NAVIGATING FRIENDSHIPS IN NAIROBI
Navigating friendships in Nairobi is a risky and tricky affair but I have a feeling that Nairobians thrive and live meaningful and fulfilling lives because of the connections that they have made outside of their homes. Studies have shown that a person needs three to five close pals for optimal well-being and it contributes to overall mental health and happiness.
The older you get, the smaller and intimate your circle of friends become. The easier it becomes to differentiate a mere acquaintance and a deep soul type of connection. We realize that we all need those people who do not take an easy, ‘I’m fine’ to the, ‘’how have you been’’ question. We all enjoy this type of connection that is not behavioural and on the surface. But we can all agree that maintaining this type of connection has its ups and downs.
Our friendships go deeper than family. This is because we choose friends but don’t get to choose the family we are born into. I believe that for a friendship to thrive, we need to create relationships with people who allow us to fully assert who we are. We all need to feel seen, heard, understood and felt. We need spaces where we can unapologetically be our messy and great selves. We need people who are not intimidated by our greatness.
The older and busier we get we begin to realise that just like any other relationship, friendships need some work too. Here are three things that we think are super important in any thriving friendship.
Lets Navigate Friendships in Nairobi on pro mode!
Okay, you are probably the friend that believes in calling out everybody’s B/S and branding it the truth but that is not what we are addressing here.
Are you honest about who you are? Have you asserted your beliefs and values? Or are you trying to be someone you are not in your amazing circle of friends in the crazy hope that you will ‘fit in’? I mean, if we are going for honesty, we might as well begin by being transparent about who we are!
This helps with knowing that you are fully accepted regardless of differing opinions, backgrounds and values. It’s an amazing feeling to know that there is a circle of people that allow you to fully show up as yourself even as you still figure out exactly who that is.
I suck at setting boundaries! I will own that. I am putting in the ugly work and also working on my people-pleasing tendencies. We love our friends and want to make them happy but any relationship that has hopes of thriving and staying healthy has boundaries. It is hard and uncomfortable to set boundaries especially if you still struggle with people-pleasing. Brene Brown shares that setting boundaries is about having the balls to love and choose ourselves even when we risk disappointing others. Our friends included.
It’s okay to say no, I cannot make it, maybe next time, I can’t share that, I’ll call you later, I can’t lend you more money until you pay me back, please don’t comment about my stretch marks and any other boundary that is relevant to you and your situation. The problem with being a yes girl is the burnout and resentment that will creep on you sis! When you acknowledge what you need and take care of that, you are able to truly show up for your friends and they now know how to navigate different issues and scenarios around you.
Support is such a sensitive topic today. It almost goes unsaid that friends support each other’s dreams, goals and overall growth. Like, I see you shouting out all your favourite influencers new products and stuff! We all want to have someone at our corner who will cheer us on (okay, laugh at us in the purest way) even when we embarrass ourselves silly trying out new things. People who will always read our blogs, watch our youtube videos and buy our first products. It’s beautiful! Support also looks like constructive criticism and being called out on the inevitable B/S that we all succumb to here and there. We feel loved when people who don’t need to show up come out and support us regardless. Yani bure!
Support your friend’s ventures, discoveries and journeys of becoming. Lift each other up! Remind them who they are when they are doubting themselves. As Ralph Waldon Emmerson once advised, “ The only way to have a friend is to be one”.
Happy International Friendship Day!
Stay Relatable Forever!