Same-same but different?

According to Wikipedia, the value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the tendency to desire what is best for the other, sympathy and empathy, honesty, mutual understanding and compassion and trust.

With the hurry-burry of work and our personal lives, we sometimes take our friends for granted. True, we catch up with each other once in a while, but that seems like impersonal quick updates or like the work-in-progress (WIP) reports you do for work. I can’t help but muse that this is probably the reason why social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, chat platforms and even personal blogs function so well. They are as the primary tool for reaching out to your friends especially those you hardly meet at a more impersonal level.

Personally, I love meeting up with friends. Call me kaypoh but what is the point of being curt and impersonal or ‘private’ with people you consider friends? These should be the people who know you best and vice versa! If you want to hold people at arm’s length, then you’d be an acquaintance. Not a friend.

While getting updates is usually part of the fun, I prefer learning what a person is like. It is quite sad that sometimes people don’t really know the person that they are hanging out with. Think about your oldest friend or group of friends. Now what are their personalities like? Do you know what their hobbies are? Or what they wanted to be doing instead of working in their current career?

It amazes me that sometimes people don’t know things like that, while others can pick things up in a heartbeat. So it may take years to know someone but isn’t that part of a friendship? The other thing is: have you ever voiced your concerns when your friend behaves badly?

I admit there are occasions where I see my friend acting like a brat and sometimes I bring it up. Yea, so it may ruffle some feathers but strong friendships mean that you can work things through. Lately, I’ve witnessed some really brattish behaviour from a friend. My first instinct is to confront the person and chew them out. The only reason that I haven’t done so is that I haven’t figured out how to state my concerns in a diplomatic way, instead of going ‘stop being a total bastard!’ in my usually eloquent manner. Tough, I know. I’ll figure it out somehow.

School friends are the most interesting bunch. I still keep in touch with a handful of classmates from secondary school. But boy, have they changed. Recognizing that is what people seem to have trouble with. Your school friends are no longer only that uncouth boy, that sleepy bookworm or that wild party girl that you used to know. Each has evolved in their own different way, becoming more mature adults or crazier people (in some cases). And while it’s just too fun to rehash some of your old shenanigans, you have to realize that that in the intervening years, your friends, just like you have changed and may not be as proud of their shenanigans as they used to be.

As much as we wish to be recognized as individuals who have grown, we have to respect that our friends have the same need. We can’t expect them to behave as outlandishly as before neither can we stand by while they step out of the line. To an extent, it’s about how much you still want this person in your life. And you either advise them or you let them go.

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Ever prodded a sleeping dragon, only to have it whip up and bite you in the ass? Well, neither have I. But I advocate that you should try everything...once ;P


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