Essay: On Friends

Friends. The family we choose. The people that we care about. The people that, hopefully, care about us too. But, if you are like I am, you don’t give the title friend to too many people or too often. You pick your friends and you try your best to remain friends with them.

Now, that’s me. I’m built that way. If my friends are sad, I’m gonna come over and try to cheer them up and support them. I’ll check up on them to see how they are doing and whether they need my help, even if it is just a call. If they are happy, I’ll try my best to keep the happy vibe and just enjoy their company. We might go for a coffee, walk around the city, do a movie night. You know, typical friend stuff. I will continue to give them my energy, time and love. Because I believe that relationship of whatever nature, needs those things.

on by Chang Duong

However, recently I have found out that not everyone is like this. Some people call themselves friends even though they don’t invest the time or energy, in other words, they won’t even text you the most basic question “how are you?”. Now, I don’t believe that those people are my friends, because they don’t put in the time and energy. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t think of them as enemies or something, or people that I don’t like. I can still be fond of someone and care about them, but I won’t call them friends. I’ll just call them an acquaintance. A person I know.

But once you become this acquaintance, I don’t wish to be called a friend from your position as well. Don’t get me wrong, I just don’t want the title. Cause friendship, for me, goes both ways. You don’t get to call me a friend, if you are not investing your time and energy in me and into our relationship. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to be something. I have to see some effort. Cause if I see none, you lose that privilege and often, I refrain from any voluntary contact. I just won’t message you, call you, listen to your issues etc. If we meet at an event, I will be polite and I will talk to you, but it’s only because I was raised that way. That doesn’t mean that we are friends again.

If you ever want to go back to being friends, all you have to do is start investing time and energy again. That’s all it takes. Unless, of course, you have hurt me, my family or my other friends. Or you have done something else that would force me not to want to be your friend. If any of that happens, there is almost a zero chance that we will be friends ever again. Does it ever happen? That people have done something that forced me to back out? To answer that question, yes. A few times. And I’m not going back to those people. Because, I’m trying to learn my own value as well and if someone hurts me as those people have, there is no way back.

I know that it might sound a bit weird, but I think that few of us have learned this the hard way. If someone will neglect us, we don’t want to waste our time and energy on someone that doesn’t treat us the same way. I guess that based on my history, I’ll rather have friends that I know that will put in the time and energy and we will have an amazing friendship than to have friends that won’t do this. Maybe because of what I have went through, I’m just picky with the people I let close and see the true me, tell them my troubles, seek their advice and opinions. Is it common these days? I don’t know anymore. I guess it really depends on the personality of people. Some just don’t care and are capable of talking about their problems with basically a complete stranger. For me, it’s difficult to reach out to people outside of my friend circle. I know that there are more people like me, in fact my friends are very similar in this (I guess that sometimes we just like to attract each other) and as long as I can remember, always have been like me. I think I feel comfortable with my kind of people around me, because I hope that they can understand me better, because maybe they have went or are going through similar stuff as well. Sometimes the fact that my friends are similar to me makes it easy to talk to them, but sometimes, it makes it harder or more challenging.

Breaking news, I’m also a massive overthinker, meaning that the majority of my day-to-day interactions will go through my mind, I will analyze them and think about them, even for no reason whatsoever. What does overthinking have in common with my friendships? Easy question. If you will stop reaching out in a certain time frame, my mind will tell me it’s because of something I did, even though I might not have done anything. No, you don’t have to tell me, I know it is unhealthy for me to think this way, but it is how I am built and I am working on dealing with this, however it is a work in progress. Therefore, when this happens, I will shut down any contact with you and I won’t reach out. This is what happens mainly with friends that are new to the circle or to people that I don’t know well. I have a few close friends that reach out a few times in few weeks. But it’s a common thing now with said people and I am aware of that, therefore I won’t freak out. With other people, I will freak out and inside of my mind it looks like an avalanche for a few days. If nothing will change in those few days, I’ll proceed as if we are not friends anymore. But as I have mentioned before, I will still care about you and I will consider you my acquaintance.

on by Harli Marten

Therefore, I would like to ask you something. If you know that you have a friend that is like me, reach out to us. Send us just “hey, how are you?” kinda texts, so we don’t have to worry whether we did something wrong or didn’t do something we should have. It really puts our minds at ease and it is just a simple text. Often, we may struggle to communicate our needs and fears and stuff, and sometimes we need the other person to reach out to us. It’s just how we are, but hey, if you are friends with a person like this, you might already be aware of this. And if not, consider this a friendly reminder. And to be honest, if I receive a text like this, or just a simple “hey, have a good day”, I will have better mood and I will smile at it. And I promise that in the next upcoming days, I’ll return the favour. So maybe, just maybe, help us out a bit, cause to be an overthinker, it isn’t easy and we do struggle as well.

I hope that my take on friendship was an interesting read for you. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for another essay that will drop in a week. Have a great day!

3 thoughts on “Essay: On Friends

  1. Deciding what is important to us about our friendships is a great boundary to have and a very individual element of our lives. It’s great that you know what brings you joy when it comes to interaction with your friends — it probably cuts out quite a lot of misunderstandings. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

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