Friendship — A Celebration of Values

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.

— Roy Disney

I had a conversation with a good friend and mentor some time ago (during my teenage years). During the conversation, I mentioned a name. I said, “My friend John[1] was going to …”. The mention of the person’s name hit him like an unsuspecting child who just got a jab of medical injection. He turned and fully facing me he asked, “Is John your friend?” I said “no”. He retorted “You just said he was.” I corrected myself. I told him John was my classmate. I wondered how he knew John and he told me. There and then I got the lecture of my life on friendship. It is something that has not left my mind since then. He ended his discourse with these true words “Friendship is a celebration of values.” Those words echo in eternity. They continually ring in my ears and heart.

As such when you say a man is your friend, you have at the same time told us that you are comfortable with his virtues and values. You share something together, whatsoever that thing is. You could share a love for sports, you could share a common political view. It could be the simple joy of collecting stamps, hoarding rare pieces of arts, sharing your faith, Star Wars fans, etc. From my little experience, I have seen that your friends are most times people that share the dominant interest in your life.

Your friends are people you accept and you are willing to pursue life’s purposes together. “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” In other words, agreement in values.

One vivid memory stands out in my existence. It was during the registration day at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp. NYSC is a voluntary one-year service done by graduates in Nigeria. As we came together and assembled, a multitude was formed. Within about 30 minutes we started having pockets of people differentiating into various units. The smokers located their people, the football fans, the faith-driven people, those from particular tribes, egalitarians, poets etc. People found their people. By the next day, everyone knew where to locate “his/her person.” Their values attracted and bound them. This goes a long way to state the fact that VALUES EXUDE. It leaves your body like steam and forms a halo on your head. People of like-value only can spot that halo! It’s an invisible but “tangible” asset.

The need for friendship is very simple — to warm the heart and most importantly sharpen each other. Iron is used to sharpen iron; not wood. Not clay. You get my drift. Friends encourage themselves by spoken words. These words are no ordinary words. They are common vocabularies that translate the message instantly and powerfully to them. They are value-based words that come from the heart, the treasure of the mind because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Those words clothe the thoughts of the heart.

Looking for friends for friendship sake is like gathering stones of no value. When you build your value system, you will attract “your people.” When you have what the company wants they will at least give you a hearing, aka interview. When the company thinks that you are a good fit, then you will be employed. It is because you have values that are shared and useful to both parties. Remember the word “symbiotic.” I first heard it in a Biology class and it has the same meaning as today. People are attracted to their kind. It is only in the magnetic world that opposite attracts, but in human relationship, we start with the philosophy that like attracts. You see, we are not magnets.

You are the average of your five best friends, someone posits. Your friends reflect your core values. Your friends will either take you to your destination or hinder you from getting there. Your friends enforce the values you uphold. This is done by your daily communion that is shared. As you can imagine, you talk most times about the things you share. You can live without siblings (most times by being the only child), but you cannot live without friends. And most importantly friendship is by choice. Harper Lee succinctly puts it, “You can choose your friends, but not your family.” This is your choice to make. In this choice, you are the President and Supreme Court all bundled up in one. What you decide stands. This is not the elections where your choice may stand assuming the majority go with your choice. In this matter, your choice is ABSOLUTE. It is what you want that will prevail. There is no technicality here.

Principles are the engine of life’s processes. You can’t go against a principle and expect no consequence. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were friends because they wanted to churn out products that were usable and affordable to every American. Values unite people. Again, and again I say to thee, “Set your values and principles right and the right people will traffic your life.” I am sounding more Victorian than I would wish. Your definition of right is based on your value system. Again, for the umpteenth time, you get my drift.

In those one-on-one moments with yourself, especially on a long flight. After you have eaten, seen the first movie and are now bored (lol), you can take a few minutes to review your friendships. These four questions might help.

  • Why are we together?
  • What is the attraction?
  • Why is this person in my life?
  • Where are we going?

This video by SULI BREAKS on friendship is one of the most powerful words on the subject. It is a 3 minutes video.

I did not write anything new that you do not know.

I am just reminding you of what you already know.

Hasta la vista.


[1] Not real name.

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