Real friends are hard to find.
It hurts when you discover that people who you thought you could count on are really only friends of convenience.
That happens a lot as an overseas student.
You come all the way from your home country and because you left all your friends and family behind you start to look for new friends, new hang out places. And you try to make yourself feel at home. You encounter people just like yourself and possibly you get along and you start meeting up often at classes. Then you start to have meals together, go out and watch movies, study together etc etc.
Before long you’re like closest buddies, the ones you look out for whenever you walk into the lecture theatre and you always know there’s a seat when you can sit and you won’t feel out of place because you’re among friends. They’re the people you ask to help you move house or even help you pick up lecture notes if you’re sick (or just couldn’t be bothered to go to class).
Then when you graduate and start working you realise how hard it is to keep meeting up because everyone’s working at a different place. You find out that actually you don’t miss them as much as you thought or whenever you do want to meet up they’re busy, occupied or just tired.
Before long the closeness that you once felt starts to fade and between the months (or even years) that it takes to meet up again you’ve both changed so much and been through such a myriad of experiences that whenever you do get together to talk half the time is spent just catching up on what each of you has been doing. Which is good because you already forgot what you talked about the last time!
Gradually thoughts that “maybe you both weren’t such good friends after all” start to surface. This is further exacerbated when you go through tough times and these so called friends don’t even turn up to help or show their support (when in the past they’d be there in a jiffy) . You start to become angry and feel rejected.
You’ve just become any other friend to them.
And friends mean a lot to me. They’re infinitely precious these relationships because they’re one of the only things you can take to heaven with you. But I myself am just as bad in having conveniently ‘forgotten’ some friendships that were once so everyday I couldn’t get through a day without seeing them at least once.
But real friends are those that last, those that persevere through all sorts of situations and changes that one goes through. The relationship doesn’t stop whenever you say goodbye but continues through thoughts, letters, deeds and gifts.
I am blessed in that I can say that I’ve got at least 5 friends who i know i can rely on whole heartedly. When things go wrong they’ll be there and when I need someone to go out with they’re always ready and eager. They are the leaves of gold in an otherwise dull world of faceless day-to-day characters (or leaves to complete the analogy).
I just hope that I am as good a friend to them as they are to me…