Good friends are there for the good times

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague yesterday. We talked about friendships.

And she said, you know what? People like to say good friends are there for the bad times. But that's bullshit.

It's way too easy to have to be a listening ear and comfort someone by saying things will get better, this too shall pass, he doesn't deserve you.

But the true friends are the ones who are there for your good times – because they are the ones who feel happy for you.

That couldn't be better said.

When was the last time you put aside anything you're dealing with to share the joy and excitement your friend is going through?

I've exciting/scary news at the moment, (and I would share it in due time) but the reactions I got so far has made it way too easy to evaluate who gives a damn.

Some empathize with your anxiety and share your joy, while other only react to the news they want to hear, and prefer to speak about themselves instead.

I have a theory based on a scale of acquaintance to good friends.

  • Acquaintances are there for the good times; they pop up to congratulate you in good times despite having not spoken to you in years.
  • Friends are there for the bad times because they can still be assed enough to ensure you feel a little better.
  • Good friends are there for the bad, and most wonderfully, for the good.

Ah, friends.

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Ross and Rachel

Watching FRIENDS has become quite a ritual for my flatmate and me. I started right from where it all started. Season 1, episode 1. And now we’ve arrived at season 3.

Of course this meant that Ross and Rachel finally understood that they’re each other’s lobsters, but then in this episode, the unimaginable (but actually imaginable since I’ve watched it a million times already) happened: they broke up.

And it’s still a shock. I imagine being in her shoes and I don’t know what I would’ve done. It made me question everything.

You see, I kind of took Ross’s side most of the time, though nobody did. Even my flatmate (from India) said, “Is he a man from the 18th century?” when he didn’t understand why Rachel thought it’s best to keep him and work separate.

But I disagree. I don’t think he was crazy to be upset about her slipping away from him, because he didn’t know what was going on with her anymore. It’s understandable. I don’t need to be my partner’s colleague, but I’d still like to know what’s going on in my partner’s life, especially when work is going to be a huge part of it.

If my partner suggested a break, (cue history class) I would’ve also said that a break was a lead-in to a break up – it’s a symbol that one gave up and stopped giving enough crap about it. I would’ve thought that it was over too. I don’t believe in splitting up and getting back together because the fundamental need to want to break up in the first place was already there, and who’s to say it won’t be back again? Basically nobody in a strong relationship needs to break up during a fight.

But then Ross cheated, and that sucks. I can’t stand up for him anymore.

It’s a drunkard mistake, but I wouldn’t have been able to accept that mistake either. I don’t know if I’d ever forgive a cheater, and God forbid, I don’t ever have to face that dilemma. But why? How? What now?!

Ok, these characters affect me way too much.

Crawling out of the shell, again

Yes, this feels very 2009, when I was on exchange in France.

I’ve a tendency to move to an amazing place, then stay cooped up in my shell and then ponder about whether I’m adapting well, whether I’m making the right choices, etc.

Since moving to Berlin, (again, amazing city) I’ve been happy to start a routine, to make me feel at home in my own home. And I do. I’m really happy with the apartment, and though S and I are still figuring out how to live our lives together, we’re still glad to have each other.

Then he left me for his work training that takes place in the opposite side of the country, and I’ve been alone for one week now, and with another week ahead. I’ve been feeling super alone this week, though I’ve been occupying myself with homework, with painting of the apartment, with a cycling trip, jogging, going out, etc. I still felt somewhat uneasy.

Then yesterday half of my language class met up for drinks, and they were the half that was always present but I’ve never spoken much to. Somehow I retreated to a circle that was present only half the time, and never really initiated hangouts.

I’m not an incredibly sociable person, to be honest. I always need the backing of someone familiar. For example, S is super sociable and can speak to really anybody on earth. He can think of topics off the top of his head from the get go, and that’s a brilliant skill. For me, it depends on whether I’m comfortable enough or not. So when we go to parties, he always starts the ball rolling, and because he’s there, I’m comfortable enough to socialize as well.

In conclusion, without him or anyone familiar, I’m a mess. I’m introverted, I’m worried all the time, and I’m nervous. As always, before any social event, I’m whining to people about how I’m alone but how I’m nervous about the night. But I know I’m always glad about how it turns out after, so I decided I do need to crawl out of my shell. And last night I did.

Maybe I haven’t had a great time with friends of mine in a long time. With S’s friends, they’re fun but it always felt like they’re his friends. But last night, my friends and I chatted in German. We were people from Singapore, Italy, Australia, France, Montenegro, Columbia – what a mix. I won’t say that we’re best friends now because we’re not, but now that I’ve seen a possibility of building a better friendship, having good companionship of my own, I feel much more at ease in this city.

