a sentence full that was) meant that I never really saw how my moving affected other people’s lives.

Other people had probably built plans or at least thought of a future of which I was a part. At least do folks the courtesy of telling them when to change their plans.

3) Follow People Up: Here to this day, I absolutely suck. If you want someone to be your friend or relate to them in some way, PICK UP THE PHONE/TYPE THE FACEBOOK MESSAGE/SEND THE EMAIL = JUST GET IN TOUCH. Don’t wait for the moon, stars and planets to align before you just pick up the phone and reach your hand out to somebody.

4) Friendship Comes Over Lust: Let’s be honest. A huge number of modern day relationships for people below the age of 30 are either just an odd variation of friends with benefits or “mutual-flirtation agreements” as opposed to any deep friendships and relationships. Especially in the early stages, DO NOT ever put your pursuit of members of the opposite sex above your friends.

This one needs to be heard especially by the women, y’all are always so willing to throw away relationships or ignore your friends just because some man could whisper sweet nothings in one ear while convincing you to disrobe in the other. You’re friends know you and care about you more than the man. They will clean up the tissues/bedsheets with you once he leaves.

This one doesn’t apply much to men (though stealing from strangers and acquantances is an entirely different story), but speaking as a man who has done this on a few occasions………to use a technical term, not cool, not cool at all.

I loved this version of this song, check out the frog with soul at the end.

5) Give: Don’t give them what you think they want. Give them what they really want and especially what they need. Give them that thing they keep talking about. Don’t get them what people are supposed to get other people. Listen and get them and provide them with what makes their heart sing.

Any more to share? Got any stories of how you lost friends? Leave a comment below and let me know. Before I leave though…….

The Newsletter

If you are a fan of this article or blog, I encourage you to join and give me feedback ( :) ) my Immigrant Survivor Guide Newsletter by putting your first name and email address in the boxes below.

In newsletter, once a week I send you short emails that give you actionable tips that you can immediately apply to make your immigrant experience better including tips on making friends, finding employment, how to stay healthy on the run, things to prepare before you immigrate, staying in touch with people from your home country etc etc.

So please join, and give me feedback, by putting your first name and email in the boxes below:

Be blessed and bless others,

Mwangi

No Comments

  • By Thomas Johnson, July 28, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

    Nice post Mwangi,

    #3 “Follow people up” is the one I really need to work on.

  • By Mwangi, July 28, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

    @Thomas: Glad you liked it. Yeah that one applies especially for high achievers, or wanna be high achievers who can easily justify putting people to the side for extended periods of time while they work on supposedly “more important things”.

  • By Caustic Blonde, July 28, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

    This was a very good article and right on the money. The part about Reciprocity is very true, all relationships are made up of give and take. :)

  • By Mwangi, July 28, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

    @Caustic: I am glad you liked it. Yeah, reciprocity is quite possibly one of the most powerful social forces in existence. This world would suck a whole lot more without it.

  • By Mo, July 28, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

    6. Don’t have a ‘fear of commitment’. Don’t kick away everyone that you feel is getting too close to you as a person. Let your friends get to know you better; let your guard down with them.

    (Applies to friendships too)

    Hypocritical of me to post that one really as it’s my flaw when it comes to budding friendships.

  • By Mwangi, July 28, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

    @Mo:Thanks for that one Mo. Interestingly enough,I have never had that problem, my problem interestingly enough is the exact opposite: I always want to show people my ugliest side very early on so that there are no surprises going in. Nah, don’t even worry about hypocrisy here me encouraging folks to follow others up is pretty hypocritical of me.

  • By petesmama, July 29, 2008 @ 12:45 am

    Great read. I’m guilty on all counts. Lemme scurry away and make ammends.

  • By Mwangi, July 29, 2008 @ 2:44 am

    @petesmama: Godspeed making ammends. Glad I could help :D

  • By Nigerian Entrepreneur, July 29, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

    You are not alone. I have quite a lot of regrets in this area. There are friends that I neglected and now, I crave for their friendship. I was careless about the relationship while they were doing everything to keep the relationship going, unfortunately, now that I have come to value those relationship that were built over time on sincere foundation, most of them are nowhere to be found.

    So, my friend, even though I may not visit your site everyday, I have made up my mind to visit at least once a week, ‘cos I don’t want you to become part of the statistics of those I lost through carelessness.

    Congratulations on your new page rank. I can see that big brother Google is noticing your effort. I am proudly African.

  • By Mwangi, July 29, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

    @Nigerian Entrepreneur: Hmm it’s interesting to see how I am not the only person who has made mistakes in this area. I guess as a result of never opening up dialogue in this area, I always held on to some odd belief that I was the only person who made a lot of these mistakes.
    Thanks for the commitment man, however I understand that one is busy so don’t overextend yourself, this blog will be around for a long time.
    Thanks about the Page rank, to be quite honest, I am quite disappointed, I was actually hoping for a 5 or a 6 considering I have gotten so many links (including from you :D thank you very much) since their last Page Rank evaluation. I am anxiously awaiting my day it becomes 5 or 6 so that I can put that in my recently created, soon to be out advertising and sponsorship page.
    Have you been following the Blog Mastermind relaunch? I hope you got a chance to see the videos, they are pretty good:

  • By kelly, July 30, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

    1.Don’t lend them money unless you’re very sure they’ll pay you back. :)
    2. Listen, even to the non spoken stuff.

    You’re right on point on that thing of dissing your friends because you got a new boo. I had this friend who called me up only when she was having boy problems or when they’ve broken up. When she’s happy, no time for you. :(

  • By Mwangi, July 30, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

    @kelly: A rule I created a while ago was that if I can help it, I don’t give friends money, I pay for their things. If I do, I assume that the money is gone. That one has definitely been a nail in the coffin of quite a few relationships, including one of my own.
    That second one, women would be way more in tune with, me thinks.

    Yeah I don’t understand women as a whole across all age groups. A lot of you are so fake with one another. I have seen this from age 13 all the way to women in their 50s, pretending to be friends to each other’s faces while cursing each other out behind each other’s backs, stealing each other’s spouses among other things…….women, go fig?!

  • By kelly, July 30, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

    Imagine there are friends I lend money to and there are no issues, but there are others who it becomes a whole lot of problems.

    On the second one, what happens when all your close friends are men? You do whole lot of listening, and you’re rarely listened to. Anyways, not complaining.

    Stealing each other’s spouses? lol I’m yet to figure out how a spouse is stolen so no comment. But yeah, at times women suck. I must say however, that I have one or two girlfriends who are simply awesome (one of them is a sister so she probably doesn’t count).

  • By Shiroh, July 31, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

    Mwangi, i totally agree with you. It is good to be a good friend or stay out of the friendship thing if you are not willing to sacrifice for it.

  • By Mwangi, July 31, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

    @kelly: I am very bad at following people up when it comes to money and in my experience every time I have lended people money it’s never been paid back. But then again, I have piggy backed on these people a lot of times so reciprocity keeps going…..

    Yeah, you see I was actually experiencing that today with 2 women I was hanging out with. They gave me a problem and I immediately jumped to the solution and they kept trying to bring me to a place where I would just listen. Whether or not always been solution oriented is a good thing, I don’t know. But I do know that, there are people out there in the world who are way better listeners than me.

  • By Mwangi, July 31, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

    @Shiroh: Don’t ask for the good if you are not willing to make the sacrifices.

    I saw you at the most unexpected place, Leo’s blog, Zen Habits. It was good to see another African face in the comments thread of a big time blog like that one.

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