Writer: Pamela Makumbi

Someone once defined a friend as “the one who knows the worst about you and loves you all the same.

I couldn’t agree more, friendship is not a perfection contest, if it was, there would be so many friendless people. Nobody is perfect, and even Hitler or even that guy we saw on the news who murdered his family have people in their lives that they call friends.

Friendship is a relationship that requires nurturing and investing in. It is not automatic, nor is it a default relationship. That’s why we find couples that have been married for years, siblings or even parents and children who are not friends despite their proximity. It is a conscious deliberate decision every waking day.

The bible says in the book of proverbs, that a man who has friends must himself be friendly. Friendship is achieved by mutually practicing the elements of being kind, generous, loyal, and honest and by having fun together. When only one side of the relationship exhibits these elements, it cannot be called a friendship.

Talking is one of the things that enhance and strengthen the bond of friendship. The more you talk to someone, the better you know them and the closer you become. You can talk without being friends but you cannot be friends without talking.

During my university days, I had a friend called Julaina, we spent so much time together, we were doing the same course so we had almost all our classes together and spent a lot of time together including having regular sleep overs. One of the things that stands out most for me in this relationship is just how much we talked. We talked all the time, during our free time, during mealtime, late into the night, while we walked to class and even during lectures we were always whispering things to each other. In the lectures where the lecturers were extremely tough, we still wrote notes to each other. Somehow we always had something to say to each other that could not wait. During our post-graduation studies we each rented an apartment but we might as well have shared one because we spent more time together than each spent on her own.

The result was we got so close, we knew each other so well, we were not perfect, we understood each other’s strengths and weaknesses, had each other’s backs and always took the position of each other’s best interest in a crisis. Unfortunately life and career have thrown us in very different directions, but to date we still talk so much at every opportunity. All that talking paid off in the end, I can boldly say that our friendship has stood the taste of distance and time and it has survived.

So what is it about talking, I believe talking is the gateway to people’s hearts. The bible says “ out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. You only know what is in someone’s heart when they talk. Human beings are not mind readers, so someone has to talk for you to know what they are thinking or feeling or experiencing. Someone has to tell you about their world in order to let you in. One could always argue that there are other ways of communicating other than speech but most of these could be easily misconstrued.

Frankly I do not understand when people say things like ‘it’s my personality, I am just a quiet person,” “I am a man/woman of few words”. “I am just not a great talker”. In my example, I am the very talkative one, I admit, but Julaina on the other hand is not much of a talker, in fact she barely speaks in public. Yet with me we always have so much to talk about.

When it comes to friendships, there’s no shortcut, it’s a give and take relationship that grows through kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty and fun, experienced by talking to each other and spending time together. You cannot just be a taker- that would be a parasitic relationship.

Leah Grace Oketcho, is a highly talented Communication specialist, gifted in leadership with over 3 years of leadership and management experience at different levels. She is a team player and has demonstrated ability in mobilizing and organizing others to achieve desired goals. Oketcho is well vast in the art of creating alternatives for ways to get results. She has over the years grown in the art of corporate communications and also participated in the development of performance management materials for various professional institutions. Leah received training in research, scripting, international relations, and data analysis as well as public relations. She is passionate about solving public health related problems. She has offered training to youth in oral and written communication, people management and mentoring, editing and documentation skills, public speaking.

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