New Year, Old Friends

A study says that the average length of friendships is seven years. If your friendship makes it past the seven-year mark, then you will be friends for good. The friends I’m close with have been my friends since high school and my longest friendship is already twice as long as the average. My friends and I see each other without needing birthdays or other occasions as an excuse. We constantly chat over Facebook and Viber. I’ve traveled with most of them which I think all relationships should go through. I know their middle names and their parents’ names and they know mine.

I didn’t make many new friends in college because I had this group to hang out with. And if we weren’t hanging out, I was too comfortable being alone that I didn’t feel the need to find other people to replace them in their absence. Plus, social media wasn’t as big then so the FOMO (fear of missing out) when they hung out with other people wasn’t as crippling. Now I feel like having a big social network is such a major factor in our lives and that I need to grow mine.

The problem is I have trouble making new friends because I care too much about what people think of me. I make myself forgettable by stifling my personality because I don’t want them to think I’m bossy, opinionated or attention-seeking. People have said I don’t look approachable. I’m also uncomfortable with an acquaintance kind of friendship where all you do is have small talk and exchange compliments. The friendship I’m used to is insult-based; the closer we are, the coarser my language is toward you. When making friends, I just want to skip the awkward, “nice” stage and jump to a level of closeness where “Fuck you” means “You are hilarious and I love your sick humor.”

But when I really think about it, I might not be able to juggle many friends after all because I end up getting too invested in people’s lives. Plus, I will always want to do stuff with them like watch movies, eat out, shop, and travel. Just thinking about planning all those stuff with many sets of friends is exhausting.

Maintaining friendships with many people entails rationing the time you spend with each of them so that you have a constant presence in their lives. However, you might only end up as a filler friend to many people and a close friend to none.

I like and love my friends and I know that if I really needed them, they would drop whatever it is they’re doing to show up at my doorstep. But this doesn’t stop me from yearning for new ones. I’m still hoping for a feminist, atheist person who will share my love for American TV series, movies and shopping, someone who would regularly tell me that I’m amazing and is very vocal and sincere about his or her support of my dreams and outfits, someone who’s as clingy as I am, and someone who will challenge me to be a better person and vice versa. I still haven’t found one person who is all of those things. But the great thing about friends is that you don’t have to have only one.

Photo by Elaine Tacubanza

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