I remember asking this question of my nephew when he was in Primary 1, “Who are your friends, XXX?”, and his very philosophical reply, “I have neither friend nor foe.” 🙂
That struck a chord. Besides being a very smart reply especially for a then 6-year old (awwwww), it actually has some truth in it. It is likely that all he had then were acquantainces.
I am also not one of those who makes a “best friend” at hello. Neither then nor now. I will interact with warmth (as much as I can psych, especially with new people) but it takes a lot more than a warm handshake or air kisses, to make someone more than an acquaintance.
I think there is nothing wrong with having different levels of acquaintances and friendships. It’s normal. We can’t have all best friends. The spectrum ranges from “those you hee he ha ha” with (singlish for “cho hee” .. hokkien for “main wayang” … hmmm (this explanation is getting nowhere) … malay for playact? (you get the drift); those you are comfortable enough to hang with and those you trust with your life.
The office is where you might find more of the first category (well technically, these will be filed under acquaintances) as politics, presence of white horses, spy networks give rise to the necessity of this type of hair raising, spirit-wrenching, life-sucking encounters. One caveat though, if out of this labryinth of terror networks, you are able to form any friendships at all, you probably can count on them being your friends for life.
As for friends, here’s a list of criteria (for me, at least) that will qualify someone as a friend (not in any order of merit, in any combi or on its own):
- Someone with whom there is give and there is take
- Someone you wouldn’t mind spending an inordinate amount of time chilling with, flitting from non topic to non topic
- Someone on the same wavelength and mindset as you and with whom you have had shared experiences
- Someone with whom you can agree to disagree with, peaceably
- Someone you’ve gone through thick and thin with
- Someone you’ll turn to in times of trouble
- Someone you trust with your deepest, darkest secrets
- Someone who doesn’t judge you but will love you enough to be honest with you and knock some sense into you when required (at risk of friendship cos the truth always hurts and the first reaction is mostly to retaliate and/or dismiss)
- Someone you trust with your life
- Someone you’re willing to make sacrifices for
- Someone who will celebrate with you
- Someone who will cry with you (this rules out most guys, if you are a girl, stay with your girlfriends on this)
- Someone who will be there when life’s journey ends
- The only One whose life ended for me, in the spiritual sense
For me, fortunately, my family and extended family members are also my friends. So I am doubly blessed and richer for this as I know for some, that might not be true.
What’s your experience? Who do you count as friends? Leave your comments and add to the list, if you will.
Your friend, (I hope)