Friends, Acquaintances and Solitude
What does the word “friend” mean to you?
For me, a friend is someone who you share values with. By values, I don’t mean just having common interests in food and movies. A friend is someone who has your back. When you text them at night that you need help, they’re right there for. They check up on you, find out if you’re doing OK and help you out when you’re going through a rough time.
An acquaintance is someone who you run into at events or social gatherings or even at work. But they’re not your friend.
As I scroll through my contact list on my phone, I see I have a lot of acquaintances. Hardly any friends. At the moment, I don’t think I have friends to be honest. Maybe one or two. But the list is thin.
That might sound harsh but hear me out.
I don’t have a squad. I don’t have a “clique”. I don’t have a “boys, boys” group I watch soccer or sports with. I’m a lone wolf with no wolf pack.
But I did have a best friend once in school. We shared interests such as cartoons, drawings and video games. But we grew up and grew apart. Interests changed and our friendship kind of faded out.
The only other best friend I ever had was when I was in a 2 year relationship. But we broke up. She went on with her life and is now married and has a kid.
Life goes on I guess.
In Accra, there’s something I keep observing: There’s certain events which keep attracting the same people or group of friends. If I go to an art event, I see the “creative” people, all hanging around, sharing commonalities. I actually began to know these people and had conversations.
The same goes for “tech events”. I go to most of these and I see the same familiar faces. There’s an creative event I’m going tonight and I’m sure I’ll see the same familiar faces.
But all these people I keep running into? None of these people are my friends. That’s not saying that when I run into them, I don’t value their conversation. I’m just pointing out the obvious.
We don’t hang out if we don’t meet at events. They don’t text me at random days asking if I want to hang out. We don’t do brunch (this is not a thing, I don’t care what you say lol), and we don’t go out and chill together. I’m practically invisible unless I run into them.
I don’t have friends in Accra. I have acquiantaces. People that I know and randomly run into at social gatherings.
The regular “what’s up”, the chance encounters in public, the awkward silence in between when no one knows what to say. Yeah, I observe all that. There’s no connection between me and these people anyone.
It’s not that I don’t want to have friends. When you get older, it’s actually difficult to make new friends. Does anybody have a manual or directions on how it works? Please send them my way because I am totally lost.
Yes, there are people who I knew in high school who currently live in Accra. But I left Ghana some time ago for college in the US to do my bachelors. When I came back home and tried to reconnect, everyone just felt like a stranger. The regular “What’s up”, the chance encounters in public, the awkward silence in between when no one knows what to say. Yeah, I observe all that. There’s no connection between me and these people anyone.
This is one of those “perspective” posts I guess.
I’m getting more and more used to solitude. I keep myself busy with my projects and side projects. I actually value more family time than hang outs.
I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. I’m still introverted. But I do still go out to events to escape the familiarities of my home and family.
Maybe I’ll run into some people at one of these get togethers one day and I’ll eventually “make” friends. Or maybe they’ll just become acquaintances.
But it’s fine. That’s just life.