Later, I’ll be with a Taiwanese girl, and on Wednesday I’m going to a play with a girl from Ecuador. (What are they called? Ecuadorans?) It’s not perfect because I’m really not super close to any of them, but it’s a huge step forward and a huge relief, knowing that I’ll be okay, and I’m not that alone.

And now, I’m off to check out someone’s guitar, as seen from his ad on ebay. Wish me luck!

Wenig ist mehr (less is more)

Wenig ist wirklich mehr.

I find myself following more and more closely to this line these days, there’s so much truth to it, I’m not sure why it isn’t an actual equation.

It works in almost every case I can think of. With fashion, the floral suit from top to toe doesn’t work, but the plain top and floral pants are to die for. Diamonds from top to toe is actually an eyesore, but one sparkly rock on the finger and everyone’s talking!

With friends, it’s the small group discussions that get it going deep. It’s the few that really get you, that really care about what your life has been up to. And not the ones that say “how’s it going” without caring for the answer.

With work, it’s in the emails. I try to keep them short and sweet as much as possible, going straight to the point. I hate lengthy emails that basically tell me one thing. I mean, yes we all care for courtesy but too much is not worth my time.

With love, the fewer hours spent together, the greater it feels when you are actually together. I’m beginning to really see that now. T-91 hours.

Hopefully I can apply that to packing this Friday night. Challenge accepted…

(Errr honey, I’m gonna need to use your toothpaste, soap, towel, t-shirt…)

Making Friends

It seems tougher to make friends when you get older. Your guard is up, you’re more selective, you know what kind of person you like, you know what kind of person you dislike. You become skeptical of the world, of niceness, of good intent.

When you’re young you just want someone to hang out with. But when you’re older, their looks, their dressing, the way they speak, walk, talk, stand, sit could affect your impression of them. Golly, we’re judgmental.

And then our ability to make small talk is nurtured, but we carefully place them into different categories. Acquaintances I don’t need to know more about, Facebook friends, colleagues, friends I talk shit to, friends I can actually tell things to, etc.

But recently I underwent orientation and got to know a bunch of people I was happy to be around for two whole weeks. On the first day of knowing some people, we already knew so much about one another. After a week, we were hanging out after work. After two weeks, we were playing sports, texting and hanging out after work.

I actually think it’s incredibly rare to make friends on the get-go. I’m not that person. I don’t open up easily, I don’t talk and laugh loudly. I certainly don’t laugh until I cry within a week of knowing people. But this bunch, I did.

I feel incredibly blessed to have gone through orientation with them. Now on to the next challenge, keeping in contact…

Feeling blessed, just because.

Every now and then I get caught up in the where-do-I-go-from-here, what-do-I-want situation, I get lost in the pursuit of happiness. Then moments sprout up and I realise that I’ve so much to be thankful for.

I’m six months into my first full-time job. Sure, six months old is a baby but I’ve finally reached a stage where I feel comfortable being at work. I’m still not sure if my job’s what I want to be doing (and that’s another story on its own) but the people are lovely. Just yesterday, a colleague took the time to sit in the terrace with me just to find out how I was doing, and boldly shared with me about his past.

I say ‘boldly’ not because it’s of embarrassing content. But to share your personal anecdotes, I think it takes courage. It’s putting yourself in a vulnerable spot for all to see, and it’s free for all to judge or critique you on. I think that’s one of the toughest things I face when making small talk with people. I often face a roadblock simply because I don’t feel comfortable enough with sharing. And then in kind, people would feel awkward. I was egged on to share a story I’ve been telling and retelling but my mouth was shut, apart from a one-liner synopsis. Oops.

But I digress.

My parents are lovely folks. My mum cooks every dinner, and both eagerly ask me every morning if I’ll be returning home for dinner. Often the answer is yes, but often I return at around 8. Despite that happening a lot, mum would text when it’s past 7.30 to double check if I was, in fact, going to have dinner at home. Usually I reply when I’m downstairs; well, to say that I was downstairs. When I get home, she’s usually warming the food up for me. Blessed.

My brother is engaged to marry, and after a casual whine about how I wasn’t invited to take a look at some wedding locations they were looking at, he texted me to say that they were revisiting some places and invited me to join the couple in their hunt. He isn’t a sibling that is affectionately expressive. In a country where there is not much hugging or kissing your family, it is hard to tell. (I wish we were. Physical touch is underrated.) Especially when his messages frequently end off with ‘hmph’ or ‘ew’ or ‘you’re hmph/ew’. But I would know that he was being affectionate. Blessed.

