Friends, first-hand instruments of peace and war

People who will make you, but breaking you solely depends on YOU!
Friends are there to be trusted, to be loved, to be engaged and to be respected. The moment you compromise any of these, you are bound to bend the relationship.
I tend to believe that the power of friendship is one of the strongest powers someone can be given on earth. With friends, and I mean good friends, you can walk on a smoke cover.
You want peace? Make friends. These are going to fight for you.
You want war? Make friends. These are going to fight against you. Read on to know how exactly.
All through my life I have never believed in the existence of enemies, I’m only aware of fake friends.

Sheep and wolves
The world has a mixture of people- those who are there for your uplift, those for your downfall and those who are there for both. I view all the three groups as friends, as it is only the degree of friendship that varies here.
Friends can be amazing and irritating in equal measures. This is normal.
Genuine friends are always there to mostly critique our actions more times than they celebrate our victory.
Most friends tend to be “yes people”. They will applause everything you do, without asking you why you doing it.
What you don’t know is what they think and talk of you, when you are not around. This bunch of people will in the slightest opportunity, criticize all your efforts, but in praise you in public. Meet them in the dark and they will give you a million reasons as to why you are not smart.
In most cases we fall for such friends. We see this bunch of wolves as their best companions God has ever given to us.
We will listen to everything the friends say and go an extra of picking some habits from them. We will despise all our genuine friends and embrace the wolves, because the nature of a human kind is that it mostly wants that which is pleasant to ears, eyes and body.
We are living in a world where speaking out one’s mind is illegal and you stand a very big chance of immediately being labeled a strong enemy of development. People want to be comforted with lies, they want friends who will agree with everything they say and in fact friends who will wow at every idea they bring. Try to question this and you are no not their friends anymore.
What amazes me is the simple fact that these “genuine friends” who wow at every idea and thing one does, are often only there when the situation favors them. Little they do when the things get tough.
Friends who question into things openly are friends who have been there and seen it all. Friends who know and share our visions, friends who care and friends who want to change the status-quo. These are people who notice when things go wrong because they have been so close. These are people who don’t mind telling us the truth because they know the value of it.
And whenever such people appear in our lives, we are often tempted to bark at them and label them enemies without deeply thinking of what exactly they are up to.
The most unfortunate a situation one can make is that of not trusting your friends by the mere virtue of them being friends to people you consider your personal enemies.
I mean who said your enemies must be my enemies? Leave such to the fake friends who will hate someone simply because you hate them, and not those who stand for peace and find nothing edible in faulting others.
I would rather create friends than make enemies. This therefore means that my understanding of “peace” is in a way different from your view of the same, if burning bridges is part of you. Which is good, friends don’t have to have everything in common. Do they?


Friendship gullibility
We are gullible to the extent of judging others before justifying the reasons as to why they do things.
Someone will block you on social media before explaining the reason why. And since they don’t have any convincing fact to this, they will prefer talking to you through their “true” friends.
They will then convene and talk of how much they don’t trust you anymore and give all the false reasons as to why they hate you. In most cases, it turns out that it was them you were trying to help or rather improve the status quo.
The worst happens when friends of friends call you to claim how much they hate you and can’t trust you because other people do. Immature enough, isn’t it?
People pretend. But too much of it is harmful.
This kind of behavior only works against you in the long run. These same people pretending around you are the same people who go about wondering the type of person you are, and question what you stand for in life. They see you as unreliable, immature or just insecure as a friend.
If there is something they want from you they will keep on pretending and you will keep on counting on them, and if not, you will see them distance themselves from you and only appear when need arises.
If you are in doubt of this, take a quick evaluation- observe the number of times you call to tell them what you want and/or invite them over, versus, the number of times they share with you their personal issues or invite you over to their places. For friendship to be mutual, this has to be two-way.
With time, we realize you are left with no more genuine friends but a bunch of wolves around you. People who will always tell you what you need to do but will never be with you in the doing. People whose suggestions are geared towards their own share of the same
Friends are for  transformation. They should closely observe your progress and share it with you, much as you do with theirs.

