And wished the day would never end. Says below a dainty drawing of two young girls walking hand in hand towards the sunset. A poster which I displayed in my room when I was a kid. A testament on how valuable friendships were to me. Making friends then did not require an effort. We laughed at the same jokes and we were best friends forever. We liked the same movie star. ‘ She’s so pretty!’ and we were ready to swear to go to college together. I told her about my crush and vice versa. And we were ready to die for each other. Okay that one is an exaggeration. But you know what I mean. My happy days of friendship after childhood’s innocent mingling were my student days. Primary, high school and college. When responsibilities were non existent and laughters were abundant.
But growing up why did it all became so complicated? That even with the proliferation of social media which made keeping and reconnecting to friends so easy like never before do most of us feel still unconnected and misunderstood?
Socrates used the term philos to mean love in the sense of a friend and Eros as the god of Love and Desire. Socrates believed the best of all possessions is a sincere and good friend. But how do you define a good friend? And how do you know if you yourself have been a good friend?
Is it someone one who is there for you at all times? Besides their busy schedule? Wife or husband, kids, work etc.? If would be insensitive to compete with this bunch of people in our friend’s life. Of course family comes first. We would never want to cause a rift in our friend’s married life. It is sad to think that friendship between a married friend and the single ones slowly fades around this time. Somehow stop we relating to each other’s concerns and interests.
Someone who lends you money? Haha! Or better yet someone who never borrows money from you? Talk of money in friendships makes one cringe. It’s the white elephant in the room. Money destroys friendship faster than anything else. And with permanent consequences. We all know that.
Someone who gives you job referrals or clients? Ugh.The tackiest of all reasons to make friends is to widen your social circle to advance your status in life. Nothing short of being a social climber or the cruelest of all labels. User. Which is a Filipino slang for using people for personal advancement. Not related to the other Filipino slang ‘user’ meaning user of addictive substances like shabu or crystal meth. Unless you are both.
Someone who admires you and praises you all time? ” You ‘re so beautiful! Sexy! And rich!” Sounds more like a fan than a friend. Or are you on other side. Always the sidekick never in the limelight. I often wonder why heroes most often have sidekicks than friends. Like Batman and Robin. Like Lone Ranger and Tonto. Like Green Lantern and Kairo. You get the drift. Is it too much of a personality clash for two heroes to hangout together? Only one Queen in the castle?
Someone you meet constantly at work? It is effortless unless you hate going to work. I’ve met many good friends at my previous jobs only I wish I can take them with me every time I change employment but inevitably we end up spreading out to different directions.
Someone who pushes you to succeed? The one who is always ready to shower you with constructive criticism? Who needs an enemy when you have those. You get that enough from someone in your own family.
Someone who unloads their problem unto you and whom you patiently advices but who returns the next day to bore you with the same issue? We then should start charging fees next time they come around. Psychologists make a lot money because most of us want to unburden ourselves without interruption with redundant issues. We only want the other person to listen and nods her head at the right moment.
So who else? Someone who inspires you? Who lifts you up when you’re down? They are rarer than diamonds. You must never let one go if you are fortunate enough to meet one. Dime a dozen are those who pulls you down when you are going up. Who can’t let go of jealousy and ego when you start doing better than them. Again who needs enemies if you have those for friends.
Someone who asks you ‘ So how are you today?’ then before you can answer launches on a long recount on what she did the whole day. Oblivious of your sighs and and somber replies. For you were actually having a bad day and was just glad someone had asked.
So who is a true friend I wonder? Did I leave anything out? Do we demand too much from friendship like we do from a lover and compare it to books and films that we read or watch?
Like marriage I think friendship has it ebb and flows. You lose touch then you reconnect like you did not miss a single day of each other’s life. You are busy but when you are free you instantly want to be with each other.
I feel for me you are a true friend because you are the one who understand that life changes for better or worse. That people grow and can change to someone you can hardly recognize. But you do not pass judgement. You simply know people thinks in different ways and wants different things. So you let your friend be if it makes her happy.
You are the one who is thankful if a friend will spare you a minute or two. Never resentful. You know there are things more important than you. But you are there whenever she calls you. If you can’t you know she’ll understand too.
You are the one who likes her for what she was, who she is and who she will become. You want her to succeed and proud to be her friend. But sorry for her if times are tough. And yes, you lend her some money but not like handing alms to a beggar. You do it subtlety to preserve her dignity.
Is this not a tad idealistic you ask? But if it any less than this will it be worth it to walk hand in hand towards the sunset with a friend wishing the day would never end?