Firewalled Friends

>> Friday, July 27, 2007

I remember some time ago when I was in Boracay, the topic of working there came up. "Wouldn't it be nice to work in Boracay?" was the thought that went around the group and for a while, I thought about the endless summer on the majestic beach, the glorious sunset each day, and thousands of people from different countries that you will meet. And then, I felt sad. Sure you'll meet a lot of people, but you are bound to go through the feeling of being left behind over and over again as tourists come and go and go and go. Everyone is moving. Nothing is permanent. Friendships are offered, accepted, but never kept. From that time on, I felt the sadness of the locals and those working on the island and how they must guard themselves not to be too involved with the tourists. Any friendship they can offer comes with an imaginary firewall thus, no one gets burned. Here in Qatar, the expat life is quite the same.

I'm the kind of person who is not quick to join groups or organizations overseas. For example, yesterday, I was invited to join an org for Ilonggos. I politely smiled but I doubt if I'll ever attend a meeting. A common dialect is simply not enough reason to group yourselves together. I still believe that one good friend is better than a dozen so-so friends.

Aside from my foster family and officemates here, I only have five friends, some good, some so-so. I've tried my best to further develop my friendships with the so-so friends but it's stuck. I'd like to think that I'm a fairly nice guy to hang around with and some people still answer my messages so I'm thinking that they still like me. But I can never get them to be good friends--the kind you can spend comfortable silence with, or someone who will finish your food for you when you're full, or you can be bitchy with when you need a punching bag, or sing and have him sing the backup vocals, or someone you can laugh with at the corniest of jokes, someone you can use, abuse and love.

Not in Qatar. Here, people stay for only one reason: to work. Without the oil, nobody would ever dare come here. And since most people here are foreigners, you would be apt to keep things temporary. Portable radios, DVD players and laptop computers. Inexpensive furniture, disposable wares, mid-priced cars. Lots of acquaintances, a dozen shallow friendships, and very few good friends. The less attached you are, the less hurt you'll be when people leave. And in this place, they do leave.

I can be unfeeling when I want to; heart hard as stone. I've had my own share of heartaches and it taught me how to build firewalls in an instant. But I don't want to quit. If I meet a friend worth keeping, I keep it. A lot of my friends (from around the globe) can attest to that. Distance is not a factor, time is not a factor. What counts is the love that you put in. And no matter how far apart, or how long you haven't seen each other, you are confident that the friendship has remained strong.

"[There are] no good friends, no bad friends; only people you want to be with.
People who build their houses in your heart." -from "IT" by Stephen King
I have my lumber, nails and hammer. I'll be building my house in your heart, but first, we'll have to do something about that firewall. Now where's that wrecking ball?OUT

7 responses:

Anonymous 29 July, 2007  

U inked my thoughts Japz. Now im missing so many friends--good and so-so,regardless,i miss all of u guys SO much. c ya when i c ya...soon! ***haguia

intsik 29 July, 2007  

"comfortable silence" - that for me Japs is most importnat in any relationship. We need not say any word to convey our joys and even our pains, or even just find solace of being just by my side in any occasion.

we do miss you dear...

many could learn from the simple and real emotions of this post.

Congratulations on this post.

pablo 30 July, 2007  

I say friends are overrated. Never had somebody who's comfortable in my silences and all that crap. I'm always silent so... tough luck for them. heheh

My firewall is too thick so you might need more than a wrecking ball for that. :P

Jap 30 July, 2007  

GAE, miss you too =) c u soon my friend.

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INTSIK, thank you. You are right, Joe, we seek solace in the familiar. Friends are good for fun times, but the true test of friendship is when you're down in the dumps. Whoever's there cleaning you up and making you feel fabulous again, that's the real friend.

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PABLO, it takes a great deal of self-confidence on your friend's part to be comfortable with silence. If you're always silent, it should be easy to hang out with you ahaha

You need more than a wrecking ball? Did the headers I sent you help? hahaha

HRHMax 31 July, 2007  

I think that you are lucky to have such a longing, and to know that is what you want in life. Atleast satisfaction will come once the temporary gives way to a life plan.

I feel the same way as you with regards to never having the time to cultivate very good friends,but I seem to prefer a life that is constantly on the move. Like you, I find that distance and time are not a factor in how I feel about people who have ingrained themselves into my heart. But at the same time, I cannot bring myself to stay put. Sometimes I wonder if it's a case of self-sabotage?

You are the kind of person who will amass many good friends over the course of this lifetime, Jap. No doubt about it.

Jap 31 July, 2007  

Thanks, Maxie.

It's not self-sabotage, girl. I also feel the need to move sometimes or else I'll go crazy. I can't stay in one place. But I still feel the need to have good friends despite my nomadic tendencies. I can stand on my own but having those special people makes life meaningful. I used to make cheesecake or paella during Christmas and give it to friends--I miss that.

I hope you're right about me gaining lots of friends in this lifetime. I don't think I'll be earning millions soon so might as well get rich with friends. =)

TUBICLE

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Thirtysomething educator who holds the secret to the meaning of life. =P

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