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Friendship Abuse

I’m thinking of organizing a friendship retreat where friends will be reminded that friendship is a two way stop and not a one way on the Autobahn in Germany.

Fine, there is social media where you learn about your friend’s plans and birthdays but sometimes you want to hear the actual voice, then you stop right there.  Depression.

You will punch the number on the speed dial and he will take the call.  Hola!  What’s up?  Then you will listen and listen.  He’s not interested in why you called.  You listen, until you lie that someone is at the door.
You have accepted the fact that he never calls you and that you are the one that organizes concert tickets, World Series tickets, movie premieres, car shows and the boys’ dinner dates (with your plastic money). 

All you ask for is twenty minutes of his time to listen about how the dreams you had in college are not happening and you think a good detox, will be using your air miles to go and climb Mount Kenya.

The friendship retreat will have Oprah and Gayle King as facilitators.  Gayle will give you tricks about rich friend management, the way she handles Oprah.  Oh! Yes.  Don’t let Oprah’s billions fool you.  Gayle is in charge. 
The retreat will also remind participants that they should not be the ‘superior friend’ and say things like.

·         My friend Jill who lives in the projects.

·         My friend Jack who is crashing at my house after the divorce.

·         My friend Jill who used to live in a refugee camp.

·         My friend Jack who is sick.

Truth be told, we can’t blame social media for friendship abuse.  Human beings are selfish by nature.  Period.  The retreat will also set some rules for example, the person who calls should be heard.  It’s his cellphone credit, so he should call the shots. 
As my Zulu ancestors said after observing cattle on the fields:  Ikhotha eyikhothayo.  It means an animal will lick the one that licks it.  Reciprocity.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness, a South African novel.
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