Saturday, October 13

Making Friends As A Young Adult

BFFs
I remember when I was young I made friends with everyone and anyone. I was genuinely colour/status/religious/socio-economic/pecking order blind.
I rarely saw the flaws in other people & could see a lot of good in everybody. I worked on clicking with other people & doing things that we could enjoy together.
I just genuinely enjoyed the company of other people & enjoyed learning about different perspectives.

I guess during that time, everyone was in school & everyone had something in common: bad teachers, good teachers, hot school girls, hot teachers, bloody exams, favourite subjects, confusing subjects, music, movies, computer games, sports, football & so on.
We were probably less reserved back then & were more willing to share anything about ourselves with people we barely knew.
We also had more time to spend with each other & just hangout.

best buddies from uni
Fast forward to university & everything was still good. It was the same old study assignment exam routine albeit higher stakes & higher fees.
Everybody at that stage still had a lot in common although they may be studying for different fields: bad lecturers, awesome ones, hot uni girls, hot tutors, hot lecturers, gay ones, bloody assignments, bloody exams, awesome courses, boring courses, music, movies, computer games, sports, football & so on.

However, that was also a time when I started to sense that things were different than from back in school. People studying different degrees carried themselves differently, dressed differently & they were definitely treated differently.
I was regarded & treated different according to what I was studying & where I was studying.
I did not give it much thought. I carried on enjoying the company of people & genuinely wanted to reach out to as many as I could. I made a lot of friends during my school & university years.

watch out. she may smell sweet & sound like butterflies but let your guard down & she'll change you.
I don't know how things changed but I'd say it probably started when I dated a hot yet introverted girl.
As with any boy-girl relationship, there will be times when you fight/argue. During one of those highly emotional & intense moments, she questioned my choice of friends & certain people I respected.
You see, prior to that, I respected & loved all my friends without prejudice.
She changed that. She made me see that not all friends were created equal. She made me see that certain people were bad & disgusting. That moment changed my life forever. There's nothing like a woman to screw you over.

That was the beginning of a more reserved me. That was when I stopped trying to make friends with everybody. That was when I started to be selective about who I let into my heart.
When we broke up, my world fell apart. The hurt I felt from losing her made it even harder for me to restore the original me, the me I was before her.
I became a shadow of my former self. I was really really lost. I started pushing people away. I became very selective. I guess I got a taste of what it was like to be an adult.

best buddies from junior high
Adults are way more complicated & divided than children or students are. They are expected to conform to the tome of political correctness & society's code of conduct. Those who do not are expected to be ostracised by 'normal' adults.
Unless you're close, many adults will rarely talk about what matters to them or what they really think. They wall up their hearts & fence up their emotions because deep inside we are all imperfect & politically incorrect.
They look at you funny if you have different skin/clothes/car/profession. Also, sometimes certain areas of a city are only for certain types of people.

put on a pair of glasses, hire a cameraman & students will gather around you like a moth to the flame
When I started teaching, I struggled between sharing a professional relationship or a friendship relationship with my students. Initially, I picked the former. I tried to keep that professional distance between my clients & me but it didn't feel right.
These were children. They loved me freely & only wanted to be loved in return. They did not understand the cold relationships adults have with one another.

Now, I'm taking the middle ground. I'll love them & care about them but, at the same time, I will not let them get too close. I will be honest & explain the situation to them whenever they overstep their boundaries. I guess this might help prepare them for what is to come.

I find that I'm not the only one evaluating who I should spend time with. People do it to me too.
As adults, everybody has a job & very limited time outside of it to spend liberally. It is understandable for people to be selective.
I don't know how many times I've randomly met old school friends who would give me 1 word answers to questions about him/her & life & then shut right up. It was a major hint of not wanting anything else to do with me. Sad sad moments.

best buddies from high school
I want to go back to the good old days but I realise that as I age, relationships with adults & as an adult will only get more & more complicated.
It is just sad to know that with new people or some people that I used to know, it will not be as easy to  build a friendship anymore. They will have to classed as colleagues / contacts / associates / acquaintances / business partners / suppliers / clients / stakeholders instead of plainly friends.

Well, at least in my profession I can still relive a moment of pure honest friendship with teenagers. A gulp of fresh air before submerging into a deep superficial world of adult relationships.

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