THE VOICE OF REASON: Counterfeit Friendships Are On Sale In Ghana.

By Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi
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By Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi

6/30/2010 6:42:24 PM -

Save 50 pesewas on ten fake friendships--- limited bargain offer, hurry!!

Yes there is a nation-wide clearance sale on friendship at ‘donkomi’ prices, thanks in part to our fixation on instant –gratification and the rise of facebook and other social networking sites. Now “a-friend –in- need has turned into an ex-friend- indeed”.

In our modem –connected, Ipaded, Iphoned, facebooked, text- messaging and social networking era, people still want to be loved and assured that they can count on their friends and they are important in the friendship’s equation. But they’re relying on virtual friendship than a physical one. However, you should know that as much as your potential virtual friend is concerned, your friendship is most likely not at the top of the list of things on his mind—it will never be. So stop depending on him for advice and emotional support.

Sorry, hey, it’s not right. But, it’s life. It’s what it’s. So get used to it!

In this modern time, is a true, authentic and good friendship overrated or is it just a myth? I don’t know! But, I do know that your friends get fewer as you grow and they tend to fall on the roadside because you never finish with the same people you start life with. Who needs a real and authentic friend when you can get fake one on the net?

The classic best-friend bond—the two special pals who share secrets and exploit and who gravitate to each other on the job and outside with an inseparable bond can signal potential trouble these days---superficial friendships seem to be the norm. Real friendship is starting to shrink into minor anecdote.

Yes indeed, genuine friends are very rare jewels. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They can lend ears and are ready to listen to you and your problems. I personally owe my existence to great friends who invested so much hope and dream in me and worked tirelessly to make my empty dreams fly with tangible wings. I will not trade their friendships for the world.

A genuine friendship is something everyone needs or strive for. But, a true friendship is hard to come by this day and age, especially when the fabric that weaves the friendship together gets weak and entangled.

The late U.S President, Richard Nixon once said, “Do not judge your friendships when you are on top of the world. Assess friends when the world is on top of you”.

In a society where achievement is dictated by quick fixes, with its poverty-stricken mindset, true friendships are few and true friends for life are even fewer. However, for some reasons many people think they have a lot more friends than they truly have. Why is that? Has the currency of a true friend been cheapened to suit our modern day needs? Or have our need for true friends been replaced by the modern day gadgets? I don’t know! Do you?

Our modern day friendship is based more or less on what one can receive than what one is willing to invest in the relationship. So, one has to be careful not to invest more into casual friendships than is necessary.

Everyone has a friend or two. And just like those of us living outside Ghana, I have a few back home who protect me and help me to meander through the atrocious waters back home. But I have no idea how many or how few would prove to be true friends. I suspect, few .Human nature being what it is, if I could no longer sponsor them, assist them or be of any benefit to them when they need money, or a loan, would they stick around?

When I’m disabled or in trouble how many would stick around and respond to my call, as a friend in need? I hope and pray the need will never come for me to test their friendship’s agility and fragility or for me to need them so desperately that they would be forced to abandon me. I would rather not know or think of that prospect.

I’m about to reveal to you the single most important powerful tool to gauge a true friendship. “That’s a big claim!” you might say .Yes, I know that. Yet I have personally seen this single tool transform a mediocre friendship into a super-friendship and vice versa. It has also ruined “counterfeit friendships” for good, beyond repairs and punctured and fractured relationships and broken up family ties. The single most important thing to gauge a friendship is money or lack of it. Money can break a lot of friendships than any other thing because it tests friendship’s agility and fragility.

First, the Story:
I read a story recently that I’d like to share with you .It’s about a man who won a $200 million lottery jackpot. Before he decided to pick up the check he cleverly came up with a plan to gauge the strength of his so-called ‘friends” and relatives. What a clever idea! Money brings all kinds friends and relatives from the woodworks.

To make a long story short, this man before he made his winning public got on the phone and called each one of his” friends”, both near and afar. He called all the folks he went to school with. He called his uncles and aunties, nephews and nieces and co-workers. He even called his neighbors and church members. I guess the only person he didn’t call was perhaps the Pope—it could be he did not have his contact number. Anyway, he told each one of them that he had an urgent and desperate need to borrow $5,000.00. He also told them that he had to go into hiding for a period of time for his own protection.

Please don’t go anywhere because the story is about to get juicier. Hurry up if you need to use the bathroom! As you can imagine, he heard a variety of excuses. Some of them even refused to pick up their phones when they checked their caller ID. None of them was in a mood to help him .Neither did anyone inquire about his predicament. After two days when he didn’t hear from anyone, he embarked on his plan, because he knew everything was working as he had wanted it.

Wait, there is more!
Can you now imagine what his so-called friends and relatives thought when they saw him on national television and in the newspapers as the mega millionaire lottery winner, holding his winning ticket? Holy Moly!! They freaked out, big time! I have the feeling that was the last time they would ever see or hear from him. I don’t blame him.

Money can break a lot of relationships. It can also test the strength of many counterfeit relationships.

The exception is the more money you have the more people are willing to sell counterfeit friendship to you.

But, friendship is something that can’t be bought---although there are many who try to sell its counterfeit in Ghana. However, time is the only reliable gauge by which a person can measure friendships. Some people go out of their way to become friendly with a person with premeditated intent to get something for nothing. That ‘something’ may be a job, money to start a new business or an outright cash gift---or a cash gift that’s euphemistically described as a ‘loan’--- loan which is not intended to be paid. Why is that?

Yes, this piece is full of generalizations and biases. And, I know that they are subject to attack as being-simplifications, and certainly subject to exception. Maybe there is a better answer than that. But I don’t know it yet. What I know is that if you worry too much about peripheral needs—such as being liked or, loved you will end up having a lot of counterfeit friendships but not much money or time for yourself.

The bottom line is: It’s not how much your friends laugh, or applaud and adore you .And it’s certainly not how much the standing ovation you get after you buy your friends drink. What is most important is how happy you are when you’re not buying friendships. It’s important to give your so-called friends a chance to demonstrate their loyalty or treachery. That will give you a chance to know if you have a fair-weather friend or a treacherous and betraying friend.

In reality, one good friend is all you need in life. With one good friend you can know the whole human community and explore the goodies in friendship. Yes, one good friend that is it and feel lucky if you have one.

Having said that, is a good friend always the person who has all the excellent qualities and is near perfect human being? No! A friend’s imperfections also make him a true friend because without them no friendship can survive as your own imperfection could not be tolerated by him/her.

Well, since you can’t buy friendship why can’t you be a real one; not the counterfeit type? To make a friend, be an authentic one and don’t make it one-sided.

Friendship is just about the only relationship that exists entirely because you want it .It is not like a family; that you’re stuck with. So you shouldn’t have to work at friendship. In other words, friendship should be easy. Therefore, if you have to work tirelessly at it to make it happen, then it’s really not a friendship—it is just someone you hang around with or look for when you need help or something, sometimes. True friends just accept you and allow you to have your good and bad days. However, they should not allow you to whine till the Kingdom comes.

A true friend should force you to take responsibility and live up to your potential. So if you can get one you’re truly blessed!

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (The Voice Of Reason)
NJ, USA.

Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi.

I do not want to bear the burden of being your responsibility.
By: Abu Sheriff