What I learned from my friendships

Okay! Introspective post time!  Recently some stuff happened that caused me to have a good long think about friendships and myself.

You know that personality test that goes ENTP or ISTJ or whatever? (Okay googled it’s called the Myers-Briggs test).  I did it years ago and while I can’t remember my exact personality type, it’s E— something (E standing for Extrovert).  I remember reading that people don’t necessarily remain the same personality type their whole lives and I scoffed, thinking please la I’d never be an I—- (Introvert) type.

Ah the vanity of youth wtf.

I haven’t done the test lately but I wouldn’t be surprised if I turned out an I— after all.  I do feel that I am quite a different person throughout different points in my life.  And my friendships and the people I am friends with reflect that.

So I was thinking about my friendships – present and past, friendships that stayed and those that didn’t – and realized that I’ve learned a lot about myself and about people.  Okay I say ah!

1. I learned to not crave attention so much wtf

Hahaha this one quite jialat.  And related to my personality as mentioned above. My best friend from high school and I were super close all the way through pre-university and when I went to college in the US.  But somewhere along the way, I started feeling neglected wtf.  She had her own life in KL with her own uni mates and I did too in the US but when I came home for summer, I wanted to spend more time with her (hahaha very clingy ah) but she had her own things and friends to tend to.

I don’t really think it was either of our faults but I remember her telling me that I was too used to being the center of attention so I couldn’t take it if I wasn’t in the limelight.

Jeng jeng jeng.

To be honest, I still don’t think that was the issue at hand.  For me it was genuinely about trying to resume our BFFship when I came home and expecting her to want to do the same but maybe she felt she couldn’t just wait around for me to come back.  Wah really like emo drama about LDR.

But anyway, what she said stayed with me until today.  I did love attention when I was younger, whether from girls or boys and I’d do funny or cute things or talk a lot or tell jokes to get it. Ironically, that craving faded the older I am.  Nobody likes being ignored but I’m content to be on the sidelines or not be in the middle telling jokes.

But I still always remember what she said.  And to that extent I consciously remind myself not to be too self-absorbed when I talk to friends (because I can be exactly that) and tell myself don’t talk so much about myself WTF and listen to them more.

Suet once said I’m an awesome listener but little does she know it’s something I force myself to do LOLOL.

2. To let them make their own mistakes

This is something I’ve learned very recently.  I dunno if it’s cos I’m too busybody la wtf but I used to get very very worked up over problems my friends faced.  Like if an ex was an asshole, I’d write them a nasty email all the way to London WTF (#truestory).  Or it it was a work problem, I’d look out for new opportunities for them.  If it was a hate comment on social media I’d go back and flame the fella wtf.  Or if I was afraid they’d make a bad decision I’d actively try to stop them either by physical force, or by haranguing them over the phone.  Or get angry and not talk to them or something.

More often than not, my efforts of course backfire.  Half the time I failed to help, and worse friendships would be affected (momentarily la luckily).  Because people just need to sort out whatever issues they’re having by themselves, not with a well meaning but possibly problematic friend interfering. *guilty.  Barring self harm, the most we can do as friends is just be there when we’re needed.

3. That people are not the same

Even if you’re friends.  You don’t necessarily share the same values, principles, or even the same views on what being a friend is.  I think I’m pretty good at seeing the other side in a conflict actually (that’s why cannot ever join debate team or be lawyer cos whatever the other person says Imma be like OH YA TRUE HOR OKAY LA MAKES SENSE.)

So if it’s differences in life priorities or even certain values or ethics that clash, those don’t really bother me cos I believe the people I’m friends with are generally decent people.  And that they treasure me as a friend in return.

Not to blow own horn or what but I think I’m quite a sincere friend la!  Once I’ve accepted you into my circle if I can help, I will.  (Even when you don’t want it wtf.  Which probably contributes to my kepohness and interference *grimace)  But in that sense I expect you to treat me the same as well?  If I need help, I do expect it especially if it’s something I don’t think is a big burden.  Unfortunately not everyone agrees, which is something I’ve realized recently as well.

Some people say that I shouldn’t be doing things for others because I expect reciprocity and that is true.  What’s the point of doing something nice only to store it away as a future favor?  But I thought about it and well, if I accept you as a friend I will help you however I can.  Do I expect you to do the same?  Yes but not because it’s tit for tat.  But because when I help you it’s because I care, so it’s a huge blow if it’s not reciprocated.  It means that either you don’t care enough, or you’re a taker, either of which isn’t good wtf.

That’s something I learned recently which affected me a fair bit.  I don’t know how it will impact my behavior in future, but it’s a good lesson learned – that not everyone shares the same values as you no matter how close you were.

4. To let it go.

And friendships come in pairs.  Younger, friends were a much more central focus of my life so I tried much harder to keep them.  But it’s impossible to do that if the other person doesn’t do the same.

If someone doesn’t return calls or emails there’s only so much you can do.  If someone refuses to talk to you after an argument there’s even less you can do.  Friendship works both ways but when something like this happens, it’s time to let it gooooo let it gooooo can’t hold it back anymoreeeeee wtf.

And that’s perfectly all right.  I learned it’s not something to get too upset about either because friends will come and go.  There will be one or two who will stick around forever but the majority of friendships fade in and out.  Sure you can say what really matters is – uhh to be cheesy – the memories but if you think back, I’m sure you can find what you gained or learned from it.  And hopefully, how it impacted you and shaped you for the better.

I wonder what this guy will learn from his friends?

Wah like this I think I can write another blog post like this but for ex boyfriends HAHAHA.