Where will you be my darling? Where will you be when the dark is rising?
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Long post about friendship. Read on.
Last week Pastor AR Bernard came to my church. AR Bernard's one of the most intelligent pastors that regularly visits City Harvest Church. Always intellectual with "wowser" sermons, he's always had a great balance between intellectual and spiritual issues of Christianity. He's brilliant, but I've never considered him one of my favourite pastors. I don't know why. But I do respect him, his teachings and how it's impacted my life.
Anyway, last week he spoke about the cosmology, or world view through a biblical perspective. It was another great sermon, but he side tracked for a while and spoke about friendships. Remember that post I made on Valentine's Day that chronicled the time I liked Khar Loo? I emailed her, and told her about it, because... actually I still don't know why. It just felt like the right thing to do. So now we've been sending emails to and fro, where I questioned certain things that made no sense while she gave explanations.
Now I believe I brought up a lot of inconsistencies. I'm pretty sure I was right (doesn't everyone assume they, themselves are correct?) but I realize the fallacy of that as well. I have always been well balanced in my views and perspectives, according to what others say. To confirm whether I was reasonable in my thinking and logic, I asked 9 people about this issue, carefully explaining both sides perspectives, and sending the correspondence to them. These 9 people were not selected randomly. I knew these 9 had a wide range of views and personalities, which is exactly why I asked them. In addition, these 9 people were people I would trust my life with (I trust my life with anyone, but its a figure of speech, you get the drift). They were people that also minced no words with me, and told me the truth in all honesty. These were true, deep friends.
So what were their opinions? Belief-wise, they were people ranging from agnostics, Christians, Buddhists and atheists. They were college students, church members or simply people I knew. They were people I knew that ranged from many years, to a few years, and some, a few months. So after telling them to tell me the honest and brutal truth, 7 agreed on my views (although half of them said my tone was very harsh), 1 was on my side, but saw the sincerity of Khar Loo as stronger than the inconsistencies, and 1 totally disagreed with me and sided 100% with Khar Loo. I wanted a variety of opinions, and I got it. I'm not using statistics here, but through reasoning and logic, 7 people agreed on things from my perspective, regardless of my tone. They saw the inconsistencies and didn't understand the explanations, so at least I'm not quite alone in that. One agreed with me but also agreed with Khar Loo, by saying my logic and reasoning made sense, but Khar Loo's emotions were true and honest. The last person totally blasted and accused me on many levels, and argued very defensively on Khar Loo's reasonings.
That last person who disagreed with me is a very dear friend, and I accepted her opinions, although I did explain why certain explanations didn't make sense when she defended them. She made several practical suggestions, some of which I accepted, and some I didn't follow. One of the ones I didn't follow was a suggestion she made on a regular contact. She said "why dont u put it in a nicer way? ' why not we make a deal? i think to keep this frienship and not losing touch with one another, i suggest we chat once every 6 months.. how do that sound?". I actually liked that suggestion. But I didn't follow that 'cause it made it sound like the frenship was held to terms and conditions (and Khar Loo wouldn't bother anyway). However she did accuse me of agreeing with those who agreed with me, and not accepting the opinions of those who differed from me. Lack of foresight on her part, 'cause I just questioned her defence, and she took it as rejecting her opinions (which I did not... having an opposite to what I believed to be the correct point of view was very valuable to see things from Khar Loo's point from a sideview). Interesting, she also said that I needed opinions from people because I wasn't sure whether I was right or wrong, and needed assurances. Wow, that was probably her boldest accusation. Sure, having a greater assurance is good. Definitely, it backs up my credibility and view. But no, it wasn't because I wasn't sure whether I was right or wrong. I knew I was right, but having a variety of opinions helps in understanding the situation better too, and in the slight chance I'm totally wrong, everyone would see it. And I asked so many people because I was waiting for a person who would have a different opinion from me, which would balance the opinions I was getting. She was the final one. Also, she said that I didn't know how to deal with friendships that faded, and it was a natural part of friendships.
All that was just a short catch up on what's been happening lately. That was just my introduction. My main post and topic starts now.
