I don’t know if I could write something relevant and useful about this topic. I am not really good at it – both in writing and making friends. But I think that writing and making friends have a lot of things in common. First, there are a lot of books published about these two. We have the usual Strunk and White Guide to Writing and loads of self-help books on how to make friends. Second, you immediately get a green mark in your word processed file when it is grammatically wrong while in friendship, you get into arguments with old friends. Lastly, a computer program can suggest ways to correct your error in your essay and you are given opportunity to mend things in friendship.
What is friendship?
This is one of the words that I think dictionaries and other self-help books have a hard time defining. What encompasses friendship depends on how it is defined by the people involved. There are several kinds of friendship as well. Joseph Epstein in his book “Friendship: An Expose,” tried to define friendship and he somehow enumerated the kinds of friendship that is, by context, applicable to him. And I agree with his categorizations.
But how can you maintain a strong friendship?
With a friend, you can be yourself. For me it means you are allowed to show your strong and weak sides. You can be strong for a friend in need. It would be that same friend whom you can show your weakness and rely on. Unfortunately, there are some who can only be there during good times and then disappear.
For instance, I know of someone who you can depend on if you have problems but will disappear if he is in trouble. He won’t even tell his friend what his problem is. Somehow, the give-and-take relationship is lost in that scenario leaving the other person feeling useless. In the end, that person may feel unwanted. He might feel like he is just taking advantage of his friend because he can’t do anything for him in return.
One of my acquaintances said that “kuya-bunso” is exclusive to someone so he imposes this to his friend who respected that exclusivity. Yet, even with exclusivity, other people are still calling him “bunso” and these are complete strangers randomly added in various social networking sites. It was unfair to the person who respected this exclusivity. Why impose rules when you can’t even uphold it? It appears that the rule is only applicable to that particular person but that rule does not exist for the general public. As Robert Fulghum said, “sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.”
The one thing in common in these two stories is that the person in question does not admit his mistakes. I guess he really wants to make his friend feel useless and will continuously treat his friend unfairly.
My take on these two different stories is simple. If that person is strong enough to admit his faults then the broken friendship can still be mended. But if that person believed that he did nothing wrong, that he did not make his friend feel useless or that he is treating him unfairly, then everything will topple down.
A friend doesn’t want to feel useless in times of need. The act of telling your friend you are experiencing difficulties is enough to make him or her feel useful and needed. Once you neglect the presence of your friend in times of trouble, once you render them useless, they will disappear.
Learn to value your friends because they are God’s gift. So go ahead. Pick that phone and compose a text message for them. Tell them you are thankful for their presence. Better yet, meet up and tell them in person. Give them a hug. Tell them how you really feel. Tell them how they affect you. Nothing beats a face-to-face interaction with a friend.