It was early in life that I learned the underlying principle of not trusting people completely. The need to keep some things to myself—my deepest thoughts and/or feelings. Perhaps it is to make sure that things will not backfire in case everything and everyone goes south on me. That I just have to listen without having the need to say things about myself, the things that are close to my heart , nor my truest thoughts and opinions without the disguise of humor.
Eventually, it simply wouldn’t matter anymore whether I trust the person or not because I continually check myself and filter most of the things that come from my mouth. Just because I can’t afford to have someone holding that kind of power over me. Even my closest friends.
Having close friends while being somewhat detached with the person and the relationship will make the friendship seem superficial. But for people like me, it’s the closest we can get to a genuine friendship.
Let me explain.
Gaining friends is not about sharing a similarity in attitudes but rather initially having a shared activity. Additionally, keeping friendships lies in the exchange of favors. This is why the pattern of gaining and keeping friends is fairly predictable and, if I may say so, can be manipulated.
When friendship mature over the years, people assume that they know almost everything about their friends. But you see, human beings are more than what they seem and no one can definitely know someone completely. Anyway, it is safe to say that there are people who feel comfortable about sharing their thoughts or emotions because they love the comfort and attention that it brings. Some are emotional and tend to express what they feel. There are also people who seemed private but just want someone to make an effort in destroying the walls they’ve built.
And then there are those who just listen. Listen and react to every punch line, thoughts, ideas, gossips, rants, and most of all, the mourning and the crying of friends’ broken hearts while scolding them in being stupid for falling in love in the first place. This is the role that I play.
But as for me, whenever my friends take interest in my life, I automatically filter the details, subtly brush it away and maneuver the conversation back towards them. This “move” is unnoticeable because well, according to Morrie (or may I say Mitch Albom), people just want to feel that they matter. Some may think of it as cold, cruel, unfair, distant, manipulative, etc.
However, this doesn’t mean that I love and care for my close friends a little less just because I don’t simply reveal or pour my heart out. Come to think of it, there are times when I feel that I give so much of myself already. I give them my time, my attention , and lend them my ears to their every heavy or light emotions while throwing some logical advice here and there without expecting nor wanting them to return the favor of making me feel that I matter to them.
But there comes a moment of weakness, a point when life just gets too tiring at times; and when it does, there may be some hopeful thinking that someone from those few close friends might notice, understand and accept that it is just the way I am and that there are times when I also need some time to just stop listening for a while.