Excerpt from Eric’s diary: Why I attend events – Reciprocity is #1, you?

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Once upon a time, my wife and I were to attend a funeral.

It happened that she did, not me. Later, when I inquired how things were going, an obviously disgruntled woman replied that if I wanted to know, why hadn’t I come?

Shocked, I replied, “but you know I was on my way when it started to rain? She reacted to my explanation like, “I know you, if you’re determined to attend an event, you plan accordingly and you don’t miss it.” In other words, my sweetheart accused me of planning not to attend this funeral. A claim that is far from the truth. Here’s why :

The deceased was kind to me in various ways – he expressed concern when I was ill for an extended period and suggested local remedies. He also guided my first son through his “confirmation” rite, among other things. As such, I had in mind to reciprocate these gestures by attending the funeral to pay my last respects. Unfortunately on D-Day it was raining cats and dogs around the time I left home for the funeral location. I felt so bad; hence my impatience to know how things went there. Yet… ahem!

But think about it. If my wife of 22 years provides such comments on how I approach my preparations for events, it definitely means that I have been methodical in this regard. So think about it, I did, and I realized she was right.

It is because after introspection, I have found these reasons why I attend social and formal events; reciprocity, de-stress, meet old friends, make new friends, my first time in the hall, it’s been a while since I touched base, when the celebrant is rich, if the celebrant will be delighted by my presence and to represent my brothers and sisters.

Now, let’s discuss them in turn:

Reciprocity

I was first educated on the principle of reciprocity at the Ghana Institute of Journalism by our social studies teacher, Mr. Obiri Yeboah.

According to him, the principle of reciprocity is one of the fundamental laws of social psychology which states that “in many social situations, we repay what we receive from others.” In other words, if Nii Armah does Nii Aflah a favor, Nii Aflah is likely to do the same.

Over time, however, I have observed that using the word “probable” to explain the principle is an understatement. In my opinion, the appropriate word is “obligated”. I want to say; how to refuse a wedding invitation from a colleague who attended your brother’s funeral? Or, applied otherwise, refusing to find a job for, when you are able to do so, the grandson of the person who secured your first job?

In short, when someone to whom I am indebted, about a gesture that was done to me earlier, invites me to an event, I fight tooth and nail to attend the event as planned. Sometimes I even ask my wife to join me so that the celebrant or the bereaved will appreciate my reciprocal gesture even more.

De-stress

Over the past 25 years that I have worked as a journalist and public relations practitioner, my schedules have been stressful. Sometimes when everyone is relaxing on the weekends at home, I’m either hiking in different parts of the country or at the office. Sometimes I even work from home.

“Workaholic” is the other nickname my wife gave me. I once proudly stated that I’m grateful to God that I’m not addicted to anything. My wife replied, with the characteristic body language of a jealous woman that “you are addicted to your work”.

Therefore, whenever I find myself less burdened with the demands of work, on the weekends I make a date at whatever social event I have been invited to, with her in tow. Sometimes I may not have been personally invited, but I join a guest to honor the occasion just to ease the stress.

At such events, I let my hair fall as low as I can without leaving a hangover for the week ahead, however.

Find old friends

As I said in a previous post, “friends are the family you choose for yourself” – Edna Buchanan.

In fact, I consider my friends to be the cornerstones of my life. They help shape my thoughts and chart new paths for me, based on their experiences. So I never miss an opportunity to reunite with old friends.

Of course, when we meet, depending on whether we are doing well in life, we feel good or bad. You feel even worse when successful people try to rub their fortunes in your face. If you know you’re my friend and you’ve done this, on behalf of everyone you’ve done this to, I hereby say a big “Mtcheew!!!” for you. It’s bad, stop. ‘Ahonya nsu yɛ dieɛn? – What is wealth without good friends to enjoy it with?

Nevertheless, the opportunity to reminisce and learn some life lessons motivates me to attend ceremonies where I am sure to meet my old paddys. Remember, old friends are the best. Nope?

Make new friends

Another quote about friends I’ve fallen in love with is “a true friend is the one who comes in when the rest of the world goes out”. –Walter Winchell.

Since discovering this quote, I have been revising my notes on friendship. Therefore, I easily seek the opportunity to bond with new people I meet. Despite this, I always have this warning from my mother in mind when befriending – “Tsɔɔmɔ mi onaanyo ni matsɔɔbo osuban – Rather, ‘birds of a feather, flock together.’ Therefore, I choose my friends, I don’t allow them to choose me.

