I was thinking about this before tonight’s $4 thin crusted pizzas, before sitting on that dubiously sticky floor, of an echoey, dark and dingy igloo. As the people we study and work with keeps changing, I appreciate more and more the friendships that last beyond the transient comings and goings of social circles, that exist almost purely out of close proximity or of convenience.
Words not spoken to lovers
from 不能跟情人说的话 – 范玮琪
Chinese songs don’t translate well into English. But there is always Google Translate.
Actually I think the song is silly. If I had words to hide from the person I was seeing, then maybe it would be time to move on. But I like the lyrics that speak of quality friendships. Through recent years, I’m so thankful for good friends who willingly sit through stupid-crazy-tangled thoughts. And just listen. Or give a different perspective, or are honest enough to ask – “are you sure, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Or, they simply give you a rest by spending time with you, and sharing in an activity that you both enjoy. Like eating, mmm.
One like summer, one like autumn
from 一个像夏天 一个像秋天 – 范玮琪
First impressions and how friendships play out in time can be rather incongruous. One whom you first noticed, not for anything good, but that their public displays of affection with the then girlfriend was rather indiscreet on campus. Another who announced, during communication skill tutorials, how they hated patients and wanted nothing to do with them, to the shock of the tutor and the entire group (somehow, this sentiment is deemed more acceptable once you finish being a medical student). Still another who was often quiet, but took every opportunity to point out how believing in God is a delusion. I’m not sure why summer and autumn were chosen instead of say, summer and winter. But truly, sometimes you find your best friends in people you never thought you would have anything in common with, in the most unexpected individuals.
Last year, while we booked flights for an overseas trip, the conversation went something like this:
A: my friends and I booked flights already, you can come too, if you want.
B: what!? How come you guys booked flights before me?
A: well, I know that we will still be friends by the end of this year, but you on the other hand… what if we argue, what if you don’t want to come by that time, wouldn’t it be a waste?
Okay, I’m mean and am probably a better friend than a girlfriend. But it’s undeniable that friendships (at least at this stage in life) are more durable than relationships. You can reasonably expect them to be stable for some time. Unless maybe, the friend finds a new love interest and ignore you completely.
So it probably will happen, that one of you meets someone and spend less time talking, replying to messages, meeting up. But in general I think that’s easily forgiven. As long as there is an effort to keep in touch occasionally.
Last year, there was one memorable message in my birthday card that said something along the lines of – keep having issues so I won’t be out of job as your therapist. I think that was a joke. But good friends are good listeners, and sometimes, they are better listeners than lovers. Amusingly, I have a friend who is so attentive that firstly, he is often stuck in conversation with strangers for hours and hours because they feel listened to, and secondly, he attracts much attention from many girls because they too, feel listened too. Conversely, not so good listeners are engrossed in their own anecdotes and problems, without caring enough to let the other person have an opportunity to speak (I guess I’m like that at times too).
It’s lovely to be known well enough, to share about work, love, family, friends, frustrations, sadnesses, church, travels, future plans, and many other topics, and be understood. Similarly, it is special too, to be trusted and know a friend well enough to understand the context behind many things they tell you. Well, I can’t finish off this post without a thank you to my good friends – for your help, for sharing life, for your effort in catching up and making the visits back here worthwhile.