I was just reading my friend’s blog today and having a lengthy (oh… let’s say… 4 hours?) conversation with her. I was telling her how great it was that she experienced a “turning point” in her life… experiences that has changed how she viewed the world. All of us at one point has to change and we are forever changing with every experience or moment that passes. Whether something is big or small, it impacts our lives so ever-little that we barely notice until it accumulates to a noticeable point. Given that she just recently started her new blog, I was quite impressed with the articles she has put up already.
Katie’s entry was all about friendship, something that although readily available in our daily lives, we should take the time to evaluate ourselves and our friends on a daily basis. I don’t mean “evaluate” as in testing them or seeing if they’re “worthy” – but more-or-less, whether they really are friends or just ‘friends’. The most prominent scenario of this are social networking sites, especially Facebook. For most people, I would say there are many individuals who show up on Facebook as “friends” who really aren’t someone you’d “call upon” on a regular basis. Not withstanding, I am definitely guilty of having people on my list who I would never talk to or really associate with… perhaps I just knew them from “somewhere” or either returned the favour of adding them. I have 10 categories on my Facebook, all separated with different areas of access and being an I.T guy, my permissions are set extremely granular based on which groups are assigned to a specific user.
With that said, back on topic, is the fact many of us KNOW many people who we may or may have at one point, considered our friend. However, I would dare say that many of us are likely to have many friends… we may “know a lot of people” – acquaintances, your hang-out group, or whatever, but how many of them truly have your back when the going gets tough? Growing up, I’ve always been very accepting of the fact that I knew a lot of people, but only a select-few I’d really give them the label as “friends.” I do have a very high expectation of friends, because they are my inner-circle, the people who I can trust and KNOW I can rely on no matter the situation. I can go to them when I need good advice or a chest that I can punch until my anger is vented out. With the world of Facebook nowdays, it is very common for people to “outdo” each other… “Hey, look, I have 500 friends!” … “Ya well, guess what? I have 600!” I wonder how many of those people that person truly talks to or really knows well. It is so common to meet someone in a restaurant these days and then end up on each others Facebook.
I have this really bad habit about going on a tangent, haha.. anyways, so the point is that throughout my life, I’ve experienced a lot of turning points like Katie has. I remember acutely going through another similar “friendship reevaluation” just this summer. This summer, someone I knew from high school sent me a request on Facebook (known as FB herein) which I accepted. I thought it was rather weird since we’d never really talk to each other with the odd exception when we needed to do a project. A few days later, he sent me a message asking me to go for lunch. I’m a pretty social person so I said sure and we set a date/time. I expected perhaps that he’d duck-out last minute, but sure enough, we met each other punctually at that location, date and time we initially planned – very cool! We talked as if we were “long lost friends” covering almost all major topics within our short 1 1/2 hour lunch, but it was great. This guy, who I barely talked to in high school would take the initiative and bothered to meet up and have a very casual meet-up. It was a great feeling seeing how much people have changed in high school. On that note though, I recall feeling at one point that it was almost like, “The people who I knew well in high school, talked to daily, hung out with seem to be ‘worse’ than the ones who were more distant then, but ‘closer’ now” I commented to my mom one day with a similar notion about how friends that I used to not get along with seem even more friendly now but those who I knew “well” seem to not recognize our previous friendship… worse was the fact some people who I was very close with even ignored my FB-friend request. My mom with her worldly experience said, “Son, it is because as people grow up, they mature and learn to treat people right.” and with that, it shocked me into a whole new world!
Daily, I grow and mature a bit more and gain insight into humanity and the world based on experiences I endure. My cousin who I care for deeply came to me recently and apologized for the past 4 years that she’s been in Canada and hasn’t really bothered connecting with me. For the past 4 years, I would often check up on her, help her move, do paperwork for her, etc. and she has always kept her distance. In the past year, she experienced great changes and eye-opening experiences in her life which changed the values of which she held family and friends alike. It was very very touching to see my cousin change like that. It wasn’t an apology which made everything right, it was the fact she expressed to me that she realized what she did was inconsiderate and she took time to appreciate the people around her. I was ecstatic and very proud of her! Likewise, I went through and still go through these life-changing things and I hope the people around me take time to reevaluate their lives, take time to reconsider and appreciate the true friends who are around you.
I think it is true we tend to be ignorant of our friends who actually mean a lot to us. Perhaps we consider them to be such good friends to us that we don’t feel an obligation. However, I’m a believer that with ANY relationship, whether just regular friends, best friends or even an intimate one takes time to nurture and upkeep – nothing is free in this world! I hope everyone after reading this takes a bit of time to think about how their friends have changed over their lifetime and how many times in our lives have we had to reevaluate who/what we considered as friendships. I understand this is something that comes with age and experience because a conversation with my god-sister just this evening made me furious. Alas, I cannot expect a 16 year-old to understand concepts such as these because they just haven’t experienced enough to FEEL these things deep in the heart. Changes can’t simply be “forced” … sometimes they will simply happen in time!