One of the things implied was that I couldn't deal with a close friendship ending up not so close anymore. Of course, this is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever had directed to me. I can't deal with it? Total bull. I've had so many friendships that were once close become nothing more than hi-bye friends now. That I've practically lost count. Let's start with Kevin from kindergarten? Jimmy Tang from kindergarten? After leaving Ogden and moving to Orde, we never hung out anymore. What about Cindy from grade 1? How about Alex, my best friend from Flemingdon Summer Fun Centre? And Morrow Oxley, my first friend in Orde, and later, an enemy? Jarrah Al Kandari, my best friend after Morrow, for the next 4 years. Until he went back to Kuwait. And Ahmed Gobire? Also one of my best friends, who looked out for me on so many occasions, and constantly was so hospitable when I went to his house. And when I moved to Malaysia, and studied in Singapore, what happened to the friendship with my first friend in Marsiling? That big Indian dude, who, for some reason, I can't remember his name. Yang Dai Yang? Eugene Bek? Self proclaimed brothers of mine, who later on stole my WWE cards, and set up a rival basketball team taunting me constantly. And what about in church? Ho Ching? Karen Goh? And Zhi Xian? Even later on in ITE, Jeff, Wayne, Yee Jian, and in TOA, it hasn't happened yet, as it's been so recent only. However, my friendships with Sandy and Tiffany have faded too, as I've moved to Kuala Lumpur.
That list I mentioned was very brief. I only mentioned a few major people. If I were to mention every single person that was once close but is not now, I'd go nuts, and you'd go bored reading. I certainly understand that friends do drift apart. It's happened to me countless times. I realize that it is a part of life too, that you meet new friends, and leave behind old friends. But I know for a fact that friends who put effort in maintaining some form of communication and contact avoid that. Experience has proven it. That's why friends are so easily made and contacted in school, college and church. Sure, contact may not be frequent, but at least regular. Even once every few months is regular. Even living in Kuala Lumpur, I still manage to have a deep friendship with countless Singapore friends. That's because there's some form of communication with them. At least something, which helps avoid the fading. The fading of friendships depends on the lack of both parties putting effort, or in my case with Khar Loo, giving up after putting in effort on communication made no difference.
I must say I have a good understanding of human relationships. I know that sounds arrogant, but I do. I have read countless articles, and own several books that talk about communication with other people, negotiations, body language, tone of voice, pitch, eye contact and the such. I research alot. This has helped my social life tremendously. I know how it can be abused also. Getting a girlfriend just to have a screw is extremely easy. Flattery for those who never get it, and playful attention. They easily fall prey, unless they're smart or strong willed. I know both sides of human interaction. The things to say that get the most response from people; I know what makes people get a reaction. This explains why despite only having 10 profile pics, they have close to a hundred comments on Facebook. This explains why I never run out of topics. And lots of other stuff. Of course, I'm not perfect, and I occasionally make mistakes. But I daresay I have a pretty good understanding of how people interact. And I know how my friendships are. I don't cling on to friendships that aren't what they were before. It'd be nice to have it back to before, but without any effort on both sides, it isn't going to happen.
And I was always aware of that. I learned over the last few years that friendships will fade. Is is a part of life? Yes, sadly. But circumstances aside, its mainly from a lack of effort on both sides to maintain communication. Let's say two friends don't meet up, don't hang out, don't say anything to each other anymore, except for the occasional hi and bye. Are they still friends? Yeah. Is that really true friendship? No, I don't think so. I don't care how sincere you are in being a friend. If I smoke, take drugs, sleep around, and use profanities, but I'm sincerely a Christian, would you accept that? No, right? You can be as sincere as you want with your girlfriend or boyfriend, and not go out on dates, not have fun times together, not call, not message each other. Are they a couple? Sure. Would you call that a relationship? I didn't think so. Same analogy here. Friendships may not be in the same league as relationships, but there's still some form of maintentance. And if people don't bother, that's what leads to the fading of the friendship.
I've had tons of friendships fade, and know it, which is not what my friend assumed of me. But I also have maintained good contact with close friends, and not have my friendships with them fade. The lesson? Effort in communication. Being busy to the extent you can't even say hi to your friends, or take a 15 minute drink with them just means you're a lifeless zombie who can't care any less.
I'd like to quote Justin, who I've shared all this along with Miki earlier today.
"No matter how busy you are, you will always make time for your friends."