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Saturday, July 2, 2011

What kinda friends are we?

"We're not real friends unless we're friends on facebook"

I have 726 friends on facebook. But how many of your facebook friends do you really consider as really good friends? For me, I'd estimate <25. And that's already a big number in my opinion. What is a friend? What do you expect from a friend? Here's some types of friends I identified from my list of 726. In the real friend category we have:
The friend at first sight

There are the friends that you immediately get along with and relate to. Sometimes you barely have any common interests but you don't even realize it. You're too busy agreeing on how much you're alike. They're the type of friends whom you feel connected to right on the spot, from the very first conversations. They're almost a mirror image of your soul and you know what to expect from them because they're just like you. They get you, and you get them. It's the kinda peeps you go years without talking and just resume the conversation like it was yesterday. It's magic.

The friend by situation
When you're on a difficult path and you meet someone on that same path, it's easy to relate to each other. It's also easy to team up and watch each other's back. With time, a great friendship develops as you start caring for each other almost like family.

The alter-ego

He/She seems like your complete opposite. Except that part of you relates to that personality. You get along so well because you complement each other. You barely have anything in common but somehow always have fun together. It's the kinda friendship that you don't really question. It just works.

The friend by gratitude

You do something nice, and the person is ever thankful and wants to be there for you whenever you need one. And there starts a circle of care and gratitude that, over time, grows into a real little team. The kind you go out of your way to help and vice versa. We're in it together and we're getting out together kinda deal.

The Oracle
He/She isn't always around, is possibly not very good at keeping in touch, but will always be there when needed. Always picks up/returns your calls to give you a shoulder to cry on, an honest opinion, or much-needed advice. Usually calm, optimistic and encouraging. The kind that checks on you when you're sick and remembers your birthday.

In the other category we have:

The illusionist
You know all about their lives... because that's all they talk about. I know I have been a "real friend" to people who I don't consider as my "real friends". In other words, I gave without expecting anything in return. No regrets, I love being able to give people a new sparkle of hope. But as long as our friendship is based on me helping you, in my dictionary, I'm your friend but you're most likely not mine. When the friendship starts showing some two way motion, then we can talk real friendship.

The memory
You know. The people you haven't seen since you were 10. You kinda add each other because of the good memories. Sometimes you catch up. Sometimes you don't. Just for nostalgia's sake.

The social butterfly

You're a friend of a friend so you're their friend. Networking is big these days. Why not. You never know who they know. However, if you never meet in person, it's pretty much useless.

The peers
Same career paths/ hobbies/ passions/ employer. Whatever it is, there's a good reason for you to network and that's what you do.

A rant about people who ask me to help them but refuse any help

Quick note:
I can't help you feel better about anything if you don't want to feel better
You can't expect anything to improve if you categorically refuse any change in life

Do you think that it is your responsibility to keep yourself in good physical health? You know, getting enough sleep, food, exercise, and keeping your environment clean and healthy? I think most people would agree to a yes. Most of us know that physical and mental health go together. People who are positive heal faster, people who suffer from depression also develop physical symptoms affecting their health, etc.

So isn't it obvious that if you want to stay physically healthy, you need to stay mentally healthy too? Of course, once you're clinically depressed, your judgement might be (very) impaired. I know life gets tough and anyone can get depression. I've known many who have. But before you get to that point, seriously, don't we know when we're going downhill? And when we see that trend, why don't we go to the doctor for the mind i.e therapist? Is it the ego? Is it fear of judgement/stigma? Or is it plain ignorance of its importance and its impact on our surrounding?

I recently got myself into a tricky situation with an acquaintance who, for whatever reason, decided to tell me, of all people, that she was suicidal. On the spot, I got really worried and decided to try and be her friend. She sounded serious, so all I wanted was to keep her from doing something stupid. I had met her ONCE before that. I still don't know why she chose me. I sometimes get calls about 5 times a day and at some point, it gets really tiring listening to someone rant about how much everything and everyone sucks. I'm a positive person and so much negativity gives me the itch after a while. It's contageous too. I found myself complaining about having to listen to her complaints. lol.

What's really frustrating is that, at this point, she has no idea how much stress she's causing me. I tried to get her to seek professional help, but she said "I'm not depressed, I just need someone to talk to every few hours". She doesn't realize that, for an entire week, I couldn't focus at work. I spent an entire weekend researching about suicidal people and how to deal with them, trying to understand what's going on in her mind. On top of that, I had to bear with her 2h phone conversations that went in circles. I'm not sure if the worst would be when she'd ask me for advice that she didn't want to hear, or when she'd answer questions I didn't ask. In either case, as much as I talked to her, I couldn't get through. Maybe I'm not a good enough communicator. OR MAYBE I'M JUST NO FREAKIN PSYCHOLOGIST.

I guess what I really want to say is that I felt so helpless. As much as I tried, I couldn't understand her. I promised myself to never give up on life and I don't like quitters. It's hard to relate. It's even harder when it's a stranger. It doesn't help that everybody else just washed their hands clean from the case, leaving me to deal with her for as long as I could bear. I gave her someone to talk to, hoping to talk her into helping herself, but she wants no help. She just wants the easy way out. She just wants everything to end. She just wants a fairy tale or heaven. I'm not sure I believe in any of those options. AND I CAN'T HELP SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T WANT TO BE HELPED. So if I can't help, what's the point?

The only reason we're "friends" right now is because I felt she needed a friend, and nice as I am, decided to try and be that friend. If she decides to help herself, I will bear with her, and let her talk to me as much as she needs. If not, I'm giving up on her right now, and if she does something stupid, I will not feel sorry at all. "I'm nothing more than who you allow me to be for you" - The Brighter Side Yes. You heard me. I will not fight a battle I can't win, especially if it's causing me so much stress and opportunity cost is high. Time is precious and I have a life I, on the other hand, want to LIVE it fully.