I came across an old journal of mine –year 2011. I was fixing my room and all the ‘creative’ mess that is my table, and found this brown journal along with another book. I remember this was in one of my bags and I made a mental note sometime this week to store it in its proper place, but it ended up being forgotten on my very, disorganized table. In the first few pages of the journal, I chronicled my Palawan visit prior to moving. I wrote my worries and fears about moving, my first visit to El Nido and my overall impression of Palawan. As I continued to browse and read the entries, I saw one dated Dec. 30 entitled, “The fire cools down.” I knew exactly who this post was for. The entry ended with, “the fire cools down and she asks, “so, that’s it?” It was a short-lived passion. The fire cools down –who put the fire out?”
The pages after that followed that story. Already a new year, I wrote about a struggle with a guy friend and what was like the ‘cooling down’ of our friendship. In a word, “feelings” intervened. Because feelings got in the way, the friendship was affected. Another one dated January 12 reads,
“He replied to my email. He and I went back and forth emailing. He said Akiki is hard so I should get a porter. I appreciated that he was concerned. This is the ( ) I know. He’s always concerned about me or looks after me. I hinted that he should stop being sad or dull now and bring back his old, happy self. He told me he feels that’s true, that he’s changed over the year. But he’s happier now. He is distant with us, but happier. I guess, after all the unspoken drama, all we needed was to communicate on that level. I don’t expect him to text anymore like he used to before, and I also don’t expect he’ll want to pursue again. But it’s enough that I know he and I are good friends. I don’t want to lose friends like him.”
Friendships are hard to maintain. This story actually did not have a “good ending” as many other things happened after that. When I was reading this post and as the details were fleshed out in my mind, I became nostalgic and thought about those good old days. It’s been four years since this entry and I realize just how far that friend and I have drifted apart. When you pause, reevaluate the past and think about things like this, you get sentimental and you scold yourself for being immature or for not being the bigger person. Of course at that time, you consider yourself to be right and the steps you were taking were correct. We only act based on our level of understanding and maturity –and at that time, I thought I was doing what was right and necessary and what to me was the mature way of handling it. The difference of perspectives years later can surprise you. Options weren’t as many then but you can think now of a gazillion options you could have taken to address this matter or that. If I can redo that past, I would do things very differently because the goal would have been to keep the friendship as much as possible.
I guess in a way, this also shows the level of friendship you have with people, whether they can stand the test of time, or endure the problems that usually come with people and their different personalities. It becomes trickier between men and women. Speaking of keeping friendships, a few days ago, in the wake of the INC protests, I posted something on Facebook which wasn’t entirely a rant, but a plea for people to not follow blindly and to pause and take time to think about the issues at hand. I urged people to be open-minded to the arguments and come to a decision for themselves, not decided upon or dictated to them by their church. A friend of mine –a classmate from kindergarten all the way to high school, within 3 seconds of that post, messaged me with a curt, “bye KZ”, and unfriended me. Just like that. Because she was an INC, she was probably offended by the post and decided to take the quickest solution –unfriend a friend.
It didn’t really bother me because I was not close with this classmate of mine. Sure, we’ve shared more than 15 years of friendship together –but the level of closeness between us died right after high school. We hardly saw each other and she wasn’t in the immediate circle of high school friends that I still meet regularly. In that regard, she became more an acquaintance than a close friend. Still, the fact that she could throw 15 years of friendship over a single post meant that all those times being “friends” mattered little –exactly for the reasons I already gave. It also meant that instead of being able to talk it out as normal friends would, the only alternative to settling this “conflict” was to actually quit being friends (even if on Facebook). Shallow, I admit.
That says a lot about the important component of friendship which is communication. The less people communicate, the more the space between them widens, and the easier it is to cease being friends. Just like my friend from the journal entry –everything spiraled down with miscommunication, or lack of it. Eventually, no effort was exerted anymore to communicate, which inevitably led to distance, and distance, to separation.
Whatever happened to friendship? There was a time we were all very intentional and passionate and present in our friendships. There was a time we were good friends and we didn’t imagine a time when we wouldn’t be. It makes me very nostalgic and regretful.