"I THINK we'll be friends forever because we're too lazy to find new friends." This quote pretty much sums up how I feel about my friendships.
There comes a point in every grown person's life when they take a look at the friends they have and think, "Right, this is it. These are all the friends I will ever need for the rest of my life."
At 30, the friends I've decided are "it" are a mixture of individuals I've known from my pre-teen STPRI days (having photos of one another rocking floral leggings and a monobrow will buy loyalty), my college years (because if you can overcome all the teenage melodrama together, you can overcome everything else), my university era (stressing over dissertations and finals is a collective scar that bonds you for life), and the experimental period of my twenties, when I mingled with the wild to the downright wacky, all in a bid to "find myself".
On the other hand, I've also gathered a high body count of former friends that have been "filtered out", and they too are made up of individuals I've known from my pre-teen days, my college years, my university era and my experimental twenties.
So who makes the cut and who goes?
I think each person instinctively knows the personality types they would mesh well with, and there's no silencing that gut feeling that tells you whether you like being around a person or not. But if you need a reminder of the archetypal villains that should make it on your purge list, here they are:
The toxic friend
This is the kind of friend who, much like toxins, creeps into your system and makes you feel crappy about yourself. They're the type to make backhanded compliments that make you think, "Hey wait a minute" five minutes later. "That presentation you made was actually quite alright, for your standards." "Err, thank you?" Every statement made by the toxic friend is laced with a more sinister, underlying message feeding you the subconscious message that you are worthless.
The 'perfect' friend
This is the type of friend who thinks so highly of themselves and projects that expectation to their friends as well. In a bad mood? You're a terrible person. Because the perfect friend would never be in a bad mood. You like to eat French fries sprinkled with nuclear orange cheese? You're so gross! The perfect friend doesn't even eat potatoes. There is no room for mistakes with this friend and you are expected to dance along to their rhythm like a trained circus chimp.
The dramatic friend
If you ever get the chance to carry out a scientific evaluation of the dramatic friend, you'll discover that this species do not live off oxygen, they live off drama. Every day, someone, somewhere has done them wrong and must pay for their transgressions. Relentlessly aggressive and overly sensitive, there is no way of ever really knowing what will set them off. "You don't like The Cosby Show??" It's simply a matter of time before the person sending them into a deep rage is you.
These are all, of course, very extreme characters and not every friendship will end because of a character like any of these in it. More often than not, people just drift apart.
I've received snide remarks in the past about my "revolving door" attitude when it comes to friendship, but am I wrong to think that it's simply a natural, Darwinian process of selection at work? Getting older means we gain more responsibilities. When we gain more responsibilities, it leaves us with less free time. Inevitably, having less free time means some people in our lives will fall by the wayside.
I'm not advocating you start going around unfriending people in real life as you would in a spring clean of your Facebook friend list. But if you're feeling guilty over not having caught up with a friend in a while, it's time to decide whether to pick up the phone and call or make peace with the fact that the friendship has reached its timely end.
As for the initial verdict I had of being "set for life with my friends", I'm reminded to not close myself off so much, and neither should you. Occasionally, someone super awesome, kind, funny and wise will cross our path, and there's no cap on how many of these type of friends we can have in our lives.
The Brunei Times
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
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