Around three years ago an incident happened between me and someone I called a good friend. My husband and I were invited to a society wedding at the Dorchester Hotel in London. It was billed to be a high-brow event that Ovation magazine would cover (they did). Everyone we knew wanted an invitation to the wedding and I was quite pleased we got an invite. However, my hubby was quick to ask me to go with one of my friends as he wasn’t particularly fond of attending such events. My excitement was dampened a couple of weeks later when the picture and price of the aso-ebi for the wedding was circulated. Let’s just say it was enough to pay our monthly gas bill for at least three months.
I met up with my friend and told her that I had an invite to the wedding and explained that I had never spent so much on aso-ebi. I felt that once I did, I would keep buying such ostentatious outfits and that is against all my principles. She agreed with me but insisted on taking a picture of the invitation on her phone to show other friends. I thought nothing of it.
As the deadline for responding to the RSVP approached I told my hubby I would not attend the wedding because I could not justify buying such expensive aso-ebi for someone’s wedding. Why pretend? I wasn’t that rich and it seemed like mindless spending to me. I wasn’t sister of the groom, so how far? He offered to give me half the money if I really wanted to buy it but I turned down his offer and told him it wasn’t about the money but the principle behind buying family uniform for £350. You would think it included overnight hotel stay. I called the RSVP number to decline the invitation only to be told that I had called to confirm my attendance a couple of weeks previously and that I had changed my plus one to…. guess who? My friend’s name! To make matters worse, I was also told that I had also paid for one set of aso-ebi. Did I want a refund?
What did I do? I cancelled for both of us, told them I (I meant my friend) would call back to arrange how the money should be refunded. I called my friend hours later and she babbled an apology. She claimed she thought I was going to buy the aso-ebi and attend so she didn’t think I would mind. Really? What part of ‘it is too expensive’ didn’t she understand? Why didn’t she tell me what she was planning to do before she paid for the aso-ebi? The truth was that she knew I wasn’t going to attend but because she wanted to appear in Ovation magazine (with her picture captioned ‘a guest’), she went behind my back.
I was very hurt by her actions. Predictably, my hubby didn’t understand how we could fall out over a wedding invite and aso-ebi. Nevertheless, I was upset that she could be so selfish, self-centred and inconsiderate. Our relationship cooled since the incident and now I only send her a text once a year at Christmas.
Not long after the incident I read an article which claimed that over half of us couldn’t judge our friendships objectively. This meant that around half the people I considered my friends didn’t consider me theirs in return. While it was cheering to know that I was not the only one who made the mistake of liking too soon, trusting too much, ignoring selfish traits and investing much more in a friendship than the other person; I would rather be able to decipher my friendships than have fake friends.
The same article said that having friends kept us physically healthy, helped us live longer and made us less prone to depression and more financially successful. That was all well and good, provided that you had a good friend and not one who would stab you in the proverbial back!
How do you know if you have good friends?
According to Psychology today, a good friend should have three main traits: Traits of Integrity; traits of Caring and traits of Congeniality. Traits of Integrity are trustworthiness, honesty, loyalty and an ability to trust others. Trustworthiness is often the most important element in any inter-personal relationship and a breach, no matter how small, can ruin a relationship. My ex-friend had none of these traits.
Traits of Caring include empathy; the ability to withhold judgment; effective listening skills and the ability to offer support in good times and bad. These traits require personal insight, self-discipline, and unconditional positive regard for our friends. My ex-friend was lacking in this regard too.
Traits of Congeniality include self-confidence; the ability to see the humour in life and being fun to be around. I can’t deny that my friend was fun to be with. She was always up for adventures. That was why she would have been my plus-one if I changed my mind and attended the wedding. She had a great sense of humour.
These days, I take time to carefully cultivate my friendships and I try to be a good friend as best as I can. I hope I have oodles of the three traits of friendship and I recognise that if I fall short I may also be ditched by my friends. Like all relationships, each person has to give and take.
I recommend that you re-evaluate your friendships today. Don’t waste time investing in one-sided relationships where you are the ‘giver’ and the other person is the ‘taker’. According to Len Wein, a true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else. One good friend is better than ten rubbish ones. (except when you get ten birthday presents!)
BTW: After all the drama about the aso-ebi lace, it is now on sale on Ali-express (in many colours) for around 20% of what it cost in 2014. Thank goodness I didn’t buy it! To my ex-friend: see yasef?
Abi Adeboyejo lives in Birmingham, UK, with her two children and her fabulous man, who by the way, prefers that his wife writes down her thoughts than listen to her musings on everything.