Well, tonight, on twitter this argument came up again in a new form: was it necessary to respect your friend, or is it possible to be friends with someone you dont respect. I said, sure. it was. Folks demanded I explain myself, insisting that friendship must come with mutual respect and stuff like that.
Well, lemme state it with all the precision in the world, I can be your friend and not respect you. For me, friendship is a social construct. All of us have the natural propensity to interact with people. Well, if am constantly interacting with you, hanging out, doing stuff together, then you are my friend. Nothing more. I have little demands of the friendship. I may, or may not respect you as an individual. And by respect, I mean, the esteem I hold of your person or character. I definitely cannot trust you. That is out of the picture, totally, complete. OUT. But you are still my friend, and that is not a paradox.
Think back to when you were kids. How did you make friends? That your childhood friend, that you can trust with your life today, how did you meet them? Chances are, you guys played together, or went to school, or did some kind of stuff together. There was no moral test, no character evaluation, no conditions, no demands, no contracts, no criterion. It was just a bunch of kids, doing stuff often, and gradually, you knew each other so well that you could as well be family. So where did we get this idea that friends are people who hold your back, who help you, who will always be there and be the best people for you?? Really? Well, thats not what I call friendship. If that was it, there would be no reason to seperate friends into best friends, brother from another mum, or such marks of status within frienships.
Like, and respect is not the same thing. I like my friends, even if I dont respect them. I had this friend back in Nigeria. He was a cool dude, we hung out together, partied, chased babes, and acted crazy together. Well, dude was a kleptomaniac. Anytime he came to my house, I lost something. I lost stuff, until I totally lost respect for him. But I still GENUINELY liked him. He was fun as hell, and spiced up everything we did when we went out. So of course, when he came I would secure my shit, but we would still live it up. I still call him now and then, from here. He never stopped being my friend, even when he had none of my respect. Another time, I had this dude that was our drivers weed supplier. I kid you not. I hung out with him once when we went to buy a load of weed my driver wanted to stockpile since we were going to the village, then police came there, and the guy drove us thru bunch of short cuts and we escaped. After that, he would come around sometimes, and just crack us all up with stories. We hung out a lot of times after that and he became a cool friend of mine. But I had no respect for him, I knew he couldnt be trusted, cos he was in an environment that encouraged and rewarded shadiness. But underneath the weed seller, the person was a cool dude. He showed me game centers where I would bring my game and we would make money beating folks. I never let him hold the money, I would insist I hold mine, he held his. I wasnt even an inch close to trusting him. But we were cool ass friends, no pretense. He tot I was a mama's boy, I tot he was a crook. But we got along fine, and that was okay.
If I dont have respect for them, it doesnt mean I will use them, or treat them unfairly. They are people and truth is, I try my darndest not to mistreat even strangers. So of course, am always going to accord them the basic human respect by not insulting them at will, or trying to act up on them. That part is not affected by a person's friendship with me or not, its what you get just because you are a person. And ironically that makes it easy for me to make friends with people. But truth is, I could totally think u suck at life, and ur a mess, and i cant trust you to pick your own nose. But if we spend time together, and you come across as amiable, social and fun, then call me a friend anytime and I will answer. Samuel, the son of one Buka seller in our neighbourhood will bear witness. Dude doesnt know shit, refuses to go to school, cant talk to a girl to save his life, does nothing constructive, but he sat around and sometimes tried to draw my attention whenever I passed. After knowing him for one year,I found him a likable fellow and we shared a few laughs and he'll blow the occasional match making I did for him. Still, I'd introduce him to anyone who saw us as my friend, and meant it. Between me and you, I have little respect for him. He is not a driven, capable, intelligent or passionate kind of person, the normal demographic I give respect to. I certainly have many of those kind as friends too. But he happened to have hung out with me, and I got to know him. And thats why we are friends.
Now, tell me..what do you think? Do you insist you friend be someone you respect and can trust, or not?