Tag Archives: friends

Invisible friends

invisible friends

Making friends is one of the best things in the world, especially if those friends are genuine. It feels really nice when one knows there is someone somewhere who holds them dear, and not because they expect to get anything in return; just pure friendship.

Some years ago, when I was in boarding school, we had invisible friends. I don’t know who started it but anyone who desired took part in it. Basically, one would secretly pick someone they wanted to be friends with. Then they would send them small gifts, wrapped up in whatever fancy wrapper one could afford.

Since we were in boarding school, we didn’t have fancy items to offer. Gifts mainly consisted of the toiletries, pens, pencil pouches etc. we had carried to school. Carefully, one would then place the package on someone’s bed or desk, with the note, ‘To… From your invisible friend.’

It was really fun getting gifts from ‘invisible’ friends. What made it even more interesting was the curiosity to know the real identity of the invisible friend. Sometimes, one figured out who their invisible friend was by telling whose handwriting it was on the note.

If one suspected anyone, they would confront them and if it turned out they were right, they would become friends. I’m not sure if it’s because of how such friendships began, but they seemed to really last.

What I particularly loved about the whole thing was the idea that one could do nice things to someone knowing there were high chances they would never get anything in return. When one took out a personal item to gift it to someone else, it was done with so much love.

When I look at most friendships today, I feel they don’t last because the people involved expect too much from each other. That leaves me wondering; the nice things we do for our friends, if we knew they wouldn’t know we are the ones who did them, would we still do them?

Do we do nice things for our friends because we love them, or because we only want to impress them? If we were just invisible friends, what kind of friends would we be?

 

 

Family isn’t always blood

family isn't always blood

Friends are important to us. In cases like mine, they feel closer than family. In many of my posts I’ve mentioned how I’m not close to my extended family because they regard people based on how much money they have and for the longest time my family has been holding the last position on the ladder so needless to say we’ve always been treated like pariahs.

When I look at the things they have done, they feel somewhat petty, but it’s the implication of their actions that make it really painful. I remember this one time we attended a get-together party and one of my paternal granma’s sister was the one serving food. Somehow she managed to serve all the people sitted in the same table with my small sister and I but ignored us.

We didn’t want to create any commotion so we just let that one slide. It was awkward being sitted amidst people who were eating while we weren’t, but since we didn’t feel free around them (based on previous meetings) we kept mum, even though we were extremely famished after travelling for hours to get there.

Later on when everyone was leaving, she invited all of our cousins to go spend the night at her place but again, she failed to invite my sisters and me. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. Devastated, and feeling rejected we drove back home. After holding back tears the whole day, when we got home, mom, who hadn’t attended the get-together opened the door and I just broke down in her arms.

I was a teenager, an age someone might consider old; nonetheless, rejection hurts. Almost all family gatherings I can remember have always left me feeling rejected; and basic conversations are usually targeted at my family, degrading us, making us feel like we’re simply nothing.

Based on this very wanting relationship, I’ve always felt disconnected from my paternal relatives. The cousins I have are the very condescending type, who only focus on one’s lows; what one doesn’t have and those little blasts from the past that make one want to cringe. Someone might disregard their behaviour citing frivolity, but what hurts is that they’re mainly inspired by disdain.

If for instance I have a phone that seems really beautiful, someone will point out it’s nice, then add, “But it only costs…” So if I was really confident I have a nice phone, I will leave feeling like it’s just a cheap phone. Normally what bugs me isn’t the fact that they only see bad things, it’s why they do it. They do it to hurt; to scorn, and that’s what I always find trouble adjusting to. Most of the times I just ignore them but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

And just to prove the point, they will come with new phones the next time there’s a gathering. So basically at the end of the day our relationship with them feels like a competition. I must admit, I do feel envious of big happy families; families where people love without discriminating; where one isn’t hated or loved based on how much wealth they have.

Last weekend, my cousin invited family members to introduce her fiancé. We only live a few blocks apart, but my sisters and I weren’t invited (not that we would have gone anyway, because our encounters always end up badly). We didn’t even know there was any gathering until one of my mom’s sisters-in-law called her to tell her how it went.

