A friend long ago told me that there’s economics to friendship. Essentially you are friends with someone because you get something out of the friendship, such as laughter, entertainment, etc. For the longest time I thought that’s true, until I realised, not too long ago, fundamentally that means putting the friendship as a means to a benefit, which is opportunistic. Real friendship, I slowly found out, should be a reward in and by itself. Time, and your heart, are what you put in to get that.
The realisation came about a year ago when I lost two of my bestfriends. And slowly I realised, I’m losing more friends more quickly than I make them. See I don’t have many friends growing up because I was always the new kid who moved around, so I cherish my friends and try to always make time for them.
But some friendship just have an expiry date, you know? And you know this when you’ve simply grown apart, outgrow each other so much so that you don’t have anything in common anymore or when the other party stops making time. I hate it when someone says they are busy or they don’t have time – that simply reveals that they don’t value you as much as they value everything else. My mum told me sometime ago, if a guy was interested in you they will make time. Same concept applies here.
I mean, everyone is busy. Do you know someone in Singapore who doesn’t have anything to do on a Saturday? For me, I have schedule that comes down to the minutes every day. If I can make time for you, why can’t you make time for me? What could be the explanation apart from the fact that you don’t value my company as much? That shit hurts.
And slowly you realise in all interactions all they talk about is themselves – to fill in the gap that honestly they don’t know anything about you because they simply don’t care. I’m stopping my efforts on those people, because that’s not friendship.
No, friendship is making time for that person because you enjoy their company. It means making time to go on a Karaoke session to cheer you friend up, or to sit on a jazz bar in silent because your friend had a bad day, it means to celebrate their wins because you truly, really love this person so much that you can honestly be happy when they succeed in life. It means to trust and have faith that their character won’t bail on you on a roller coaster ride, that they will be there just as you were there.
I used to enjoy this kind of friendships when life was much simpler and I’ve been blessed to enjoy this kind of friendships now, although I have less friends. I’m buckling up to lose more friends because I’m cutting my loses. Afterall it has been said, you are who you surround yourself with. Frankly I don’t want stick around someone who doesn’t enjoy to be around me just to unwrap more presents during Christmas – with a true friend, everyday can be Christmas.
Illustration credit: Lynne Goh “Friendship”, Yi & Li Illustration Series
Inked and digitally colored, 2008