Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What are friends for?

It's a simple question. And, I have a simple answer to it that might offend most- if not all- of you.  So, before I go off defending myself, let's start with a simpler question. What are friends? That should be easy enough to answer. Or, at least it should be, considering that we've been going around making friends since we were in diapers. But, then, everything was simpler when we were younger. Now? Not so much.

Friend. A textbook definition would be a person who is in good terms with another. That seems straight-forward enough, right? But then we got older and we began to realize that there are people we were in good terms with but hold at a distance. The simple motion of saying 'Hi' and agreeing on your favorite TV show is no longer enough to consider this stranger a friend. We began to be more picky about the people we hand that title to. We began to distinguish between acquaintances, friends, close friends and all those fun circles. And, with this complication in judging our relationships with other people, we began to build up greater expectations from friends. We began to demand more while not necessarily giving more. We began to throw around suffocating chains without considering whether the level of attachment is mutual.

As years go by, we realize just how huge this world is. We meet more and more people. We are exposed to more and more types of personalities. And, at the same time, we grow, develop and change. Our perspective of life shifts. Our priorities are rearranged. Our beliefs are challenged. Yet, somehow, our friends are still the same -in the sense that they are the same existence but not necessarily the same people. After all, time has changed them, too. This is the thing we have a hard time understanding. We become so caught up with ourselves that we forget that the things that have changed us may have changed them, too. But experiences, even if they're the same, does not mold any two persons the same way. So we are stuck in a group of people we once held close to our hearts but no longer relate to. The sad thing is, we begin to demand that they remain compatible to who we have become. We expect them to compromise themselves to fit our needs and wants. But, of course, that wouldn't work. Not in the long run, at least. And, within the wreckage, we realize one thing: that friendship never stood a chance, not with the way we handled it.

Time changes us. We grow. And, sometimes, we just grow apart. It's nobody's fault. It just happens. But, even in these cases, I see no reason to feel sad. All things come to an end. All you can do is wish for that friend to find happiness among new companions and for you to have the same. There is no need to mourn for the loss of a friendship, after all, those good memories of better times will remain untainted. And, when things settle down and when you're in a clearer state of mind, you can revisit those moments with your friend. And, you'll have fun but you'll know deep inside that parting ways- no matter the manner it was done- was the right decision.

Friendship is a relationship founded on common ground but strengthened by accepting your differences. But there are times when those differences create a gap so wide that it can't be bridged over by any compromise. It's just a matter of acknowledging this and learning when to let go.

Okay, so yeah. Maybe that wasn't as easy a question to answer as I thought it was. And, I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who disagree with my perspective but since I'm on a roll, let's keep going. What are friends for? Hearing the echoes of my words, it seems as though I'm saying that friends are nothing but companions you keep around until they're no longer useful to you. In a way, that's true. Now if only I can figure out a more eloquent way of saying that.

Friendship is a give and take relationship. And, when you can no longer give what the other needs or when that other person can no longer give what you need, then it's only logical to call it quits. That just sounds so clinical, so detached, that I'm starting to wonder how I even still have friends. But it is the reality we live in. Or, for your sake, I hope it is the reality you live in. Because when a relationship has long passed its due date but you continue to maintain it, you will realize sooner or later that it is doing you more harm than good.

Friends are there to support you, to encourage you, to empathize with you, and, when necessary, to push you to action. They are those great beings who can help you go beyond what you assumed to be your limits. And, in return, you do these things for them, too. The thing is, we don't always want to share all our moments to all our friends. It's disgusting to admit it but there are some friendships we enjoy in moments of triumph and some friendships we nurture in moments of despair. We are all constantly changing. We're going through life in different ways. And, that doesn't always allow us the ability to accommodate our friends' needs at all times nor are they always able to accommodate us. But, sometimes, it's just the difference in personalities that limits us from being able to live through all phases of life together with them. So, we choose what moments we want to share with whom. This may build distance between us and our friends but it's better than losing them altogether. Unless, of course, we happen to be lucky enough to find the Cristina to our Meredith, then all this is moot. Because that friendship was a match made in heaven.

Some will consider my words as downright rude and insulting but I believe it holds merit. And, I'm pretty sure that some people think that I'm a user. I don't think I am. But if believing in all of these makes me one, then I guess that's what I am.

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