In 2015, I lost three Facebook friends after I had drawn their attention to something I thought was inaccurate. All three blocked me without hesitation.
Before then, I had lost some friends (both virtual and real) after disagreeing with them on one issue or the other. So I was pretty careful to not come across as rude or impolite. I also know that in Ghana it is improper to correct someone in public, even if they are misleading everyone else in public. So I adopted the typical Ghanaian diplomacy which means not being blunt, but prodding delicately and indirectly.
Well as it turned out, that approach didn’t stop them from becoming offended and belligerent. No matter how diplomatic I was, I still came across as too fastidious or unnecessarily rigorous, or as it is said in Ghana, ‘too-knowing.’
After those incidents, I began to wonder whether or not it was worth correcting people, drawing their attention to their mistakes. And I nearly bought the jaundiced idea “to look away and mind my own business lest I become the enemy.” But I promptly ‘sacked’ that line of reasoning from my mind. The point about being silent so as not to offend erring persons in order to remain in their good books is a myth. Such persons do not keep good books! And should you be eager to be in the books of someone who doesn’t accept correction? Isn’t it the case that we are all fallible, imperfect? That it is only God who is perfect?
Recently I overheard a lady lament about happenings in her church choir. She was disgusted by the silence of membership when the leadership went wrong. She could not fathom why the whole choir could be led to knowingly sing off key, when a member could avert that by simply drawing the choirmaster’s attention to it. Twice she stuck her neck out and pointed out one mistake or the other. The silence, the glowering eyes, the shock suggested quite clearly to her that she was out of order, that such corrections were unwelcome. She couldn’t help feeling ‘too-knowing.’
Well, if you draw people’s attention to their mistakes or faults, you will get a good number of enemies to deal with. (And such persons were never meant to be friends anyway.) But in the final reckoning, they will admit that you were right and you would have helped their course.
Happily, you will also make some good friends. And those are the people who understand the meaning of friendship. I have some really good friends as a result of daring to draw their attention to something others ignored for the sake of pleasing them.
Let’s be bold! Let stand fearlessly for that which is right. Let’s make our world better.
Post written by:
Poet, writer, songwriter, student of the University of Ghana