Of Friendships, Old and New

I love solitary moments where I can wallow in my own thoughts, whether it’s hanging out by myself in a coffee shop or sitting on the toilet. I enjoy my solace, but I also love being with other interesting people. I would initiate conversations with strangers – foreigners at the airport lounge, toddlers waiting in line for ice cream, or elderly people in the waiting shed. My parents would affirm that I am a naturally friendly person and I’ve been like that since I learned how to speak (which is actually pretty early).

However, as the years crept by, the meaning of friendship is redefined. In its truest sense, I can only count a few. If I would use it as a basis of my G+ contacts classification, I’d only have less than 15 people under Friends. There are several good friends who have turned into strangers, some have gone unnoticed and some bid goodbye with unnecessary high school drama.

When friendships begin at a young age, one challenge is to grow without growing apart and changing without scaring and scarring the other person. I felt bad about the realization. I confronted myself for turning into a person who consciously bars off others, disengaging myself from deeper ties so my social sphere remains limited and exclusive. Because who can handle constant change? It came to a point where I asked myself: can I just decide to stop being friends with a person? Or it possible for real friendships to end without me intending for them to?

From one chapter to another, our lives change. We lose the luxury of time – people build companies, start families, get caught up in careers and hobbies, and some devote themselves to stupid and twisted love affairs. Are these strangers-turned-friends worthy of our precious time? This is the part where I grasped the value of the pointless fun we had when life was still simple. That strong friendships are founded on senseless jokes, random getaways, and empty secrets. Because these moments will help you get through the real deal of life, they will bring you back to the carefree and happy you.

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If I remember right, Kath and I were passing notes to each other during a seminar or a board review class (sorry, CIs). She was so bothered because she had a petty fight with one of our friends. We were trying to work out a plan for them to reconcile when she handed me this piece of paper.

If you can’t read Kath’s cramped handwriting (peace, Kath):

“Unlike ***, I just couldn’t let go of a friendship that easy. I have put a great deal of investment on this. My friends are for keeps. They are my keepsake. I would stand firm to the friendship I have built. They are not just the coins in my pocket that I saved for a certain time and give them all away when something greater is worth keeping.”

It was a petty misunderstanding, but she was already worried that the friendship might end. With her uneasiness, she showed how much she treasured her friend and how she would try all ways just for them to be okay. I found it, Kath! Told you, I still have it with me. Ha, little did we know that this would reappear in a very timely manner.

My friend, Edgar Allan said, “Years of love have been forgot, in the hatred of a minute.” Well, I guess friendships can end because there are some people who can throw all cherished memories away in a blink of an eye. I, too, have my own share of wrong impulsive decisions – although I don’t regret a few. These instances taught me to open myself up to new friends because there are still millions of great people in the world and it would be a shame if I don’t get to give them a portion of my lifetime (whether they like it or not). Friendship is a dead investment, but there’s nothing wrong in demanding for sincerity, truthfulness, and authenticity. That’s the least you can offer. Give me that and you get a bonus access to my hanep punchlines.

“I have one last hope for you… The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life… so today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom: As is a tale, so is life, not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” – J.K. Rowling

Friendship only gets complicated when you treat it like a romantic love affair. And to some extent, you should. After all, we need at least one to survive this existence. The only problem is when you only assume the role of a taker and not a giver.

Sometimes I overthink. Time to cut my toilet time.

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