Therefore, at social events, I look for people whose feathers resemble mine and return their warm gestures. Otherwise, I’m sorry.

My first time there

About three years ago I started hearing about Trassaco Valley Estate and the beauty and serenity of the surroundings. I wondered how I could have had the opportunity to see the vaunted sumptuousness of the surroundings, since I live so far from the place.

Then suddenly a friend of mine turned fifty and decided to throw a party. The place? Trassaco Valley. I circled the date on my calendar, watched, counted down, and represented. The only disappointment, however, was that the road to the ‘Valley’ estates left a lot to be desired. Potholes and dusty. Hum!

Again, when the Holiday Inn hotel opened in the Airport Village. It became the talk of the town. Every time I walked past the place, I imagined what the inside would look like. My curiosity was satisfied by an invitation to another Golden Jubilee party there. This time, by my brother-in-law. Fortunately, his invitation was electronic. Thus, the countdown was automatic. Therefore, there was no way I could miss it.

Then the Kempinski Hotel opened its doors. I heard about their story of a plate of food for 100GH¢ in the media. When or when? I would ask myself. As fate would have it, a client hired my former employers to coordinate a week-long series of events there. This one I had no choice. I saw, drank and dined at the Kempinski.

There was a bounty. Another client invited me and my colleagues for a dinner there, after supporting them with an event that won an international award.

In fact, the receptionists at Golden Tulip, La Palm Royal, Tang Palace, La Beach, Movenpick Ambassador and Accra City hotels first welcomed me at different times and for various events at their facilities.

It’s been a while since I touched the base

There are places that once you visit, you always yearn for an opportunity to revisit. For me, one of them is the Akuapim Mountains.

I like the road on top of the mountains and the serenity. Not to mention the fruits and palm wine sold along the road. So when I get an invitation that would take me there, I make it a date.

Oh ! How I miss the Little Acre Hotel and the latest, Peduase Valley Resort. Someone, please do me the honors.

When the celebrant is rich

At Gas, we have a saying that goes: “loo yɛ ŋme lɛ he”, meaning that there is enough flesh on the palm nut.

This expression is generally used for the funerals of deceased persons with several children residing abroad. This can be deciphered from the obituary, no, from the celebration of life, from the reviews. These funerals are characterized by participants who have a very distant relationship or no relationship with the deceased. And they are the ones jostling for take-out packs on such occasions. I do not do it.

I apply this principle to the evenings to which I am invited. If it’s a rich celebrant, you can be sure I’ll be there. This is because, there, you are directed to a table where you can choose the drink of your choice. On such evenings, I drink Baileys or wine before helping myself to the buffet.

But when it comes to a party where I can anticipate that a case of drinks will be dragged to my table and asked, “Which one should I get you?” nnmmmmmm? Reciprocity will prevail.

If the celebrant will be delighted with my presence

There are acquaintances of mine who, upon seeing me, react in a way that shows deep appreciation for our relationship. They show so much excitement when they see me, mostly unwittingly. Some go like, eeeeeeiiiiii Mr. Ayettey!!!, Others exclaim ei!!! Eric and Ericus!!!, Wow!!! This is how I am welcomed into their company.

From such reactions, I know these people want me in their company whenever they celebrate or mourn. So I do not fail to honor their invitations, even if it takes me outside of Accra, my comfort zone.

Represent my brothers and sisters

I have a firm belief that although friends are the cornerstones for us and work is as vital as food for man, family is everything.

I therefore do not miss family events, unless the opportunity cost results in a serious financial loss for me.

I am the last born of my brothers and sisters. Therefore, there are instances where I have no choice but to set aside time for certain social events, especially when my older siblings cannot attend for good reasons.

In such circumstances, I attend, feeling good. This feeling is reinforced by the fact that I receive all the recognition that my brothers and sisters would have received if they had been present.

It’s time to go

Of course, my wife’s observation was correct.

What do you think? Why do you attend social events? I bet you can’t rule out any of the aforementioned nine considerations. Yours can only be more than mine.

This means that if you are an acquaintance of mine, you have no excuse to miss my book launch. There are enough reasons for you to be here.

As evidenced by this piece, reciprocity is number one for me. Therefore, if you do it for me, I will do it for you. Or “you do me, I do you, man nogo vex.” Go ahead, smile.

Mi tee – It’s goodbye to Ga.

Let God lead. Follow it directly, not through a human.

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