For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling pretty meh about myself. I was having one of those Oh-my-God-why-can’t-I-do-anything-right moments. The only thin body part I have left are my freakin’ shoulder blades, I can’t make heads or tails of my finances and I still have no idea how to establish a stable career for myself. I began wondering then, if I had failed in my goal to be the next Oprah, was there anything that I did in the past couple of decades that bore fruit?
I’ve said this over and over- I am a total dud when it comes to figuring out practical life goals, but I seem to have a knack for building lasting, meaningful relationships with people. Over the years, I’ve been blessed with all these amazing friends who seem to genuinely care about me.
Disclaimer: I’m in no shape or form popular. I don’t have 10,000 friends on Facebook and most of my Instagram followers are, sad to say, network marketers.
I’m not exactly Ms. Congeniality either. In fact, when I was a kid, I used to get flak from my parents because I was such a prickly, prissy child. Apparently, I would even send my playmates home because they were stinky.
I’d like to think that I developed an irresistibly charming personality over time, but the truth is I think I just learned through experiences which relationships work best for me.
Sharing with you some insights that I learned while trying to maintain friendships.
ON BEING ACCEPTED
Sounds trite, but I find that as you get older and more set in your ways, it becomes harder to find friends who just let you be you.
I know that I’m really good friends with someone when I can totally be myself with them without fearing that they’re secretly judging me. A good friendship gauge for is when I totally screw up and show my neurotic side and they’re still game to hang out.
My best friends, for instance, know that I’m a whiner who will complain about the smallest inconveniences, that I’m a social climber who secretly holds biased views against the jologs and that I’m a sloth who has to be dragged kicking and screaming to do anything remotely physical. They also know that I’m short-tempered and will shut people out when I’m not in the mood.
Boogie, my bgf (best guy friend- look at me being all milennial) once told another good friend Rina, “masungit pala si Pia no? I realized that too late in the relationship.” 😛 We had a good laugh about this, but decades later, we’re still very good friends.
Boogie has very strong views about what’s right and wrong and will not hesitate to give me hell when he thinks my decisions are crap. But he’s also extremely loyal and will back me up even if he doesn’t always agree with my life choices. I know that regardless of what’s happening in his life- regardless of whether he’s busy or in his own personal slump- I can always count on Boogie to drop everything and be there for me when it counts.
When I had to deal with my dad dying and was having serious relationship issues, Boogie took me on an all-about-Pia day. We went shopping, gorged on chocolates and fries and did everything I wanted to do just so I could forget about my troubles for a little while.
At the end of the day, I think that’s how all my best friends are: They may laugh at my tendencies, call me on my bulls*it, but they’ll stick around.
ON BEING ACCEPTING
It goes without saying that liking someone for who they are is a two-way street. You can’t expect someone accept you totally if you can’t accept them.
The thing is, I don’t really see myself as putting up with my friends’ quirks though. I think I love all them precisely because they all come with a unique set of talents and eccentricities.
This is just me, but I noticed that I don’t really get along with people who try to depict themselves as perfect anyway. Idiosyncrasies for me make a person more interesting.
Among all my best friends, Booboo is probably the most blunt. She will not hesitate to tell me when she thinks my glasses make me look nerdy; when she’s too lazy to see me; or when she doesn’t want to go to the restaurant that I picked because my food choices suck.
Her honesty is one of the things I love about her though.
Her no-nonsense manner is how she shows her friends that she cares. During my dad’s wake, Boo was there for hours every single day. When she noticed I was too depressed to eat, she started bringing me food and would force feed me by insisting, “Pi, I bought you yummy, expensive food. You’re wasting my money if you don’t eat it.”
Her candor not only applies to her observations about other people but also her thoughts about herself. I have the best, most insightful conversations with Boo because she’s not afraid to tell me things like it is. I’m a very stubborn girl who thinks I know better than everybody else. But when Boo breaks something down for me, I always listen.
I learned over time, that the traits that my friends and I have- the interaction between our respective “strengths” and “weaknesses”- is what enables us to form a special bond with each other. It’s actually what makes our friendship stronger and more genuine.
Another thing I learned about friendship is that you don’t have to be alike to get along. I love how I have such a diverse set of friends and how they’re all so different from me.
Among all my best friends, Cielo and I probably have the least things in common.
She’s a positive, pragmatic person. She’s doesn’t like dwelling on feelings and would rather take the more practical approach to solving problems. She also has refined interests. She likes wine nights, afternoon tea, engaging in artsy endeavors, taking up foreign language and immersing herself in other cultures –all that fancy stuff.
She admits she’s not much of a literary person though – she has absolutely has no interest in writing and isn’t much into reading either.
I like talking about my feelings and would set solving problems aside until I’ve properly dealt and vented my emotions. I like discussing ideas and theories more than I like pragmatic solutions. I would rather down vodka than sit down for tea. I’m in no way refined and the only culture I’m totally immersed in is pop culture.
I enjoy reading and writing and would rather spend time in a bookstore than joining a Spanish club.
But I think Cielo and I get along so well precisely because we’re so different. She asks me for help with anything writing-related and has even assigned me to be her daughter’s official children’s book supplier. Our discussions about random things are always pretty interesting because we have varied ways of seeing the same event or phenomenon.
When I went through crappy relationship problems last year, I relied on her clarity to help me look at stuff in a more positive, more objective perspective.
I like having diverse friends because I learn to see things in a different light. I think having people who are radically different from me has taught me to be more tolerant, to broaden my interests and to try things that are beyond my comfort zone.
As always, I’ve managed to talk myself out. I still would still very much like to talk about my friends behind their backs though. So I hope you stay tuned. 🙂