Friendship: An Essay

Friendship is a beautiful thing. Families that you choose for yourself, sibling like people whom you confide in, brothers in arms who’ll fight by your side. It’s such a wonderful connection. 

But it’s a connection I often lack. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have friends. But I can count them on one hand. Maybe both hands if I’m feeling generous. And this is not by choice. I didn't choose to be bad at making friends. But it’s because I expect a lot from them. 

*Throwback 16 years* 

I was 7 years old when I discovered what it felt like to be alone. I don't mean “by myself” because being an only child you figure out what that means pretty quickly. I’m talking about the “alone” that strikes when you’re amongst others. When you’re in a crowded room but still manage to make yourself invisible. 

I can tell you the exact moment as a matter of fact. I was in year 3 of Primary School and I had taken my usual lonesome loop around the school yard so that people didn't notice that I sat alone by the stairs. I was coming up from behind the wall where we kept our backpacks hanging on hooks. And as I tread closer to the corridor I noticed a lunchbox on the floor. And then a pencil case further up, followed by a school jumper. I bent low to check the name on the jumper. It was mine. All the belongings were mine. And as I raced up the stairs to my backpack on it’s hook, the raider was gone after having rummaged through my belongings and tossing them aside. I picked up my things quietly, not wanting to make a fuss, because what good would that do? I ordered them neatly inside my bag, and continued to walk until the lunch bell rang to signal class time. 

That’s when I knew I was alone. 

*Star wipe to the present* 

When I say I expect a lot from my friends, please don't think I mean that I expect them to shower me with gifts and tell me pretty things. I expect things like loyalty, consideration, empathy and thoughtfulness. Small gestures really. Like taking the time to know when my birthday is. Or what my middle name is. Or what my favourite colour is. Small things that don't take much time, but they take a lot of consideration and thought. 

And this is why the few friends I have in my life, I cherish them like family. They are precious gems amidst desolate landscapes, fresh tulips in newly toiled soil, warm rays after the storm. My friends have proven their worth of the word, and best of all, they haven't even tried. 

They became my friends out of pure want. Out of a likeness they took to me. Out of kindness and a desire to have me be their friend. 

And that’s the key. 

Making a friend is like finding a new radio station. The tuning has to be just right for you to really listen and understand each other. But when you do, the quality is crystal and the reward stands a lifetime. 

There are people in my life now whom I feel genuinely blessed to have met. As if I am a better person just by knowing them. And though they may not know it, I consider them a friend because of their sincerity. 

I’m no good at making friends, but only out of fear of getting nothing in return. And that’s probably the most sincere thing I’ve written in a long time.