My social life is nothing to brag about. In the history of my social life, there have been 4 kinds of people; friends (the people who actually do think of me once in a while), enemies (the people who will have nothing to do with me, or whom I will have nothing to do with), acquaintances (the people who couldn’t really care less), and family (the people that have no choice in the matter).
Also in the history of my social life, I have had to make quite a few tough decisions. We’ve all heard of breaking up with boyfriends and girlfriends, but has anyone ever broken up with a friend?
It’s a rare occurrence, but it does happen. I happen to see it on TV a lot, but in real life, most people just drift away, regardless of whether they are best friends or mere acquaintances (the latter seemingly more prone to drifting than the former, but all are just as susceptible).
I live by a set of principles presented to me at different points in my adult life, and thankfully, I am careful enough with who I call “friend” to not have to engage these principles often. But situations do arise nonetheless:-
- A friend does not stand another friend up (in local terms, we call it “let go my aeroplane”, for some godforsaken reason). It shows one is being taken for granted, and a friendship like that will not hold up under fire. once, twice, three times, five times, I would go, “Right, OK.” But if, of all the 50-100 times that a date and time has been set for lunch meetings, friendly gatherings, or even sit-downs for coffee, if you can only make good a meeting twice in the course of a 3 1/2 year friendship, please don’t blame me for giving up on you.
- A friend does not insult another friend (nor the people revolving around that friend, for that matter). This one, though, is quite subjective. I have laughed at people, and people have laughed at me, so surely I can take a lot of shit (I write a blog that’s enrolled in Humor-Blogs.com, for crying out loud). But here’s a tip for anyone reading this who’s a friend, courtesy of one ex-friend of mine that, earlier this year, broke this very rule (I could only take so much from that one, and I realised after our last meeting why I hadn’t called him for 2 whole years); don’t overdo the name-calling (pig-brain, jerk, stupid), and never, ever, joke about my decision to marry, much less make fun of my wife’s integrity in choosing me.
- A friend does not use his personal problems as an excuse to vent, snap at, or ill-treat other friends. As much as I would like to think I am close friends with someone, and as much as I would like to think I understand someone, I cannot claim to completely know what that someone is going through despite my own experiences, and hence will not tolerate being treated like an emotional punching bag when something untoward happens to this someone else. I can be there for you to share your problems, dish out advice, offer what I can as a friend. But if I am met with disdain, impatience, or even anger for something I didn’t even do to you, evidently you don’t require me as a friend, and so I will offer what I can as a friend; an end to this friendship, because you couldn’t care less.
As difficult as it is for me to call friends friends, the friends that I’ve called friends made it easy (except, of course, for situations 1, 2 and 3 above). These are the people who know and love me for who I am, and don’t mind me for all the shit I bring along with me. Most importantly, I am their friend as well. They have my utmost gratitude for being there for me, my sincere apologies for the inconveniences I have caused them, and any body part they require that will not cause permanent damage to my health (a helping hand, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, etc.).
And in the future of my social circle, I hope to never create any more new principles against friendships. But some things, as with life and death and many many other things in between, are inevitable.