Thanks to Facebook, ‘mutual friend’ is not a new phrase. Everyone knows who a mutual friend is.
But for my sake, let’s go over it again. Who is a mutual friend? To my knowledge, when 3 or more people are friends, for instance – Bola is Mayowa’s friend. Tolu is a friend to Mayowa and Bola. That makes Bola, a mutual friend to Mayowa and Tolu; and Mayowa, a mutual friend to Bola and Tolu. (Hopefully, that wasn’t confusing); but that’s how we become mutual friends.
As a mutual friend, I believe you have duties; very serious ones. But, how do we talk about the duties of a mutual friend without inferring also, the duties of a friend? The two go hand in hand.
Being a friend comes with responsibilities. I use the term friend, and not good or true friend, because I believe the word ‘friend’ has all of those nice adjectives in its meaning or definition already – You are someone’s friend because you are good and true to that person, no story. Bad friends and the likes shouldn’t even be called friends (in my opinion).
That being said, I also think :
You are not a friend, if, when two of your friends have a misunderstanding, you take sides. If you do not take sides, and you don’t do anything to settle that misunderstanding; you are also not a friend.
You are not a friend, if knowingly or unknowingly you aggravate the misunderstanding instead of dissipating it.
You are not a friend, if you notice the slightest itch between mutual friends and you pretend not to notice.
I don’t say these things, because I’m a ‘friend’. I say these because I have been at the giving and receiving ends of these situations, and it didn’t feel like friendship. I didn’t think that mutual friend was a friend when she watched without interfering, I and Chika’s malice, go on for months. I didn’t feel like a friend when I had to walk on needles around Gbemi and Bayo because they were having issues and we couldn’t sit or talk comfortably.
As friends, we have to be observant and concerned.
When there are misunderstandings, being a mutual friend, it’s hard most times not to take sides. In a situation where you hear one side of the story first (which is almost every time). It takes the grace of God not to judge the situation and the other party immediately.
Everybody knows Bola has her way with expensive jokes. Mayowa comes to you and goes “Bola just fell my hand in front of everybody sha, she called me a dwarf in class today. It was funny , but it wasn’t funny”.
Standard reaction/reply: “Jesus! Are you kidding me? How could she say that? That Bola sef that’s how she does.” (If you want to hear more gist, you have to be willing to contribute… hehehe!)
So you take Mayowa’s side, without hearing Bola out because you are so sure Bola was wrong (Afterall, she has “bad mouth”). Mayowa and Bola might stop talking because of that ‘joke’.
You know how it goes, Mayowa is vexing so she starts to ‘give attitude’. Bola doesn’t have time so she stays in her lane too. And in the period of 6 months to a year, ‘Bola and Mayowa’ don’t exist anymore.
As hard as it is not to take sides, it’s the best way to settle a misunderstanding. When you don’t take sides, you are open to reason and see things from each party’s perspective.
As a mutual friend trying to settle a misunderstanding, the aim is not to find out who was wrong, but to settle the fall-out. Don’t get angry or petty because this person came to tell you and the other party didn’t. What if she (Bola for instance) didn’t even know offence was taken?
Another common thing I have said and heard people say is “Whatever happened is between two of them , let me not ‘join mouth’ before they will put me in the middle”. This statement seems wise but it really is the opposite of wise. If you don’t ‘join mouth’ (interfere), there’s no avoiding taking sides; which in itself is the beginning to the end of the friendship.
I’m not saying the mutual friend has no other job than to settle disagreements amongst her friends, but if you are in the position to help or fix something, as a child of God it’s an obligation to make sure you help.
I have been a victim and I have seen friends fall apart because of misunderstandings that could have been settled, if not for anything but because there was a mutual friend who could have intervened. And personally, it was sad for me to watch my friend(s) stop talking with me because one of us felt I offended her and the third party believed I was wrong as well, and took sides.
I’m still working on fixing that friendship and it’s my motivation for this piece.
Please know and perform your duties as a mutual friend, there is no gain to being the straw that broke the camel’s back. Keep trying to mend the patch, don’t relent.
Timi was quiet all through the time Sophia was talking. Don’t give any excuse saying you didn’t notice .
As soon as you feel, there is some form of friction. Don’t pretend you didn’t notice. Talk about it. Ask questions. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
Don’t let it linger; these things get worse with time – If you don’t talk with this person today, In a month’s time it would be harder to talk even if you tried.
*Perk – Perquisite; A privilege or possession held or claimed exclusively by a certain person, group or class. (It is used in this piece IRONICALLY, as what I have written is more of things expected of a mutual friend and not privileges of being a mutual friend. )
*All the names used are fictional.
Off the topic: I’m grateful for the amazing feedback I got from the last article I wrote. Thank you so much. I’m really inspired to express my yeye mind more. Lol!
And I’m sorry for the length of this write-up o, I really tried to make it shorter, but my yeye mind again…hehehe!
Please comment: express your views and opinions, I don’t know these things well enough and I really want to know more.
Thanks for reading…