My boyfriend is quite some miles away and is almost always busy. Like when he was back at his parents’, he managed to find some time, between having lunch with his parents and taking his grandma out for tea, to find out how I was doing. (Well, not really tea. Kaffee und Kuchen, as they call it. It literally means coffee and cake. Yum.) Between stressing over his masters thesis and catching football matches at a bar with his friends, he sends “beer-tasting kisses” as he calls it. It makes me laugh. Blessed.

My friends are a mixed bunch. Some are halfway across the globe; some are just a few streets down from where I live. And still, I feel like I can reach out to them anytime, and they would listen to me whatever my story may be. From politics to family, living styles to food, culture to gossip, I can always find someone to talk to. Granted I’m not someone with many close friends, the ones that count are amazing. Blessed.

I’m also at a stage where I seem to want to learn anything and everything. You’d think that phase would die down upon graduation, but I think it has only strengthened since. Signing up for classes just gives me an undeniable thrill, even if I know it’s going to be a huge challenge. I’m gearing up for a physical challenge and the challenge of picking up a new language. I’m plastering post-it notes around my cubicle (and soon, my room will get a piece of it too) to help me catch on with the language quick. And I’m truly thankful for having the luxury of time and financial capability of taking these up. Blessed.

If your day feels like crap, take a second and look around. Despite the crap, what are you thankful for?

Thankfulness

Holidays are commercialised. I mean, we don’t even celebrate some of them officially as a city/country. But nevertheless I’m gonna roll with it because it’s a holiday with great intention.

Et voilà, things to be thankful for:
1) a happy & healthy family
I’m thankful for my parents who occasionally drive me mad, and probably vice versa. This applies to my brother too but I know they’ll be there. Hmm I hope I can still say this when (or if) I make life changing decisions against their favour! Lol

2) an amazing support system
I often say I’ve not enough friends because it’s terribly difficult to ask for company these days. But I know I can still always speak to them and they’ll offer me a listening ear. I’m glad to have support even in crazy times, and shared angst in terrible times. Empathy works wonders, really. I’m thankful for these amazing friends. 🙂

3) a job
I’m thankful for my job. I don’t necessarily love it yet, and I hope I do when I eventually get a sense of ownership and belonging. But I’m thankful that I’m earning and I’ll be able to rejuvenate (coughtravelplanscough) as a person every now and then.

4) life’s surprises
I’m thankful for all the surprises life has sprung on me. It often makes me question whether the path I’m taking is the better one and often I find something else to be thankful for. All the little roads I had to take to be who I am today, I’m glad I took them.

5) love
I’m thankful for love because it taught me to be the kind of person I want to be. Past loves have taught me so much and present love taught me to appreciate.

I’m thankful that I have all of the above to keep me going, and make me glad to be alive.

So to those who celebrate it: happy thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?

friends

wow. within the past 48 hours, i’ve made friends with someone I clicked with so easily in two hours (like never before!), i’ve met up with my semester-long friends and we had a blast(!), and i’ve found my pri3-pri4 best friend on facebook and realised what a total stranger she is now.

what a world.

jasmine

Sending Jasmine off last Friday was quite a toughie. I mean, well, we’ve been friends since we were 11. That is no doubt my longest lasting friendship to date.

For some reason we lost contact during late-sec & JC period (like Elise. Gosh what was I doing!) but this year, we met up a lot more and she came over to stay for the night. (: If I’m not wrong, we regained contact when she had relationship problems and rang me up for advice. Gosh! ((: Thankful that she did!

When she came over, we talked our hearts out, about everything under the sun, including stuff we didn’t know about each other for the past 7-8 years. In primary school, she was my best friend and we talked on the phone every day for hours with my brother bugging me in the background. I was her bodyguard as she did her rounds as head prefect. We went everywhere together! ((:

And yet many years later, she’s still someone I can easily click with and we still talk about everything possible whenever we meet, no matter how rare.

Here’s to wishing her all the best in London (cursed town, stealing all my friends!). Think she’s gonna be the principal of my kid’s school. And Elise is gonna be the doctor we bug for MCs. :p

Happy times!

See you next summer! (:

post departure

AUDREY                     live today. says:
crazy i suddenly feel i’m not very close to anyone in sociology
AUDREY                     live today. says:
😦
the freshmaker says:
suddenly!
the freshmaker says:
i suddenly feel quite friendless
AUDREY                     live today. says:
you too?
AUDREY                     live today. says:
😦 😦
the freshmaker says:
i think it’s elise
the freshmaker says:
lol
AUDREY                     live today. says:
really?
AUDREY                     live today. says:
HAHA
the freshmaker says:
somehow it makes you feel like
the freshmaker says:
whatever friendships you had in uni
the freshmaker says:
were all based on very superficial levels
AUDREY                     live today. says:
totallyyy
the freshmaker says:
omg shit man