Health & Fitness

Seek friendships that add value to your life


Q “How can I shake-off a group of old friends who are not adding value to my life? I fear being victimised as being arrogant and rude”


At a recent funeral, a man who was clearly drunk got the opportunity to talk about his now departed friend. The man had died after talking a lethal dose of poison and there was much sadness all around. The Church had refused to organise the burial and that was part of the reason drunk men found their way to the podium.

In his drunken speech the supposed friend spoke about many things. Some indicated that he did not know the dead man at all, while others showed that the little he knew could not and did not amount to a situation where one could call the other a friend. The speaker knew for example where the dead man liked to drink on each day of the week. He also knew his favourite football team including the team members he most liked.

He went on to “expose” to the wife and crowd in general, where the man spent times with various girlfriends and also the number of children he had sired. All this information (and more) was given to prove how close they were. All this information was evidence that they were drinking buddies, best described as acquaintances but certainly not friends.


When her turn to speak came, the widow did not have kind words for her husband’s acquaintances and held the view that he was one of the people that he hang out with and who seemed to have made worse the depression he had been suffering from for the past three years.

Hers was a sad story. Two years before his death, the man had told her that he was not happy. He often felt sad and hopeless and felt that life was not worth living. He was unable to sleep at night, often waking up at 3am to stare at the ceiling. He had many sad thoughts that included scenes of his funeral.

He could not eat and lost much weight. He lost interest in sex at home and he sometimes cried telling his wife it was not her fault. Their life as a married couple came to an end as he sank deeper into depression.

Work became impossible. On the days he could get to the office, he stared into the computer screen but no thoughts came to his head. He could not concentrate and was irritable when spoken to. In the course of an argument with a female member of staff he had hurled obscenities at her, much against what all knew to be his nature.

All agreed he had changed, but none knew what to do about what the doctors later diagnosed as a major depressive disorder.

Like his father, the man had, over several months taken to self-medication with alcohol. He, at first discovered that taken in large amounts, alcohol gave him “a high” that included a sexual urge that he had otherwise lost. The girls at the drinking joint were happy with this new discovery even though they privately complained of his poor performance. This latter fact made his self-esteem dip even further. He felt useless even in front of girls he did not know.

Before taking the fatal dose, the man had asked to speak to a pastor who declined to see him because he was “a drunk”. He asked to talk to his brother in law to get him to persuade his sister not to leave but he also pushed him away.

When he saw a psychiatrist he was diagnosed with a depressive illness and advised to go to hospital for full evaluation and treatment. His insurance company declined cover and said they do not cover psychiatric disorders because they were self-imposed. His drinking “friend” was the last resort. In a drunken state they talked about the available options. Suicide seemed the best option in the circumstances. After all, the employer had also given him a show cause letter, and the wife was sure to leave.

If you’re planning to leave friends who lead you astray, then let them call you arrogant and rude. Seek friendships that add value to you and your family. Bar and football acquaintances are not friends.