Friendship: Nourish the roots

People are like a tree….. #madea

Madea’s analogy of the people in a person’s life is quite profound.  She talks about people being like a tree – there are leaves, branches and roots.  As much as that is true I’d like to add that there could be birds nesting or vampires waiting in the wings, be on the alert.  Someone might be a root for you, but you might be a leaf or branch for them – you have the most to lose if they let you go. Lucky for a few, they are roots to their roots, and they know how to deal with upheavals of being human splendidly.

I tend to think of the ‘leaves’ in my life in terms of the four seasons… they come out bright and green in the summer (weddings and parties), they fade in autumn (back to work and school), they hibernate in winter (completely cut off) and then starts sprouting in spring (anticipation for summer) – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. My roots… ahh well, they are rooted firmly and I’m grateful.

How to lose a root…..

Imagine you are going through a rough time while all your friends are soaring and breaking barriers. That man who promised you heaven and earth did not deliver. He vanished from the surface of the earth. That business idea you proposed, flopped and cost you thousands. That trusted circle you immersed your mind, body and soul dispersed and left you high and dry [or low and wet – whichever is worse].  That friend you trusted with your life blackmailed you and tarnished your name all over town.  And a million other things that could have gone wrong in your life.

During this difficult time, all motivational quotes and memes become just jumbled up letters: motivational speakers become mindless clowns in your fractured psyche.  Your feeble mind replays negative events on a loop.  Anyone who’s ever wronged you becomes the devil. 

This is all you talk about and before you know it, all your leaves and branches wither away.  However, one friend remains – this is your root.  She keeps you grounded and reminds you of your little wins and positives to nourish your tortured soul. Unfortunately, you start doing everything in your power to deprive the root of nutrients.  You indulge in self-pity.  You have a negative comeback for every positive thing she says.  You begin to wear her down.

The root…..

At first, she is understanding – she suffers the brunt of your every betrayal; she let you cry on her shoulder; she let you drink copious amounts of wine and chauffeurs you around town. You constantly bombard her with calls – she answers them all.  You overlook her needs completely and overload her with intense psychological stress like threatening suicide, homicide, and everything in between. 

Despite all these, she doesn’t give up on you.  She’s your root and won’t abandon you in your time of need.  She tries everything – from taking you out to nice places to ease your mind and meet new people, to introducing you to new hobbies.  Your smile, however, stays upturned.

She’s becoming exasperated.  Your blatant refusal to see things from a different perspective is wearing her thin.  She’s close to snapping.  Still she doesn’t give up on you… until you leave her no choice.

She invites you to her gym to release that pent-up aggression, but what do you do – the coffee break afterwards turns out to be chips-dipped-in-curry-sauce sob-fest! She decides to use another approach – the tough love – give you space to heal and grow.  In her last text to you she wrote… “happiness begins from within, and you are your own rescue…”

And the penny drops…

The realisation hit you like a ton of bricks – She’s cut you off. She’s had it with you and your constant whining. Until you start turning negative experiences into positive outcomes, she doesn’t want to breathe the same air as you and your ‘poor-me-sob-fests’.

To cut you off effectively, she takes drastic actions like deactivating her Facebook account and blocking you on WhatsApp. Becoming social media free is the only true way to deactivate you and let you heal.  However, since you’d become irrational – overanalysing situations – you assume the worst.  Your next course of action is to establish relations with the smaller roots and the remaining dried up branches and leaves – to complain how your main root has deserted you.

To win the root back…

Now you realise you need to win her back.  To do this effectively you need to work on yourself first, then the relationship.

You decide to forgive those who’ve wronged you; forgive yourself and make conscious decisions to rid your mind of past mistakes.  It’s not easy but with time you will get there – by being open to self-growth and improvement. 

As much as people need roots in their lives, it is up to you to make it worth their time and effort.  Find a way to repair the broken trust with your root but don’t make empty promises.

Be mindful of your feelings and thoughts and be considerate of theirs too.


Just because you’ve identified that one person as the root in your life, don’t mess it up by becoming a thorn in their rose garden – be kind and mindful for always.
Remember even roots needs nurturing. The way I see it, you must be a root to your root, a leaf to your leaf and a branch to your branch.

Friendship should be a responsibility to each other and not a liability or an opportunity to use.

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