On Friendship

i really wanted to include other people like wu ai and jasmine and the jclp peeps
unfortunately, i haven't gotten a chance to take an individual photo with them yet this year ):

Although my last day of class was on Wednesday, I'd still like to think that my Reading Week has only just begun because it's Sunday today. No matter, since I shouldn't be on my blog when the exams are this close. But I really need to get this out of my head before I can start studying.

Eileen just sent me the comments of the essay which she helped me collect, and I remembered about that time I was her interviewee for this proj. So I asked her to send me her essay so I could read what she analysed out of my thoughts. She utiltised note-taking method for her transcript instead of the usual full transcript, and I laughed at how her transcript moved from full sentences at the start to point form to just some skimpy notes by the end. Regardless, I would still like to thank Eileen for showing me the hidden sociology within myself.

Her interview was on my views on friendship + social capital. And the amount of philosophical fluff that I came up with about life within that hour thoroughly impressed me. Seriously, sometimes I shock myself by the smart things that I just rattle off at the top of my head. It's like, wherever did such genius come from? So I decided to record my life philosophies on friendships in this post, before even I forget my own ideas, since her transcript was rather bare save for the parts she needed.

The main argument I made is this: rather than looking at friendship as a transaction, I would prefer to think of friendship as two different gifts that two people give that have nothing to do with each other. It just coincidentally happens that the givers and receivers are the same people. The example I gave Eileen was that Winson reads my essays for me, and I read Winson's essays for him. On the outset, it may look like an exchange, but it's actually two gifts between two people who call themselves friends. Even if I were studying a totally different subject, like physics, where it's so technical that he could not help me with my work, and he wanted me to read his essay from the perspective of a social science idiot, I would still do it, because it's my friend, and not because I need something in return.

But then I went on to qualify that statement, saying that people who have just met tend to treat their relationships like a transaction, and it is only as their friendship progresses that people give gifts rather than expect something in return for what they have done. For example, in a new class, I would befriend my deskmate because I don't want to be lonely, and my deskmate doesn't want to be lonely either, so we help each other. It's only later that we truly come to care about each other, and then it wouldn't really matter whether we were deskmates anymore, because I would still talk to her even if I had a new partner and wasn't lonely. In the university, I do my share of a project well, hoping that my groupmates do their share properly in return. Friendship happens when we help each other in following projects in which we are no longer of the same group.

Think about it like the borrowing and lending of money. When borrowing from someone not close to oneself, people tend to return what they have borrowed exactly, but as they become closer, they will begin to write off the ten or twenty cents, and then rounding off the dollars, and even buying gifts or treating each other to meals. Although I think this doesn't really work on me since I am careless about money no matter who it is, but I guess the general principle is about right.

Then there was the part about obligations towards each other. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I generally don't feel very much obligated to anyone, although 90% of the time I like to oblige, be it an outing or a cry for help, even to someone I've only met for two days. I'm really not expecting something else in return going forward, it's just that I find it difficult to say no if ever I am in a position to say yes.

We also talked about how being cut off suddenly hurts, but gradually losing contact doesn't. It only becomes jarring when we try to pretend nothing happened after the fact. A few times, I mentioned friendships that ended with a lot of pain, and Eileen said that I'm not alone. Of course I'm not. Humans are social creatures. We all have friends, and we've all experienced failed friendships and gone through hurt. But I've also gotten to know people whom I didn't like at first, and ended up liking a lot. People don't need a lot of friends. We just need a few good ones that we can spend our entire lives with, and the rest can come and go as they wish.

Yup, that's about all. There were other smart things that I said too, but they were in relation to examples, and not points in and of themselves, so I shall leave those out.

To my ex-friends, I still feel happy for you when I hear your good news once in a while, and I hope you feel happy for me when I'm doing well too. To my current friends, it may be inevitable that we part one day, but I want to cherish all of you while I still can. To my future friends, I may or may not alr know you, but I know we'll bring each other a lot of joy one day. I'm looking forward to it, so please do too ♥