September 29, 2014 by Kambili M.A. Chimalu
Friendships are an important part of our daily existence. We meet people, discover our shared interests, and automatically become so intertwined in each other’s lives that we cannot imagine not being friends. I have had a lot of friends that I love dearly. I try to stay in touch, so that we don’t just drift out of each other’s lives, but what happens when time forgets some of these friendships?
What happens when I believe that I am the only one carrying the friendships along? Do I let go and then mourn the loss of the people that were once an integral part of my life? Should I feel guilty when I let some friendships float away with the wings of time? These are the questions I have been asking myself ever since I made the decision to let some friendships drift away. [let it go … let it gooooo … Frozen anyone? 🙂 ]
In January of 2013, my credit card company sent me a statement with a comprehensive list of my expenditures for the past year. It was complete with pie charts and the likes. As I perused the statement, I noticed that I had spent thousands of dollars on calling cards to Nigeria alone.
“When did I make all these calls?” I asked myself.
It was not surprising to me that I had spent that amount of money calling home because I was always on the phone with my friends. Some would never call me, but I would always call them. Not long after I received that card statement, I made a big purchase, so I didn’t have a lot of disposable income to buy cards for calling Nigeria regularly. My bank account was blinking red and I resolved to cut back on some of my expenses. Excessive calls to Nigeria went under the hammer.
I went from calling my friends a few times a week to not calling for a few months. For the first few months that I did not call anyone, only a handful of friends called to see how I was doing.
There was no “Hey Kambili, I have not heard from you in awhile. Are you Okay?” or “Just checking up on you babe” from the majority of my friends.
To say that I was heartbroken is an understatement. I was sorrowful that my friends did not care enough about me to check up on me, after not hearing from me for sometime, to see if there was something wrong. More than being heartbroken, I was furious.
I started to reevaluate all my relationships and I came to the conclusion that I was giving 100% in the friendships while I got back exactly 0%. I needed to rant about this, so I called my brother:
“I am feeling emotionally drained. Why are they not checking up on me? So if I don’t call them, they will not call me?”
My brother listened calmly and then said to me, “Kambili, this is so unlike you. You sound so angry.”
He was right. I was angry.
As the year drew to a close, I made my decision. Come 2014, I will only call the friends that make an attempt to play their part in our friendship. My requirements were not too difficult because I employed the “it is the thought that counts” philosophy. All my friends needed to do was “flash” me or call me for a couple of seconds and ask me to call back. The thing is that I was not angry that they were not spending their money to call me. I don’t mind doing the calling. I just mind dropping off the face of the earth and having only a couple of friends notice/check up on me.
So, as 2014 rolled around, I put my new resolution into action. I ceased all phone calls to Nigeria. However, I made a few exceptions for birthdays, weddings, funerals, and births.
For those their birthdays came before mine, I managed to give them a courtesy phone call to commemorate their day. However, those with birthdays that came after mine, I wished happy birthdays with the same medium they used in wishing me a happy birthday. For those that wished me a happy birthday on Facebook, I returned the favour on Facebook. Those that wished me a happy birthday through Whatsapp or BBM received their birthday felicitations through Whatsapp/BBM.
Suffice it to say that I have not spoken to some friends in almost a year. As the year gradually draws to a close, I am sometimes reminded of the loss of some friendships. I get pangs in my heart every once in awhile and I think about some friends and wonder if they ever think about how I am doing.
Friendships are an important part of our human experience, but friendships cannot work if one party is constantly the giver while the other party is the taker. My resolution gave me the opportunity to assess the friends I have in my life. I cannot say that I am happy that some friendships have been relegated to the depths of time, but I guess we will just have to love each other from afar.