Random Talk: Multifarious concepts of Friendships

April 8, 2008 at 2:02 am (friendship) (, )

I read somewhere quite some time ago that friendship is developed either during youth or through mutual interests/values. Living the nomadic life I have led it’s not as simplistic as a person I meet is either or, usually friendships become fond memories and not necessarily part of my current support system but through sites like Facebook I have found friends that I was close with during different parts of my life which then comes back to how living a nomadic life, friendship becomes fond memories but at least I know they are doing well. Which is inspiring so indirectly the friendship continues. This is my glass half full perception. Actually come to think of it, I have rekindled some old friends into something new. Being able to start where you left off even after 17 years is rare but definitely something to smile about.

I have always harbored envy towards people that have lived in the same geographical location for a long time, friendships that were nurtured through youth. I yearned for that, but that was not something I could have. Regardless, while I am at a bar in a new environment by myself having a solitary drink or at a restaurant eating a meal, I would make a face when I see a group of girls or group of friends sharing dinner or drinks together laughing about their day like the “Sex and the City” girls or “Friends”, childish yes, but can’t help myself. But I learned a survival skill which is the ability to strike up a conversation wherever I go and use the solitude as a time of being in the moment instead of choosing to feel insecurity. Fuck it. I am stronger than that and I love good restaurants or going to a museum or going to watch a movie. Why miss out on it because I don’t have anyone to go with me? But the envy remains because I do love interaction and as they say, no man’s [woman’s] an island.

Just when I think my life can’t get any more challenging, I get a job that is located in the boonies and in Korean culture, you can’t make friends with your employees, and I am the only girl manager…so my connection to the world is via internet. I was quite bummed for a while because I am an extrovert, I need to bounce of people’s energy and the only energy I could bounce off of were my quiet employees who needs a lot of coaxing to share there opinion with work and my cats. Trying to draw out opinions in a non-responsive environment is taxing and my cats, well they are cute to look at but meowing with them doesn’t necessarily fill my need of conversation. Felt like I was drifting further away from from the few friends in Seoul…and not having any opportunity to make new friends because I can’t sign up for anything to nurture my interests…god…I am getting depressed just writing about my scenario. Being isolated for an extrovert is like taking away Insulin shots from a diabetic, I reckon. Silence is deafening takes on a new meaning. But as they say, after you hit rock bottom there is no place to go but back up and your survival instincts kick in because at the end of the day, it’s either you get sucked into a vortex of self pity or you make things happen. I reaquainted with people I knew throughout my life through facebook, got involved in groups, started to organize get togethers, people with different personalities and backgrounds meeting up to discuss about their life in Korea through drinks just being communal enjoying camaraderie…workin it *snap**snap**snap*

I am experiencing a paradigm shift on the notion of friendships. The notion that your friendships are developed either through youth or mutual interest/values still remains but it has expanded. Although some have been lucky to have a best friend from the age of 4 or some get to develop close companionship through mutual interests/values, I think as life gets more complicating everyone we meet becomes a friend of some sort. In this 21st century, we don’t need one person to fill our need of companionship. Having someone you have never met but got to know through facebook leaving you an encouraging word on your wall or someone you meet through a mutual interest group to just shoot the shit, bouncing of your thoughts in anonymous discussion forums to get a better picture of what is going on in your head, the roles a friend comprises of are spread out through different modes, does that mean it’s wrong because it’s not conventional? Nope. It’s better than living like a hermit and feeling like life threw you lemons. Screw that, throw me lemons I am makin not just lemonade…lemon meringue pie, using lemon to hightlight my hair, lemon vodka… whatever I can make with it.

I stopped feeling sorry for myself because my friendships doesn’t fall into a black and white category. I have met a lot of people from all walks of life, I have been privileged to have had at least one close friend in each chapter of my life. Collectively I have friends spread globally and I know if I needed a 2nd opinion from someone that have known how far I have come, they are a keyboard or a phone call away, and even though I miss being able to jump in my car to meet my close friends at a restaurant or have a girls night out, there are other means, which reinforces my independence at the same time satisfying my social needs. It shows me that I can survive in any environment on my own and can still satisfy my social needs by thinking outside the box.

Most importantly, what counts is being able to be your own best friend. When you are able to do that, the hindsight of needing someone which can blind you from seeing people with an objective and open attitude dissipates and you become more open to other people’s differences. Not everyone is like you nor should they be and I am grateful because I can appreciate individuality. I think people are like art, each person is shaped by so many different aspects in different shades…how interesting is that?

In addition, when you become your own best friend it has a ripple effect towards everything in your outside environment. You can become a better friend and when people you don’ t know leave an encouraging word on your Facebook wall or someone you haven’t talked to in awhile writes to see how you are doing or friends without asking says they are there for you because they notice you are not yourself…or when you get to find someone you love that is there for you or someone you can talk to about anything, you really feel the appreciation from deep within your heart and that is such an amazing feeling. How can you appreciate those things if you don’t know how to appreciate yourself? Cliche but so true.

Will the envy of people who have had friendship for a consistent period of time ever go away, I doubt it. Am I grateful for the different people I have met from my past to the new? Most definitely. What is my conclusion, nothing is in black and white and sometimes you need to step outside the box to satisfy the friendship quotient and that is ok. 🙂

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