Tag Archives: Friendship

My dilemma…

A couple of weeks ago I had a phone conversation with this guy I really like. He was calling to ask me out but since I have my reservations about us dating, I felt I needed to explain why I was opposed to it.

“I told you I hate being lied to?” I asked, referring to a conversation we’d had two days before then.

“Yes.”

“In the spirit of honesty, I feel I owe you some truth.”

“What truth?” He asked, his voice so calm, ready to hear me out.

I wasn’t sure how he was going to take it, but I knew I had to say it anyway. “I’m in a dilemma…” I started, my fingers crossed, praying that whatever I was about to say wouldn’t upset him. “Remember the other night, when you told me, that when you decide to get married you will think of me?”

“Yeah…”

“I’ve been thinking about that a lot,” I continued.

“You’ve been thinking about it? So you took me seriously?” He asked light-heartedly. “I’m humbled that you take me serious enough to even think about it.”

At the time, all I just wanted was to say what was troubling me so I could just get it out of my system. I wanted us to be on the same page, so he wouldn’t feel like I was leading him on or anything of the sort. “There’s something personal I need to tell you. Don’t judge.”

He laughed nervously, anticipation getting the better of him. “Of course I won’t judge.”

“The thought of getting married terrifies me.”

Honestly I don’t remember much of the immediate conversation after that but what I gladly noted was that he wasn’t pissed… Instead he calmly told me whatever he’d said was not cast in stone and it’s not like anyone was holding a gun to anyone’s head. In short, the proposal wasn’t final and there was more than enough room to make adjustments as we go along.

After that very unusual revelation, he sought to find out why I was scared of getting married; you know, trying to understand my background and what could have led to my startling stance on matters marriage.

Again, I found myself in another quagmire; the pain of having to narrate my ever traumatizing past to someone who could potentially be my better half. I tried to find the words to explain to him how my childhood experiences have contributed to this very disturbing notion I have of getting hitched to anyone.

Since I’d hinted at something, I knew I had to shed some light somehow; unfortunately words failed me. First I made him understand that I’m not really used to talking about myself, leave alone divulging information that could paint my family in very bad light. I further explained that normally I just let the matter slide without offering any explanation.

The difference in this case was this is a guy I actually like, and the nicest guy I’ve met in my life so far. I didn’t want to hurt him in any way, or even give him the slightest feeling that I was rejecting him. Ergo, I knew either way I had to find suitable words to describe the painful pictures from my past, no matter how hard it felt.

My chest rose and I exhaled loudly as I tried to find those elusive words… “God help me!” I sighed. “Do I have to?”

“Yes.”

“You’re not making this any easy,” I complained, hoping he would just let it go.

“I just want to understand you.”

After more sighs, I attempted to elucidate… “I can’t tell you much for now, but in a nutshell, I had a damaging childhood. I’ve watched my parents and the life they lead is not something I’m in a hurry to get into.”

“Are they your biological parents?” He asked, in his very calm, reassuring voice.

“Yeah, they’re my birth parents.”

“Are they separated?” He asked, concern in his voice.

“No. But it’s been pretty bad.”

“So your mom is not happy?”

“Basically.”

The rest of the conversation was him trying to get the truth out of me. He even went to an extent of telling me some pretty personal stuff-his background and all-just so I would find the courage to confide in him. But as it turns out, I didn’t reveal much anyway. One thing I made clear though is that we would be done the instant he proposed marriage and it felt very comforting to know he understood me, even though I had left so much unsaid.

I have known this guy for only three months, and so far he’s been nothing but good to me. He’s kind, understanding, generous, patient, very chivalrous… he’s just everything I would ever want in a husband…

let go of the past

However, there’s just one major hurdle. The instant he mentioned marriage, mom’s painful marital life sprung to mind and all my defences went up. I started seeing younger versions of my sisters and I crying, watching helplessly as dad rained blows on her, and we feared he would kill her… I remembered the many nights we slept hungry because mom didn’t have a job, while dad wasted his money in bars.

The irony of it all is that while in my life dad is the worst man I’ve known (relationshipwise), this guy (if his very good personality isn’t just a charade) is the best man I’ve met so far. Now the worst part is that the fear of reliving mom’s pain-filled life won’t let me have the peace of mind I need to be in a meaningful relationship.

So far we’re only friends, and lately he’s been asking me out a lot. Light-heartedly, he says I’m difficult, but I also feel he’s stubborn; he won’t take any no from me and in any case, he seems so ready to do whatever it is he feels will make me happy-except let me go.

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.

 

Effective communication saves relationships

effective communication2

Communication is key. I already wrote a post emphasizing on the same but for the sake of all my readers, I’ll just write some more. Communication…communication…communication…that is the answer to many problems being faced by so many people:

“My husband might be cheating on me,” a lady cries.

“Have you talked about it with him?” A concerned friend asks.

“No, I heard it on the grapevine. And I think it’s true,” the aggrieved wife replies.

“I think my thirteen year old daughter is having sex,” another woman tells her friend.

“Why do you say that? The friend asks.

“Because the other day she left her purse in the car and as I picked it up condoms fell out.”

“Have you asked her about it?” The friend argues. “Maybe they’re not hers.”

“I don’t know. Maybe,” the woman replies, clearly stressed out.

