Tuesday, 17 September 2013

On friendship

Time and time again, I come across people that I bump into regularly enough for a period of time, before that person, for one reason or another, needs to leave and in doing so, eliminates the chance of us impulsively hanging out. These temporary relationships (in the general term) happen in life because these people are meant to teach us something, I reckon, and the lessons are quick and short, and are often repetitive in nature. The prevalent theme is what I call how to let go.

When you think about friendships in general, you realise that an element of the said friendship is called effort of spending time together, doing things together, and talking and listening to each other. This is precisely why in my life I don't have a lot of people that I can call friends, because friends are difficult to come by. There are plenty of people I am friendly with and I like these people, and it's fine that we are not friends.

Almost all of the people that I used to bump into regularly who decide to pursue their lives else where say "we will stay in touch", "we will continue to hang out", "call me and we will have lunch" bla bla bla. You get the idea. They say that they want to continue the "friendship". I am pretty happy to give these people a chance, but I must say that I have quite an aversion to those with a chronic lag in responding to my emails or my sms-es. I don't call that often, but when I do, you better pick up, unless if you have a really good reason not to. I realise that I sound like some spoilt brat, but really, it is basic common courtesy: someone contacts you, you reply, thankyouverymuch. Even when the reply is to say, sorry, I can't make it, thanks for thinking about me. Actually, make it especially when you can't make it because the people who are inviting you do have lives too you know and they may want to make other plans with other people. It is not fair that you expect them to hold that spot for you when you have no intention of spending time with them.

I realise over and over and over again that I am pretty dumb when it comes to certain lessons. Maybe this is because I like giving people the benefit of the doubt a tiny wee bit too much. These days though, I am happily learning this lesson of letting go: that people's actions speak louder than their words, they leave because they want to pursue their happiness elsewhere and that has nothing to do with me. If they can't make time for me in their next pursue of happiness, then that's fine because that is something beyond my control.

Despite that realisation, I still get peeved from time to time when I have to deal with people who say that they want to keep in touch but hardly ever stay true to their words. I am peeved by the chronically lagged responders and I end up, more often than not, ignoring their correspondence altogether. I mean, what should I say to an email that says like this:

"Hi sweetie! Long time no chat! How are you?"

My friend said, "Good thanks"  and then delete the email.

My response - I just don't reply. I delete straight away.

Because that is not how you keep in touch with someone.

Another equally annoying correspondence goes like this

"Hi babe! We should hang out! Are you free for lunch tomorrow?"

This is all great if I am free for lunch tomorrow. The chance of this happening is zero. I am a planner, I always have plans. If you ask to meet me tomorrow and I say yes, that's because I have decided to move something for you. Yes, you do not ask, and I gladly do it for you anyway because I value you that much.

I am happy to give my time to my friends and people I like in this life. And conversely, I am not happy to give me time to people I do not like in this life. People I do not like in my life include people who waste my time. People I do not like include those who are not true to their words. People I do not like include those who are morons and do not realise that they are.

How to keep in touch with anyone

Despite my hang-ups about Facebook, I must admit that it is somehow a rather useful tool to keep in touch. Because we do not have to use words anymore: we can just post a picture and yeap, that's my holiday to wherever and that's the places I saw. I find it rather annoying when someone comments oh did you just go to (insert destination)? D'oh, of course I did. Need you ask that question? A picture speaks a thousand words, words that apparently did not get through to you.

Facebook is useful that way, sure. This kind of connection is relatively new and has only been around since Facebook has been widely used by the global community. It is kind of similar (not the same) in nature to blogs, but it is slightly more personal, if you only add your real life friends on Facebook.

But with my friends, I actually want to know how they really are. How they are going on with their lives. Their dreams, their aspirations, their fears. The things that they only share with their friends. The things that are deep within their souls, and are often intense and are a form of emotional exercise in human connection.

I guess this definition is rather extreme and people are scared by this, which is why "keeping in touch" has been reduced to a "hey how are you we should hang out" that never quite eventuates to a real life catch up.

Sometimes all I want to do is to (1) see you, (2) hug you and (3) make sure that you're ok.

And that is all there is to it.

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