On Dec 31, 2010 I had to bid farewell to two friends who decided to start a new life with the two boys in another city. I met Nat at work about 5 years ago. Back then we just colleagues for a while and then made our separate ways moving on to different companies. I can’t recall how we got to met again but I was invited to a regular friends get together hosted by Nat and her husband. It was such a fun night filled with lots of laughter and some intense chats along the way. That was about 5 years ago now. Over the years, our friendship with both husband and wife just got better, if not stronger. I guess all the get together, going to concerts, eating and travelling cemented the friendship.
I was a reading an article in The New York Times Opinion Page published oddly enough on Christmas Day where an English professor Robin Dunbar from Oxford University where it was generalized that we as an individual can maintain up to 150 friends (online or off). When I read this figure, I myself thought that was high number. Mind you the definition of “friends” is not clearly defined in the article. So this begs the questions, “Who are your friends?” or “how do you define “friends”? I have classified friends into 4 different groups:
1. Group 1: Friends where you speak to almost every other day, arrange to meet up for coffee, dinner, drinks, etc and know each others taste in music, food, travel, sense of humour. No hesitation to lend a hand when needed. When they offer help, it is genuine.
2. Group 2: There are friends you can catch up once a year for coffee and still be able to have a good time together.
3. Group 3: There are those that you happen to bump into each other at a social event or shopping mall and have a 5 min catch up and still be friends.
4. Group 4: Just because we have a mutual friend, “might know this person” or you happen to come across my profile on Facebook does not give you permission to add me as “friend”.
For me, I have friends in each group. Let me rephrase that. I only have friends in Groups 1 to 3. But over the past few years, I have spent more time nurturing with friends who are in Group 1. As I turning a year older and especially going through one of the toughest hurdle of my life right now, I want to spend more quality time with friends who can make me laugh, allow me to become silly and be silly as a group, have intelligent conversations, enjoy the same things in life and bring in the best in you regardless of who you are. I also listen to their opinions and vice versa.
Coming back to Nat and Des, it was difficult to say goodbye to them and I do miss them dearly. I know they are not too far away and just a phone call, SMS or IM away. I am very blessed to have them as friends who I can really count on no matter what. I can’t wait to see them again.