Test your friendship
Here are two simple tasks.
First, ask your true friends to give you two personal attributes they think you have acquired or changed, in the last 2 months. These should not be the obvious things and should not be physical changes like gaining weight, but rather expect answers such as “I honestly thing nowadays you are more reasoning, in the past, you could do most things without basis”
Secondly, count the times you have spent with these people. Have two columns, one for “good/high moments” and the other one for “bad/low moments”. If the bad moments outweigh the good moments or are equal, these are true friends. If they have been there more when the situation favors them or rather in good moments only, these are friends to observe.

My personal evaluation survey
On 11th January this year, I rolled out a personal survey and sent it out to my friends, whom I trust and think they could give a genuine evaluation of me. These were about 10.
It read:
“Hi, I’m doing a personal survey, from 10 close friends. People I know are not afraid to tell me the truth. Please tell me two (2) things you like about me, and two (2) you dislike about me. Don’t take it seriously, just answer from a normal perspective. Kelvin”
The responses I got were crazy. People poured all the truth to me.
It’s not easy to know what exactly people think about you. But it’s interesting to find it out from your friends. Among several things, I discovered I’m a short-tempered person, according to three people.
Of course I also had crazy responses like “You are a conservationist, why don’t you take your survey to Survey monkey online”
You can try this survey with your closest friends.

Enmity is a thing of the past
In a world where things are changing so fast, I would be very reluctant to create enemies. This downed to me way back when I realized that making enemies on earth is a profitless business that only those who have free time and resources to invest in it do.
To me, I feel this is a thing of the past. In fact back in high school when people had grudges over grades.
For an adult in the society (to which everyone above the voting age is), this is not only a symbol of immense immaturity but also low self esteem. This is exactly how everyone, including the unborn, will see you. Trust me!


Things to fight for
I will understand when people fight for their rights. When conservationists are not sleeping because of the construction of the railway line across Nairobi National Park, when Park managers are fighting against poachers day and night, when people protest against funds being embezzled in institutions and organizations, when people differ on matters that concern societal development, when women fight for their rights and children, when government leaders spend more time to convince people who are rioting because of inequitable share of national resources but when people spend the precious time they would have done doing this, spreading propaganda and baseless arguments that have zero truth elements but to spoil the names of others.
At times in life you realize that the people you think have the best interest in development are in fact the least when carefully examined. A good scenario would be leaders in a county assembly who use public funds for “work trip” and take over public facilities as their personal business ventures. These are facilities that were bought using public money! For heaven’s sake, if you were fighting for their rights, you wouldn’t be grabbing them. It’s as simple as respecting the people you are serving, people who believe in you and your leadership, your friends.

WhatsApp Scenario
Today, in one of the many WhatsApp groups that I belong to, we had a hot debate with one of our community leaders to an extent he removed one of us from the group! You can imagine a member of parliament removing someone from a group he administers, because the group apparently is “not the space for circular arguments or attacks on my staff and office”
I don’t know why the honorable did the honor of sparing me despite his several “clarifications”, as I thought I was the next person to be thrown out of the group that consists of graduates and young professionals from our constituency.
This Member of Parliament is a classic case of what I’m talking about today. People who love complements but fear the truth. You are immediately labeled an enemy of the government not just him, the moment you ask questions and seek explanations into things that you and other people have no knowledge about, and which is their responsibility as your leaders to give to you.
Of course the group has a lot of “yes” people. People who will always post photos of them and the honorable member attending workshops and rallies. But this people strangely enough never post photos of themselves with the members, when people are rioting over inadequate services. They shut their mouths and hold on to their safe spaces.
Anyway, I’m not here to report on that, what captured my attention was this young lady who posted this:

“May we learn to listen, respect, understand and participate with each other positively. Everybody is fighting their own battle”

I will leave it right there.
My heart today goes to the hyena I saw knocked down along Nairobi-Naivasha highway. How I wish the driver could have made friends with animals!



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