Okay. So, I read this on a picture. “Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that for them.”
I have been analyzing my past friendships and thinking about why each one of them ended. What is it that I lacked, or what it is that they lacked, if it is was avoidable, or how can I learn from all that happened and didn’t happen. There are always casualties on both sides in a fight. The least I can do is look back and keep myself from repeating the same mistakes like before. Self-reflection is the highest form of respect I can give to all these relationships that changed me, sometimes irreversibly, into a different person. Some people made me kinder, some made me more callous. I came up with the following observations. These are the ground rules for my future friendships, and I’ve set these in a way that makes both people, me and my friend, dignified to ourselves.
If I’m keeping you as a priority in my life, I would expect that in return too. I don’t think I have the energy to give 100% of myself to people who give me just 10% back of their real selves, anymore. I’m going to reciprocate what I get. Nothing more, nothing less. I might care for you more than you care for me, but don’t think for one second, that I’m going to let that cloud my judgement. I’m going to give 100% of myself TO myself first.
- If we’re having a disagreement, I would see how far you’re willing to go before you lose it and how you respond to that. I hate losing, but for my friends, I’d purposefully lose a thousand arguments, because, their friendship is more important to me than my pride. Respecting each other’s opinions is very important. Not just in friendships, but in general. Not everybody you meet is going to agree with everything you say. Sometimes disagreements are healthy, sometimes they’re toxic. Agreeing to disagree is a healthy way to go. You can just put that subject under a list of things you won’t talk about, if the subject is that serious. You don’t need to fight about everything you feel differently about. It’s okay, you can let it be.
- If you hear rumours about me and don’t tell me, that seems really wrong, because whenever I hear something bad about anybody who I care about, first I tell the person concerned. It’s better if they hear it from you, than somebody whispering it or shouting it at them in a hallway or during class. Don’t be swayed by what other people, who are not in your friend circle, say about your friend. If you distance yourself from me, solely because of something you ‘heard somewhere’, I’m going to give up on you. First confirm it directly from your friend, never assume things. Never, ever, ever assume things about somebody based on what you ‘heard’. Nothing hurts more than distrust from people whom you trust the most. Relationships are irreversibly broken that way. And you both suffer. One can’t forgive, and the other can’t stop apologizing.
- When I get a text/call, I immediately reply or apologize profusely if I’m late for any reason. Don’t be a shit, and kindly apologize to me if you’re late. That’s a sign of respect. I don’t care how much ‘best friends’ we are. Respect is an important aspect in any kind of relationship to me. I give respect to you, I deserve it too. And I’m going to let you know if you disrespect me, and if you’re not willing to fix it, I’m going to let you go. Nobody is more important to me than me. I’m not going to let anybody hurt me anymore. I can suffer, for you, with you. But, I’m done suffering BECAUSE of people. I don’t deserve the hurt from people who feel no remorse while hurting me. These boundaries will keep me alive.
If you try and understand me, I’ll try and understand you. If you can’t, tell me. But don’t you go and talk to other people about me. That’s how rumours start. Ask me things about me that you’re uncertain about, tell ME what you think about my bad aspects, I’ll try, yes, I’ll try my best to fix them, for you. Don’t tell other people my flaws; don’t tell them my secrets because you had nothing else to talk about. Don’t tell them how my parents and I fight; don’t tell them how much I have thought about dying. Don’t tell them things I just told YOU. Tell me if you can’t handle my sorrow; tell me if you hate something I do. Don’t tell others. Don’t tell others. If you’re in a fight with a friend, don’t go around telling people their secrets because you’re angry or hurt. If you do, expect that person to never, ever come back to you. That’s the worst thing you can do to somebody. You break their souls and their trust in everything. Keep people’s secrets even if you are not in each other’s life anymore.
- I expect you to JUST listen to me when I tell you that I’m going through a rough patch when I always do that for you. Chances are probably that if you don’t listen to me, I would probably do that anyway when it comes to you. But if I can’t tell you things that bother me, what is the point of our friendship? Friendship is about being there in the rough times more than the happy times. I’m ready to sell my soul for your happiness; can you do that for me? Do you have any idea how much it hurts when you’re there for somebody, when you’ve always put somebody ahead of you, and they just brush you aside, when you need them? Honestly, it feels like you’re getting stabbed again and again. It hurts like hell. If you or me, if we hurt each other like that, unintentionally, I’ll do my best to make it up to you. Please do that for me too. Even if we’re having a bad day ourselves, and we just don’t have the energy to be there for each other, please don’t ignore the text or call. Tell me, “I’m so sorry, I had a rough day. I’ll definitely talk to you tomorrow.” I’ll understand. I’ll understand.
