What Kind of a Friend Are You

“You always treat your friends as work...”

It was like a red light flashing putting whatever I have in my mind to a halt.

I asked myself, “Am I? Is it me?”

I was born to be gregarious, blessed with plenty of friends and I made sure each one feels special when they’re with me. However, when one friend called my attention as to how I view friendship, I was stunned.

Is it about me or about them?

At that time I just finished several conversations with friends: one who has a problem with a bratty girlfriend, the other one complaining about a verbally abusive husband, and one asking for help on how she can come here with me to find a job. Since they are my friends, I made sure they get what they needed from me. I realized soon after, that I got drained.

I’m feeling down these days, too. Burnt out with my work, tired of all the meaningless hustle and bustle in the corporate world. My patience or whatever is left of it is completely gone.

Then friends from out of nowhere called and YM windows opened. Hmmm… are these my friends who just felt what I’m going through now? I was wrong. It was all about their problems with an introduction, “I think you are the best person who can help me with this... blah, blah, blah.” When all the conversations and chats were done, I felt crazier than ever. All my energy was sucked out.

Why? Maybe because these are my friends, who remember to call, chat and send email only when they need me. They don’t seem to give a damn whether I’m okay or not. Preoccupied with their objectives and wouldn’t even bother about me, unless they feel I can be of help. Or maybe, they presume I’m always in a tip-top shape and wouldn’t need help at all.

On the other hand, I have a bunch of friends who have not been in touch for a long time, and out of nowhere, they call and ask, “How have you been doing?” I reply. Most of the time, making them laugh and telling them things that are unrelated to the turmoil I feel inside. I put the phone down feeling light, as if all my burdens are gone.

These are real friends. They feel what you feel even without saying it. They sympathize, not through words or gestures, but through meaningful thoughts unfathomable by plain thinking. They laugh with me when I am happy, cry with me when I’m hurt, curse with me when I’m angry. There are those, too, whom I never considered as real friends until one day, when I was down and wasted, they pulled me up, walked with me through difficult moments of my life until I became whole once again.

When these friends ask for my help, I never felt drained, I didn’t even feel I helped…it feels like sharing what I have. It’s like we are in the same womb, breathing the same air, floating in the same substance and whatever I get they should get, too.

But the most special friendship I have is with my best friend.

One day, when I broke up with my boyfriend, we decided to go to the beach, sat by the shore, allowed the waves to kiss our well-manicured toenails, oblivious of the scorching heat of the summer sun... until we witnessed the magnificent sunset. When darkness reigned, we both went home. Not a single word was uttered the whole time we were together. We simply sat there. But for me, that was the longest and the best conversation that I ever had in my entire life.

How about you? What kind of a friend are you?

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Joko Jun features Filipinos from around the world... musicians, writers, photographers, and other creative people.