A few weeks ago I shared some insights about friendship. Sharing more of those this week.
ON GETTING WHAT YOU GIVE:
I learned that in any kind of relationship, you kinda have to learn how to reciprocate. You can’t expect people to give you the time of day for example, if you never show up. Or you can’t really expect them to share personal stuff with you if you don’t do a bit of oversharing yourself.
In our barkada, it’s an unspoken thing that everyone kinda takes care of Rina. We always end up fixing our schedules to fit her more hectic one or we always make sure she doesn’t lose any of her belongings when we travel (the struggle is real).
The thing is, we’ve all been willing to extend ourselves for her because the effort that we give to the friendship is nothing compared to the way she spoils all of all of us. She’s the sort of friend who would trek from Batangas to Bataan (true story) just so she could hang out for a couple of hours.
She’s extremely generous and considerate and would offer you whatever she had if she felt you needed it. As a matter of fact, this blog post is partly sponsored by the Capistrano Residence.
We don’t have a permanent home in Manila, and whenever we’re in town, we spend a ridiculous amount of money staying in hotels. (A bunch of friends have offered to adopt us, but we feel uncomfortable imposing especially since we’re usually out ‘til late).
Rina, knowing that we’re living beyond our means like the social climbers that we are, insisted that we stay in their currently unoccupied condo. That way, we get to save money and I don’t have deal with my putting-people-out reservations. Not only that, she made sure that the place was stocked. She even brought us dinner when she came to visit.
I’m not saying friendship is transactional. But I find that learning how to speak your friends’ love language and going the extra mile for them help you foster a more lasting connection. And, they in turn become more willing to show their affection for you in ways that you appreciate.
ON FRIENDSHIP CYCLES
I learned that the longer you’re friends with someone, the more chances that your friendship will go through different cycles.
My bff Ynez and I, have been friends since grade school. Back then, we were Gossip Girl frenemies. We would backstab each other one minute and then makeup and giggle about boys and raunchy romance novels the next. (Adolescent girls are just lovely, aren’t they?)
And then she moved schools, and we went through a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants phase. We more or less did our own thing but would update each other every so often through long, inane letters and giddy phone calls.
In our twenties, we did the Sex and the City route (except we wore Janilyn – we couldn’t afford Manolo’s). We were together constantly- from long leisurely lunches to all-night clubbing. We would go on bff beach trips all the time and were even mistaken for lesbian lovers once (not kidding).
But, as we got older, a hella lot more staid and somewhat more responsible, we sort of evolved back to being all Traveling Pants-ish.
The thing is, despite all the different cycles and changes our friendship went through, our care for each other has always remained constant.
Ynez, who is as reserved and pragmatic as I am outspoken and dramatic, has been pretty much been my sounding board all through out our friendship. She’s almost always my first call whenever I go through something significant- whether it’s a breakup or an engagement, a pregnancy or a miscarriage.
I learned that as you grow and change as a person, your relationships go through different phases as well. It’s pretty tempting to hold on to the past and reminisce about how you once were, but there’s always value to letting your friendship evolve and grow along with you.
ON NOT CLOSING ANY DOORS
Through my experiences with different people, I realized that there is no such thing, “as friendship over”. Once you’ve established ties with a person, you’re forever connected, regardless of the circumstances.
For a good portion of our friendship, Caleen and I were so involved in each other’s lives that it was borderline inappropriate. We have similar dispositions – we’re both outspoken, detail-oriented and obsessive so we naturally consulted each other about pretty much everything – from inane thoughts to fashion decisions to boyfriend problems.
For some reason though, after we both got married, things just changed. I can’t put a finger at it; it’s not as if we fought. But the friendship just felt weirdly strained.
A part of me felt that Caleen and I might have outgrown our friendship. We have after all, become so different. Seriously, what would a hands-on mom and a go-getter businesswoman talk about with a desperate suburban housewife?
I could have talked to her about it- but as strange as this may sound, I didn’t bug her because I wanted to be a legit friend.
I mean, I thought of all the times she was there for me. The times when she supported all my half-baked business ideas, or the times she dropped everything to comfort my heartbroken ass, or the times she put up with my institution-level psycho behavior.
I knew she had a lot on her plate. So I figured, you know what, the best thing I can do for her is to let her live her life without having to deal with my clingy nonsense.
It sounds overly dramatic but promise, I mean this in the most low-key way possible- sometimes a part of being a true friend is letting that person grow- even if it means letting that person grow without you.
To be clear I never stopped considering Caleen as one of my best friends. But I just kinda backed off and let her do her own thing.
The strange thing was, when I went through colossal problems last year, she was still one of the first people I called. And despite not having legit, heartfelt conversations for two years, Caleen (with her unique combination of logic and empathy) knew exactly how to get me through another difficult moment.
I realized then that once you become really close with someone, the bond that you share will always be there no matter what.
Right now, Caleen and I are really good. We still don’t talk as often as we used to but our relationship no longer feels strained. More importantly, I think it’s been established that we’re still there for each other whatever changes we go through.
Through the years though, I’ve lost touch with a lot of people that I have at one point, considered good friends. Some of them I had a legit falling out with; some I just never had the opportunity to catch up with again; others, well, we just no longer have anything to talk about.
Regardless of the circumstances however, all these friendships hold a special place in my heart. In one way or another, they’ve all become a part of me- each of them has helped form my personality, my beliefs, my preferences, my habits etc. And because of that, I’ll always consider them as friends.
ON NOT BEING FOR EVERYONE
I’m grateful that despite all of the things that I am, and all the things that I’m not, that I’m blessed with great friends.
I’m 100% sure though, that there are a bunch of people who don’t really think much of me. (No, this is not your cue to say, “Awww.. ofcourse not! You’re so nice kaya!” I’m not fishing for compliments, I swear)
I respect that. I’ve long stopped taking these things personally. Just because some people don’t dig me, doesn’t make me a bad person. And it doesn’t necessarily make these guys awful either. (They may have questionable judgment, but they’re good people naman. :P).
Sometimes, friendship is all about chemistry. There are just folks that you mesh with, and there are some who rub you the wrong way. That’s just the way it is. Not a big deal.
I really don’t go around hating on individuals who aren’t big fans of me. But, I also don’t go out of my way to win their affection either.
Having real friends is a gift that’s hard to come by. And I feel that if I spent time obsessing about people who don’t like me, I lose the opportunity to be there for people value me, challenge me and bring out the best in me.
So to all my friends, and the people I’ve shared memories, stories and experiences with, thank you! I hope you all know that looking back at our moments together really make me happy. I can honestly say that my life has become fuller, richer and more meaningful because of you guys.