- When you’re really, really friends with someone, even if you don’t share interests with them, you still try and keep up with their interests because you want to see their smile when you know something about they like. Don’t make me feel small and insignificant for liking bands you don’t like, or not liking an actor/actress you like. Insults from my friends make me really self-conscious about myself. Encourage me, I’ll encourage you. Don’t make me feel small because we have different opinions on things. Don’t make me feel stupid for not knowing about something popular. You might forget about it 10 seconds after you said it, but I’ll replay it again and again throughout the night. Sometimes it takes just a wrong sentence to cause the rift between two unbreakable people. I’ll try to be honest with you when you say something that hurts me. Please do that too. I am more than happy to apologize to you. Don’t swallow the hurt all by yourself. I’ll try to make it better.
- I expect you to choose me ’cause I will choose you no matter what. Even sometimes over my siblings. If you’re really my friend, that is. But when you abandon me, for mere things that you might have liked doing that hurts a fucking lot. Even if you don’t think I’ll like it, ASK ME FIRST. I’d go to hell with you, if you asked me to. Don’t assume shit and leave me behind.
- I expect my friends to know that even though it’s no secret that I love being alone and require a lot of private space, even when we’re hanging out, if I tell you to leave me alone during a difficult time and you completely leave me alone, that sucks so much to be honest, ‘cause if I was in your shoes, I would still keep nagging me until I finally ‘fessed up that I’m really fucking sad. Don’t leave me alone when I need you the most ’cause I ask you to. Nobody wants that. Just asking, “How are you now?” every once in a while is enough. Don’t call, though. Come visit me. SEE how I’m doing. Sometimes the presence of someone is enough to heal the pain that you never thought could be healed.
- Wish me at 12:00 A.M on my birthday. Don’t fall asleep. Because no matter how tired I am, no matter what disagreement we might’ve had, if it’s your birthday, I’m wishing you AT 12:00 A.M. I’ll constantly keep letting you know that even though you don’t like me like you used to, you’ll always be my friend and I treat my friends like royals. I’ll always tell you how grateful I am to have you as a part of my life. There aren’t enough “I love you”s in the world, there aren’t enough “I’m sorry”s, and I’ll find them all for you. I’ll never stop reminding you how special you are. We have to treat each other like treasures because WE ARE TREASURES. Friendship is the most valuable treasure, one that increases in value when shared. There is no equivalent to it. “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”, E.M.Foster said. Choice, that’s the thing. Choose me, I’ll choose you.
This is to all the friends that I’ve lost over the years, or who drifted apart, the ones who left me alone, the ones who never did, the ones who never talked to me after I told them they were the best people I had ever met, the ones who turned their backs on me so fast and destroyed my reputation as ‘retribution’ or ‘revenge’.
I STILL think about you. I still think and smile of all the good things you said to me.
The times you stood up for me. The times we shared food, the pictures that we took together with the captions of how we’ll never, ever leave each other.
Thank you for everything, even the bad memories.
You taught me that nothing lasts forever and that is perfectly alright.
I have been completely at fault many times for not reaching out when I should have but just to let you know, I’ve learned my lesson.
Just to let you know, I’ll never, ever let anyone else down like I did to you. And to the ones that I still have pictures of in my phone, I still ask about you from old friends.
So, so many people have left me, so many I see from day-to-day, they look at me like they don’t know me. But I do. And I’ll still smile at you. Because you wanted to break me, by destroying me, but you know what? Thank you. You made me stronger and kinder than I ever could’ve imagined.
Thank you so goddamn much.
Oshin Ahlawat is a young poet and writer based in New Delhi, India. “I believe people who write are like tornados and cyclones. We wreck a lot of lives; for better or worse. It all depends on the people who read our work. They decide where the damage is going to be; the heart or the mind and whether it’s going to be for the good or for worse. I wish to give them the choice to decide that. I’m just going to focus on doing what I want”, she says.