There are just so many scenarios I could think of where people are not happy because so many things-the important ones especially-go unsaid. Sometimes there are misunderstandings between me and my sisters, who I consider my confidants, and at times I see my parents arguing only because they haven’t discussed some seemingly petty issues, which when left unaddressed morph into gargantuan problems.

For relationships to thrive, there must be tonnes of trust, and communication should be as vital as breathing. I’m not a shrink, but I feel those are the two ingredients for a successful relationship. In my opinion, there can’t be love without trust, and without proper communication there can be no trust. Even two people in love could break up for the most trivial of issues, just because they didn’t talk it out.

There’s this Indian drama that has me so captivated. I’m not so sure why I watch it; I can’t even say it’s the plot I like because I always feel it has so many loopholes, but at the same time, I just can’t stop watching it…I guess it’s my sheer curiosity to see how things turn out. It revolves around themes like love and trust-which in my opinion is usually misplaced; deception, betrayal, revenge… One of the main protagonists found herself separated from her husband because a few issues went misunderstood. Aggrieved, she went to seek her platonic childhood friend’s advice. Oblivious to her and her husband, who was now best buddies with this friend, was the fact that it was this same friend who had created the rift between them as he wanted the woman all for himself. In his defence, he had loved the woman since they were kids and couldn’t bear seeing her sharing her life with another man other than him.

The friend asked one of his minions to pretend he and the wife had an affair and somehow it worked out so perfectly. They made it so convincing that the wife was indeed cheating on her husband. The plan was to make the husband suspicious of his wife so he would get so infuriated and subsequently break up with her. The plan worked out perfectly. Within no time the wife had left her palatial home and moved back to her parent’s house.

The platonic friend would meet up with the wife, trying to convince her why it was in her best interest to divorce her husband, and later he would advise the husband to do the same. The husband, who was convinced his wife was cheating on him, didn’t want anything to do with his her; he wouldn’t pick her calls. The small misunderstanding graduated into a big mess, only because they wouldn’t sit down and discuss it civilly.

effective communication

As I watched them I couldn’t help thinking, can’t they just get over their anger and pride and talk it out? I just got so bugged; I decided I wouldn’t watch it again. Unfortunately I-like many humans-am weak; I couldn’t resist watching it the next time day. Eventually, the minion confessed everything to the couple after realizing they didn’t deserve such cruelty from someone who masqueraded as a friend, when he was the principle cause of their woes.

Sometimes when we’re hurt or angry we refuse to see beyond what lies in front of us. The conflicting emotions make us myopic; sometimes it’s just pride hindering us from confronting those we’re at loggerheads with. We refuse to seek the truth. When we ignore communication, that’s when everything spirals out of control and sometimes the situation becomes irreparable.

Before you believe your partner is cheating on you, talk. Before you presume to judge your child is out there doing God-knows what, talk. In my opinion, situations feel unbearable because we refuse to communicate. Slowly, from my experiences and other people’s, I’m learning that if people communicate enough, many relationships will be saved from collapsing.

Telling the difference

the serenity prayer

Many things happen in life, some pleasant, and some unpleasant. It happens almost naturally, that we’re more inclined to accept the good things that happen but when tragedies strike we ask, why? All through my life I’ve been looking at the negative occurrences from a pessimistic perspective, you know feeling like my life would be better if they didn’t happen; however, lately I’m learning to look at things all differently. I’m acquainting myself with the idea that everything happens only because God wills it that way.

To some people the idea might sound odd, because to them it doesn’t feel right that God would allow some things-the painful ones especially-to happen to us if He really loves us unconditionally like the scriptures tell us. Well thing is, nothing happens without His consent. As I said, this is just a concept I’ve embraced only recently; I wasn’t always like that.

A few months ago I would have gotten all discouraged because something didn’t happen the way I had envisioned it, but I ditched that mentality. However, one question pertaining to this whole idea of accepting everything as God’s will always pops in mind; ‘If really we should accept everything as God’s will, what about those instances when we’re told to fight for the things we love/believe in?’

For instance, there’s this prog I watched last week; it was a Mexican telenovela to be precise. One of the two lead couples found out they could be related. They were devastated; I doubt any two people in love would be pleased to learn they had the same blood flowing in their veins because they shared a father. The lady was most affected. Distraught, she went and married her best friend, who had always been in love with her, eager to move on with her life; she didn’t want to hold on to a love that was forbidden.

In the panicky mode she was in, she reasoned that would be the best solution; her boyfriend wouldn’t pursue her if she was another man’s wife. Apparently, she loved her boyfriend too much to get intimate with her new husband; she and her best friend had a mutual understanding that sexual intimacy would be off limits.

I couldn’t help shaking my head at her irrationality. She didn’t even care to fight for her love; she willingly accepted the painful fact that she couldn’t spend her life with the man she loved because providence had put an impenetrable barrier between them. Naturally, one of the major characteristics of soaps is that there’s just too much scheming; this one was no exception.

It turned out that the two lovers weren’t really related; they guy’s ex-girlfriend had conspired with the owner of the lab, where the two had a DNA test, to have the results altered. The test had come out positive and that had had driven the young miss into her best friend’s arms. As I watched her I wondered, if she hadn’t been too quick to accept the results, she could have suggested they have another test in a different lab just to be sure; sometimes it’s good to have doubts.

In life we’re faced with such situations; at a crossroads, wondering if we should accept everything as God’s will, or fight for the things/people we love. In my opinion, it’s difficult to actually tell the difference. However, I believe with patience and prayers, God will reveal to us what’s right.

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