The Pulse

The value of friendship

Ashenafi Zedebub

If we just take a glance at our dictionary – old or advanced – the meaning of friendship remains the same. “A friendship is a feeling which exists between friends”. In this sense, a neighbor can be a friend. Friendship can also exist between colleagues, school-mates, club members, extra, extra.

Here in our society, we have heard a great deal about best friends of the same sex. We have also heard a lot about friendship with fraternal affection. But much to my regret, almost nobody seems to be interested in the so-called “pure friendship” between a man and a woman.

A friendship between people of the opposite sex  in our society today solely means to many people “a sexual union” and nothing else. A man could easily be a friend – even a best friend – to another man , whereas any such contact with a woman shall be subject to a pre-condition, i.e. “sexual union.”

It is very sad indeed, that sometimes  even colleagues of the opposite sex are seen to have almost no contact unless there is a sort of intimacy amounting to so deep and so close. A lady working for the same organization with a man for several years could not be annoyed for not having been greeted by her colleague outside the office premises. Quite a number of men and women prefer not to be identified by their old school fellows of the opposite sex. Pictures are seen to be removed from their album as well. This, however, could possibly be so not to create misunderstanding or at least to avoid the so-called “lover’s  jealousy”. But the point is that nobody is at all aware of the value of friendship which could have existed between the opposite sex.

A lady living in the same apartment with a gentleman of her age in Europe might find it very difficult if she happens to come to Africa and tell a member of the society as regards her “pure friendship” with that man. It must be unbelievable. It would also be difficult – if not ridiculous- to convince a lady here of any plan to establish “a clean friendship”. The good lady would by no means accept such an invitation from a man, nor would she be satisfied with idea of “cleanliness”.

It is sometimes difficult to show modern way of life and make people understand. How can one convince a person, though looking modern, but who still lives in the very old world?

I think it is time for all of us to be aware of the fact that a male-female-contact doesn’t  necessarily  mean a sexual union. One can have a lover, share life, and rejoice. One should also know that there can be friendship without anything else. We have to really try and begin to understand the value of friendship. It should be clear to all of us that not every man had succeeded in having a sexual union with every woman he happened to know. A woman, who might think she has been admired by many as the “Queen of Beauty”,  could neither be in a position to  claim all men nor become a “sex champion”. So why not consider the mere value of friendship?.

Mind you, I myself have no objection to free love or free marriage. Love, romance and what not should exist as to make ones life colorful. It should also be clear to each and every one of us, that love cannot be distributed to each and every individual at each and every corner, and every day to different lovers. There can never be a place , or a business enterprise for that matter,  where you could invest love today and ask for profit a year later. You may love one at a time and keep the rest as “good, clean friends”.  We have to know the value of friendship. This is my opinion. What about you?

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