On Being A Good Friend

Today is day fourth of my attempt to write regularly for at least 500 words a day. I might have mentioned it on another post but, I do like to write. However, laziness and procrastination get the best of me if there is no reason or a deadline I have to meet. Well… most of the time. Hopefully, through this, I can develop my writing habit and not worry about whether or not someone is reading what I write here nor whether or not this might embarrassed me in the future.

So, what do I want to share today? Ahah! A few days ago, I was browsing through my pictures to see which ones I could include in the post I dedicated to Larissa when I saw a picture of 2 coffee cups with my name and my friend’s name on them. (You can look at the featured image again for reference.) Then it made me laugh as I just then wrote in a joking manner, in the same article, that I do not believe I am a good person. Maybe I should write about myself not being a good friend.

You see, the featured image on this post I sent my friend when he just told me he and his ex-girlfriend broke up. I was in Taipei (I still am by the way) while he was in the Uk at the time told me he was busy writing his dissertation (which has a deadline) to graduate. Briefly, he sent me a text message saying they broke up, that he was feeling rough, and needed to come up with new life plans- after he finishes his dissertation.

And because I am a good friend, you know what? I like claiming this but I don’t do a lot of nice things for them. Maybe I do once in a while. I don’t do any weight lifting for any of my friends. None that I can think of at the moment. So, going back to me being a good friend, I went to Starbucks to have my dose of caffeine for the day and got a seat where I can review my Chinese lessons. I used my buy one get one coupon and ordered two venti cups of coffee served at the same time, of course! I wrote his name on one cup and mine on the other.

Since we were continents apart, I told him that in the meantime, he could imagine we were having coffee while he was venting his frustrations. Big cups for a long venting time! I was a sweet friend, don’t you think so? I wanted to be supportive and meant it. But, I didn’t follow up on how he was feeling about the situation. I thought he would tell me if he wanted to while I would be all ears or all data in case he just wanted to text me about it.

Why did I not ask about it afterward? It may seem that I did not care about him at all. In truth, I was drowning in responsibilities, from my online work and Chinese school. The number of things I had to accomplish was right up my neck. I did not have a lot of time to spend on the topic. I assumed it was the same for him as he was writing a dissertation so he could graduate. I thought I would be a better friend if I acknowledged that my friend was going through a difficult situation but not be stuck and wallow in sadness. I thought it saved us both a tremendous amount of energy. After a few days, when we spoke again and he said he was feeling better and I responded by saying I expected that! Because I did expect it! He never talked about it again and I didn’t ask. I do hope that he does know I genuinely care about him.

Fast forward to yesterday, I saw a clip of James Baldwin where he said, “I can’t be a pessimist, because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So, I’m forced to be an optimist. I’m forced to believe that we can survive whatever we must survive.” I saw this moments before I met him again for the first time in more than a year.

During my conversation with him, I mentioned another friend of mine whom he is acquainted with as well. I told him that when this friend came back to Taipei, her boyfriend was supposed to follow right after she came here, then the borders closed. So, she felt sad about it. I felt heartbroken for her, too. I did. I sent her text messages saying that I hope the pandemic ends soon so she could reunite with her boyfriend. That’s it. And another version of the same message when I met her in person for dinner. What’s her connection with this? And Baldwin…?

My point is that I mentioned this to my friend right after I saw Baldwin’s clip, which was also just a day after I saw the picture I featured here. I heard myself talk while the thoughts of these random things came into mind. I felt embarrassed. Somehow, I thought, if I were an outsider, a stranger, what is my impression of myself? Based on all of these, a random person might think I am insensitive; I don’t care about how my friends feel. Then, Baldwin’s clip came to mind to probably rescue me from my own self destructing thoughts. “I can’t be a pessimist. “I acknowledged my friends’ sad situation. But I could not stay there. I had to move on to another aspect of life that needed acknowledgment as well. Am I not a pessimist?

You can try to judge. But as far as I am concerned, this way, I was able to give nods awful situations deserved, let them go, and moved on consistently because I was alive. There are so many other things in life to be sad about and many other things I must survive. Eventually, I would realize that I am not unhappy anymore. That all those things that used to hurt would not affect me anymore. And because I am still alive, perhaps it is not a bad thing to go on this way.
I am still friends with these two people. So, I think everything is fine. I should be all right! Right?


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