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May 18, 2024

Pruning in relationships, by Francis Ewherido

Francis ewherido

Some people complain, lament or curse because their “friend,” political associates or leaders, boyfriends or girlfriends, etc., have severed relationships with them. People have different reasons for severing relationships. For some they now see you as a nuisance. Others feel you have outlived your usefulness. For some others, you are no longer in their league; they have moved on.

Some people kick you out of their lives because you crossed the boundary or did something they cannot ignore or forgive. The list goes on. As far as I am concerned if someone severs a relationship with you, move on with your life if your conscience is clear. In a country of over 200m people, why should you kill yourself over one rejection?  I only worry myself over things that are within my control. If you cut me off, that is not within my control and I do not worry myself over it. I have asked a few people who cut me off where I went wrong and that is the farthest I have gone.

Some people simply see severing of relationships as pruning. Pruning is about cutting off branches of a tree or flowers to remove deadwoods and make the tree or flower grow better, or change the tree or flower to a particular shape. Why would you question people for taking decisions they feel are beneficial to their lives? It can be very brutal, wicked and inhuman or Machiavellian to the people at the receiving end, but move on. Some of the criteria the people use to prune might not even agree with your value orientation, but you have to learn to live with their decisions. They are taking decisions about their lives. You also go ahead and take decisions that are beneficial to your life. 

Before readers come here and tell me that I don’t understand the pain of being pruned off, let me share just one of my experiences among some traumatizing experiences. I wanted to get married to someone I really loved. The closer we got to the D-day, the further we drifted apart in spite of spirited efforts to make it happen. Then one day, she confronted me, “…am I the only girl in town? Go get yourself another girl and leave me alone.” I was shattered. I saw my life falling apart, but also knew I had reached my limit. Since childhood, I knew it was not dignifying to force yourself on people who don’t want you. I left to lick my wounds. That was about six weeks to our traditional marriage. Letting go and healing was tough, but I heeded her admonition and went to get “another girl” (my wife). We just marked our 25th wedding anniversary. You cannot hang around where you are not wanted or treasured. If you do, do not complain about maltreatment or humiliation. You have the power of choice. 

Some people do not know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance and that is a big problem. If you have 500, sometimes even 100 or more than 50 friends, it means one or more of these: you are an extraordinarily person in cultivating and nurturing friendships, or you flatter acquaintances by calling them friends, or you are confused and do not know the difference between a friend and acquaintance. Who is a friend? “A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” Calling someone your friend means you know him/her. You know his likes and dislikes, strength and weaknesses. There is a bond. Friendship does not mean you see every day, but out of sight is not out of mind. We all deal with issues, so you might not even talk for a month, but the bond remains firm. I see a friend as a loving brother from another womb (Siblings can also be friends). You share a common bond and deep feeling for each other. A friend loves, respects and trusts you. 

An acquaintance is “a  person  with  whom  one  has  been  in  contact  but  who  is  not  a  close  friend.” You know each other. Some of the traits of friendship might be there, but the bond is not as deep. We also have people we are associated with in business, politics, career or other endeavours. You do things together, but you are not friends. We have peculiar cases of former spouses who are separated or divorced, but are still business or political associates. In one particular case, they run a practice together, share the same office space, but are divorced. I am pointing out all these differences because people need to know so that when you get pruned off, you do not get hurt unnecessarily. Know where you belong. It helps to manage your expectations. 

The hurt many people feel when pruned off is as a result of the difference between reality and expectation. Former President Goodluck Jonathan lamented when he got pruned off by his “friends” after he lost the 2019 election even when he was still president. Former governors, permanent secretaries, MDs, chairmen, etc., have been pruned off by “friends.” These people were never their friends but “friends” of the positions they occupied. I have been there too at my small level, so I know.

Pruning (rejection) is part of life, but it helps to know why you were pruned off. If for instance, a girl rejects you because you are 5.8 inches and she prefers men who are six footers; that is none of your business. She cannot see beyond physical appearance. Her value orientation puts the height of a future husband above potentials, peace of mind, financial security, spirituality, etc. You move on until you meet a girl with your kind of value orientation. I had an acquaintance who had no business with dark-skinned girls. Are you going to bleach to fall within his latitude of acceptance? NEVER. You simply wait. There are many men out there who appreciate black beauties. One of them will come for you some day.

Part of the problem too is that some of us have low self-esteem. We put base value on ourselves. Why should others put premium value on you? This is not about arrogance or pride. It is self-assurance. You go for ceremonies, you park far away from the venue because you are ashamed of the car you drive. If you are uncomfortable with your current circumstances, work hard to change it. Alternatively, come to terms with it so that you can have peace of mind. Put premium value on your life. You are created in the image and likeness of God. God’s creation cannot be inferior. That you got pruned off changes nothing. This article is not about positive thinking to lift anybody’s spirit. It’s the reality. That said, make efforts to become a better person every day. Self-improvement increases your self-confidence and ultimately, value. There is a giant in every person. It might be hidden, but it’s there. Unearth it. It will help you to live your life on your terms and conditions. Do not let anyone make you feel less. That is paramount.