Later, my cousin’s mom told mom that my cousin had only invited people who are close to her. That statement hurt for two main reasons: Firstly, we’ve never had any particular disagreement with her that would make us apparent enemies. If we’re not close it’s only because she has always felt her richer cousins were better.

Again, that sounds petty but her actions have never proven otherwise. Secondly, she got pregnant a few years ago and since most of my extended family members are the judgemental type, they shunned her as they didn’t want any embarrassments. At the time her own mom wanted her to get an abortion but because she wanted to keep the baby she was kicked out and we took her in.

The entire time she stayed at our place we were very close. When finally mom managed to talk to her mom, she went back home and even after she gave birth we were still close. When she gave birth, everyone fell in love with the baby and all those who had abandoned her came back. The instant they did, she pushed us-my sisters and I- away.

Everyone was invited for her daughter’s first birthday, except us. We felt used, and ever since, we’ve never been close again.

Owing to that strained relationship I have with the rest of my extended family, I feel closer to some of my friends. Though we’re not related by blood, I feel they are my family, because they don’t judge me and are always there when I need them.

‘Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.’ That’s a quote I heard some years ago and everytime I hear it I know just how true it is. My friends are my family.

 

Lord, protect me from my friends

“Lord, protect me from my friends, because I know who my enemies are.”

This is a prayer I see people post a lot on social media. It makes so much sense. We all know who our enemies are, but with all the beautiful masks our ‘friends’ hide behind, it becomes difficult to tell the real friends from the fake ones; most of the people we regard as friends are just wolves masquerading as sheep (pardon me for the expression; I just thought it perfectly describes frenemies).

Naturally, friends come in different sizes and colours; it just becomes difficult to tell who’s real and who’s not. Some friends will only stick around when everything’s okay, but the instant things start going downhill, they start vanishing one by one, as if by magic. At the end of the day one finds themselves alone, without a shoulder to lean on.

It’s during these low moments in our lives that we get to really know who our real friends are…that’s what I used to think, until I realized there’s another bunch of friends, who delight at other people’s woes. They seem helpful when one is going through that dark phase. If one is hungry, they’ll be more than happy to offer them food. We love them more, because they stood by us when everything had gone awry, when everyone else ditched us.

Again, it becomes difficult to tell the fake from the real friends, because some of these friends who stay with us during the storm disappear as soon as it abates. I never understood it as a child; I thought everyone who sticks around during tough times automatically passes the true friend test. It’s only now, when I’m all grown that it’s all starting to look different from what I’d perceived earlier.

Apparently, not all friends delight at one’s success; it sounds somewhat evil when I say it, but it’s as true as the sky is blue. These are those friends who only like it when they are helping with temporary things, but hate it when someone finds a long term solution to their problem. They’ll be so quick to let one hitch a ride with them, but when one buys their own car they vanish, and when one bumps into them occasionally on the streets they’ll be in a foul mood, even though they try to hide it behind a plastic smile.

They just like to see someone dependent on them; I guess knowing someone is entirely at their mercy gives them some false feeling of power…so they know if they want to hurt/frustrate you they’ll just withhold the aid.

Then there are those friends who act all sweet and loving in one’s presence, but the minute they get out of one’s sight they spread all kinds of malicious gossip. They will snatch one’s boyfriend; go behind them so one loses that promotion at work.

The worst thing about these fake friends- frenemies if you rather- is that we allow them into our inner circles, so they know us inside out; they know our Achilles’ heels, so it becomes easy for them to carry out whatever evil schemes they have up their sleeves.

As a kid, I was really trusting; I thought people who were good to me were my friends, but in these few years I’ve lived, relatively speaking, I’ve gotten my fair share of fake friends, who’ve turned me into a real skeptic. I’ve learned to be wary. I know they could show their fangs anytime.So even though I smile at them, at the back of my head I know I should be on my guard.

When it comes to the business of making friends, I know not everyone who smiles at me is my friend, and not everyone who scowls at me is my enemy; it could just be because they’re offended by something I did. I know that sometimes the people we consider our closest friends could be our greatest enemies. It’s just that time reveals them when the damage has been done, unfortunately.

fake friends