​What friends are for: Why you need to become more selfish

Cuddles and I (Mans best friend)

Have you ever thought about how many friends you actually have? Of course, you’re surrounded by a lot of human beings, but how many of these people are your friends? Could it be 1, 2 or maybe 100?
What differentiates these people from a regular acquaintance? Is it how much you confide in them or the belief you have in their allegiance to your cause and mission in life? 

Perhaps, you’ve known these people since high school and by default they are just…you know, there. Maybe, they buy you drinks, pay you visits and take you golfing, but are these people really your friends?

According to my tiny Webster’s universal dictionary, a friend is; a person whom one knows well and is fond of. This definition hastens to elaborate on the quality of the fondness; in fact more light can be shed on what is meant by knowing the other person well too. However, on second consideration I take it this is a wholesome definition with a positive outlook on life. 

To be clear, I am not a good friend. My lack of patience with people is legendary. I can’t stand pettiness, shallow world views or conformism. As a result, I am usually alone wondering why nobody wants to hang out for no other reason than an unequivocal admiration of my nature. The very nature I understand has a repugnance to it. The funny thing is that in all this, I see myself as a beacon of civility, a paradigm of glorious Victorian manners reminiscent of a young John Boyd. Despite what might be an accurate scenario. 

In many ways, I actually do admire certain aspects of my approach to human relations. I always view people with respect, honour and admiration until they cross me. When said altercation happens I seem not to forget this transgression and replay a record over and over in my head. I calculate the implications of a delay in paying a debt for instance, or someone flaking on an appointment without prior information. Whatever stories I develop in my moments of disappointment become the person’s reputation and identity from then on. ‘This person doesn’t respect me’ or ‘he/she must think I am dumb’ are familiar narratives on my playlist. However, I always return to a somewhat positive view of these people in my life. ‘It’s just life’ I say or ‘shit happens’. However, the playlist is never completely silent. 

On the other hand, relationships are a two way street. What if people only flake meetings because I have flaked appointments as well? Do I get a vibe of not being respected because I carry myself in an unrespectable manner? Is it my entire fault or an accumulation of dynamics between me and the people in my life? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess, but this has been a contentious aspect of my life that I intend to correct while I can. 

So, how many friends do I have? 

I don’t really know. And in writing this I hope to establish a number. 

I don’t know if I feel alone because all the Machiavellian principals I have assimilated convince me that human beings are nasty and selfish. According to these thoughts that peer through my cranium, the people around me view my existence as having the significance of some sort of transport and logistics officer or a human box of Timwenge (boredom breaker), or unofficial shrink. But I think the real issue at hand is that I don’t know what friends are for.

To understand what friends are for, one must analyse the progression of humanity. The short story is that we are born alone, we quickly learn that we cannot attend to all our basic needs by ourselves hence we form communities. We then create sub communities that cater to softer requirements such as relaxation and the release of sexual tension, etcetera.

However, as is the case with most human endeavour we form habits around these relationships and distort there meaning. All of a sudden, utilitarian connections harbour expectations of mutual understanding by both parties. People now want to be understood on a psychic level despite how impractical this actually is. Concepts of love permeate our minds more than the egalitarian truth. Love is a horrible expectation; it’s a great gift though.   

Indeed, I think the only problem I have is expectations. I expect too much from human beings and other human beings expect too much from me. As a result of not being present and feeling constantly rushed, the usual thoughts about friendship on my mind tend to be negative. 

Therefore, I have decided to learn how to look at people dispassionately as a way to feel their true value. I know this is counter-intuitive but I think it’s worth the try.  

Some methods I am using to become a better friend and not get disappointed;


What this means is that the people in my life known for being unreliable in business but great at barbequing will only be assigned barbequing duties. When a business venture arises, I will not be consulting such a person. Over a period of time some change happens but for the sake of our relationship, burgers and T-bone only. It is only fair to designate certain roles to someone with certain skills.  


The idea that we are brothers and sisters hence we understand each other has too much room for disappointment. Ine, I will make sure my interest is fulfilled and ask that yours is too. Any endeavour that we embark on from a game of pool to marriage will have to meet what I believe are good requirements. I will insist that this is case for you too, and I believe this will greatly reduce resentment and other silly dynamics our impulses conjure. 

Conclusively, Human relations are much more complex than I can conceive or indeed try to explain. However, I find that this is the most fulfilling part of my life and it always hurts to look at good people in an unsavoury light when they err, according to me. I love people, I love myself and I would love to see all of us get along. I also love the idea of having a good quality life with meaningful experiences. With my spirit willing to learn more, I hope my new approach will bring me joy and more understanding of what friends are for.

So, if you ask me again, how many friends do you have Daniel? I can say confidently that the number has vastly increased. I have a lot of friends.

I hope this was helpful. Share with your friends.



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