Inspiration for this piece struck suddenly, perhaps brought on by a gf a couple of days back.
Was chatting with her the other day, on how friends could go mia and gradually drop out of our lives from a lack of contact. And then there are some who can just suddenly decide oh, I don't want to be friends with you anymore, and cut you off completely.
The conversation arose cos a mutual gf has been unable to make it for the past few dinners. If friends don't catch up enough, they'll lose touch with each other's life and slowly fade into the category of acquaintances before eventually disappearing, isn't it? We don't want this happening with this gf..
I agree we may have little in common since we lead very different lives; work VS studies, single VS attached, cheongster VS, well, non-cheongster etc. But hey, I sure don't need, and definitely not wish, to discuss Singapore's fertility rates or lament about single life - ok, nothing to lament about; I'm no Sumiko Tan :p Just illustrating that I, for one, do not need to talk about things that relate to me alone, like I'm sure you won't want to discuss Black-Scholes with us either :p
But I'm sure we'll all like to know each other's dreams or plans, like when he completes that irritating report, once my bond finally ends, if she wins a million bucks; or to reminisce on the good old times; or simply, to plan for that long overdue Sentosa trip..
From when we shed our school uniforms for the last time, our paths have already started to diverge. It has been, what, more than six years since we left school? Yeh, long time and we've all come a long way both on our own and together since then..
Now, question: can people be friends forever?
I told CY before that I had imagined two of us at 60, having regular afternoon tea with our grandkids running about us :p But at one point some years back, I felt our friend-friend index dipped to an all time low. Fortunately for us, we picked up. Another one: now KLK is having 4hour kopi at J8 Coffee Beans, having graduated from 4hour fries at KAP. Will we be doing something similar in another six years?
Yan was saying that when people move on to different stages of life, friends could move on too, especially if they are at a different stage in life. For example, I guess it is not wrong to surmise that friendships may have to take a backseat when marriage and kids etc kick in. Common topic is only one factor, but one which I have already discounted; time is another facter, and a more important one at that, I feel. But for how long can friends stay in the background?
Though some may argue that an enduring friendship can withstand the test of time and distance, I beg to differ. Knowing the human heart, we're fickle and we forget. And we're often busy chasing that dream or dream house/car too! You don't maintain it, you lose it. And if you're fortunate for it to come back someday, it may unfortunately be no longer the same as when you first leave it.
So what do we do when time is tight? What would I do?
If a friendship is worth cherishing and I want to keep it, even if there aren't many chances to meet up, there'll still be time to at least drop an email - mass email if you so wish - or sms to keep up. Look at email, mobile, MSN, ICQ, Friendster and blogs etc! I believe these modern mechanisms are meant to faciliate communication rather than distance people from one another. So treat them not as a substitute, but as a complementary tool to reach your friends (and know more friends?). Surely, an email invite to dinner could take only a minute, and anyone can afford a fiver in between projects to take a peek into mf's world (and leave a comment)? :)