Friends

   

We all have friends. Young and old; friends from the school, work and social environment. Some friends, we have known since we were little. Some are rather new, met personally and through social networking.

I still remember when I was very young, aged between 7 to 12, friendship was formed instantly and naturally. Almost everyone I met was a friend. Life was simpler in the eyes of a young child, isn’t it? 

I had the same circle of friends till I was 13. The following year, I moved back to my home state. Starting afresh at a new school and town without a friend was rather scary. I was the new kid on the block with different accent (lol). Fortunately, my differences created curiosity in others and I made new friends quickly. Sadly, I lost the old ones sooner than I thought. 

You see, back in the late 70s to early 80s, we didn’t have any other way to communicate with one another except via snail mail or home telephone. Land line calls were rather costly for inter-states. Gradually, we lost touch permanently. It was like a part of my past had been erased. Wish I could re-connect with some of my old friends from the Father Barres Convent secondary school in Sungei Petani, Kedah. 

As we get older, friendship can become a little more complicated. People have the tendency to become more selfish, possessive, suspicious, envious, prejudiced and selective one way or the other.  We are divided by our thoughts and perceptions, which resulted in  building more walls than bridges. Regretfully, there are friends who build friendship based on benefits only. 

I’d rather keep to myself when things get too messy. I enjoy being alone as much as being with friends. Recent years, I’ve made some  new wonderful friends but sadly, I have also lost some used-to-be-wonderful friends. Change is inevitable. Just like a moving train, some got off halfway, some get on board along the way. Funny how some friendships created through the Internet are closer than those built from around us. From mere acquaintance, we become closer with the few whom we share common interests and meet more often. 

Everything in life requires putting in effort to make it work, including friendship. In our busy lifestyle, if we care about our friendship, we need to make time for it. Either meet to catch up sometimes or drop a line or two would be just as nice. Don’t seek out friends only when we are in trouble. We should be there rain or shine, sharing not just tears but laughter too!

One word of caution though. Be careful who you make friends with on the Internet chat rooms, Facebook, Instagram or whichever network. Being conservative is wise. Being paranoid about safety is life-saving. Let your family members know about your “internet friends”, just as you would tell them about your friends around you. For initial meetings, meet at public places during the day, in a group. It is better to have someone accompanying you for these meetings. Let your family members know who you are meeting, where and what are their contact details. 

To this date and age, I have become even more selective with friends. Yes, I agree that living in this world, we need friends besides our families. How many friends is enough? I’d rather choose true but few friends over being in a big crowd. There are times when being alone is more enjoyable and beneficial to me, especially when I require peace and quiet to get in touch with my inner self.

Everyone has faults, so do I. No one is ever a perfect person. I may be a great friend to one but a lousy friend to another. Depends on how the person perceive me as. My definition of a true friend is someone who sees beyond our faults, still try to understand us and want to spend time with us; someone who will not be swayed by how others feel about us; someone who tells the truth even if it is not so pleasant; someone who will defend us in your absence; someone who will find time to keep in touch……. A true friend is indeed a rarest gem in the world.

Some friends we keep close to our hearts, some we shall remain polite with. When we have true friends, do not take the friendship for granted. Do not allow others to destroy it so easily when it takes such a long time to build the foundation of your friendship. 

  

My Dearest Friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me the meaning of true friendship. Thank you for being there for me, sharing my frustrations and laughter. Thank you for your warm thoughts. Thank you for the lovely gifts. Most of all, thank you for asking me sometimes, “Are you alright?”. The three most beautiful words I’ve ever heard from wonderful friends, who are the rare gems. Thank you and I love you all.

Cheers,

~ Alice N.

 

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