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22 January 2009 @ 08:34 pm
Friendship Soup for Lost Romanticists  
As one (and probably the) of my favorite authors of all time, Jane Austen, put so aptly in Northanger Abbey,

"Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love."

So, after a wonderful (but not so eloquently put) journal on love, let us move onto another sort of love. A friendship love, a love close to kinship, but sometimes can be much greater, much stronger than that sort of love. A love that can rejuvenate us in our times of despair, build a wall between ourselves and the world, and make ourselves feel invincible. I might move back to the subject of romanticism, but that is for another time. Oh, and by the way, fashion update #2 is up and coming. Unfortunately, not all designers (at least the ones I love dearly) have had their Spring 2009 RTW shows yet, so I might put off fashion update #2 for a while.

When we've discovered that life is a disappointing lie, we often rely on the truths - our families and our friends. It is interesting to note, however, that families and friends are always grouped together. It's because they belong to the same sort of love. These are the loves that we may cry for because they melt our hearts and give our existence meaning in the world. But of families and friends, there is a difference.

Sometimes, we are so close to our family that it is difficult to be frank with them. We would hate to see them hurt because we are so willing to bear the burden of everything for ourselves. They are so dear to our hearts that we don't want to hurt them. These are the things we are willing to bottle within ourselves to make everything happier.

But when the pressure grows inside that bottled soul, it is up to the friends to release the cap and let the worries fly away. These are the people we turn to, people we know (if they're real friends) will never turn on us.

I think friendship, like romantic love, depends on a bag of chemicals in our body. Like the love at first sight (now, mind you, I am reluctant to believe in the existence of such things), sometimes there is a spark between you and whoever it is and that's all it takes to know that the two of you will be the best of friends. Friendship is a nice complement to love. It's much more comfortable and reliable.

At least for me, I think that time is no factor for friendship. My best friends are usually people who I started off on the right foot to begin with. Sorry, but if I had a bad impression of you to begin with, even if I end up making up with you about it later, chances are we won't be good friends. Well-known acquaintances, perhaps, but not good friends. And certainly not anyone I will trust to reveal myself to.

It was so at my seven-week summer camp. Seven weeks is not a very long time, but not a very short time either. It's long enough to understand many things about people, especially if you spend most of your entire day with them. At the summer camp, though, I discovered that the ones I ended up hanging out with were the people I started off on the right foot to begin with. And since I'm pretty sure they don't check my livejournal (at least the ones that I will probably not say some flattering things about), I might as well call them by their real names.

To begin with, I noticed that either was around people who were extremely alike with me in many aspects or with people who were extremely opposite with me in many aspects. My roommate was much opposite from myself - she's a mini-socialite. Or at least sort of. I think she just likes being in the company of people. Frank, but in as much nicety as possible. Fidgety. Seriously still lives in five-year old mentality, but for some reason is very shockingly frank about certain mature topics, which I will not delve into.

But we, quite honestly, became the best sort of friends. Wish I contacted her more often. But she was certainly very amusing. And we would often talk to like 3:00 in the morning, like for three hours straight, about random things. It took some determination to end our late-night talks and to finally go to sleep. Thanks to her, I now have a bad sleeping cycle. I'm not sure what's so very opposite of her from me, but there certainly was some sort of subliminal message that I had that told me I would get along with her the most.

My second best friend was our neighbor. She was the one who was a little like me - bit more sarcastic and cynical. And we were into classical music, too. Well, and just music in general. The one thing that I liked most about hanging out with her was that we could talk about anything. We could talk about topics that I've mulled about in school, but never had the courage to discuss in class. An intellectual partner. I think we were a little more alike, especially on one topic - our judgmental sides. We both, later in the seven-week camp, decidedly hung out with an exclusive circle of small friends at the summer camp and grew to dislike more and more people that were plain tolerable to begin with. Seven weeks, surprisingly, is enough for you to know what sort of people you like and what sort of people you dislike.

This post is getting a little long, so I'll cut the chase. I discovered, through the course of seven weeks, that there is quite a selectivity in making friends. And that the friendships that were founded on shallow accounts were the ones that died first. They were the first sacrifices laid at the altar when you discovered an inconvenient truth about them or a pet peeve you had that they unfortunately possessed. I confess - it's difficult for me to have mediocre friendships. Either we are good-sort-of acquaintances wherein I act politely and kindly towards you, or we are the best of friends. It is an awkward situation when you are sitting on the chair, thinking of what you want to be frank with to whoever it is, who happens to be only a mediocre friend. This level of trust is not attained, and it is too difficult (and frustrating) to fidget in your seat over what to tell and what not to tell.

Especially when you are not the best of friends, you discover that as you get to know so-and-so more and more, their flaws become more and more amplified. You can not help but think so-and-so's exaggeration and pain-phobia is all an act for more attention. You can't help but think so-and-so's complicated "love" relationships are just stupid and attention-seeking and frivolous. You can't help but think why you ever decided to befriend so-and-so. It was better when you were just acquaintances.

In the end of this rambling post, I find myself arriving at a conclusion: don't bother making light friendships. The acquaintance level friendships are often purposeful (as in, for copying homework or such, haha), but not worth it for deepening relationships. Often you know if you're going to be friends with this person for life. Like love, it takes a couple of chemicals to react in your body. The best friendships are often between extremely alike people or extremely opposite people. Complements and substitutes. Like goods. Cross price elasticity + and -. Nobody will know what I'm talking about.
➷ feonabrilliantglow on January 23rd, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
i can relate to your seven-week summer camp situation. i was in taiwan for four weeks and it was just the right amount of time to know my friends since i lived with them everyday. i agree that most of the time, our friends are either like us or total opposites of us. it's nice to know you can rely on someone and confide to an alternative person besides your family. but a strong friendship is when they are putting their friendship with you on the line. if they see or feel that you are doing something wrong, they are willing to confront you and risk their friendship for your sake. it's like a mental wake-up call. they could offend you at first and you might get mad at them, but in the end, it's for your own good. so yeah, don't bother making light friendships. for a friendship to last, a caring heart has a lot to do with it (i guess it's sorta the same for a dating relationship but that's obviously on a different level, or could be the same?).