Words are… a medium of expression. We use them to convey messages, emotions, and thoughts. Some people are more careful with them, others less so.
Lately I’ve been finding myself interested in relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but the state of the strings that bind people together. Some are predictable – same school, same class, sat next to each other. Others are unusual – nothing in common, but they met at an event, now they talk everyday. And then there are the strange ones – those that would’ve never met if not for a chance brush of rash decisions.
We use words to illustrate relationships. Boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend. Acquaintance, colleague, co-worker. But some of these words carry a heavier impact than others for me.
Friends. We used to regard it as the highest status conferred in playschool. You were someone’s friend? It meant you had sleepovers, shared toys, and most importantly, were invited to birthday parties. If you were best friends, that was pretty much the equivalent to a (future) wedding invite. You guys were pals for life.
But now, the word takes on a different meaning. As we go through life, experiences moulded our perspectives and our priorities changed. Some people are friends with everyone – heck, some people have multiple best friends. Some only count a select few, if any. I guess I count myself in the latter crowd.
Most people you meet are destined to drift in and perch on the fringes of your life, not really knowing you but not needing to either. You don’t know them well – maybe you worked with them, maybe you met them at an event and get along okay. These people, to me, are acquaintances. Shallow, undeveloped characters in the play of your life. Advance a rung up the ladder, and you have colleagues, or co-workers.
Colleagues are people you kind of know – you know briefly their personalities, their likes and dislikes, and sometimes, assorted details of their personal lives. You’re not very invested in them, but you pick up little facts along the way, because you see these people at least once a week, if not more. One rung up: friends.
Friends are… Complicated. They may come and go, they may stay, they may drift in and out. They’re the ones you choose to spend time with. The ones you make an effort for. You tell them your secrets, but not the big ones. They, in turn, share with you their troubles, and together, you grow. One more rung: Best friends.
Best friends are your MVPs. They’re the ones you trust with your Big Secrets , your wildest dreams, your crazy thoughts and all your idiosyncrasies. You trust them to stick with you, and you are there for them, as are they, through the dark times and the light. They are your family; they are for sure invited to all the big moments: birthdays, weddings, graduations. But they’re also there for the small moments – because they choose to be. They’re the ones who pull you out of bed for a night out after a breakup. They’re the ones who call you up for dinner when you get a promotion at work. They’re the ones who listen to your 3AM calls when you have an anxiety attack. They’re the best.
So now, when people say that they are friends with me, I do a double-take. It’s a heavy word for me. I don’t take it lightly, but when the feeling goes both ways, you know I’ll go to the ends of the earth for you.