Friends

Last week was one hell of a week in which I managed to complete:

  • One long-ass HBS Accounting case, Acct problem set, Earth Lab, Earth quiz, Earth presentation, financial economics problem set, interview and dance showcase.

During that period of time, I just slugged through every single day, following as close to what I had planned so as to finish each and every single assignment to the best of my normal abilities. I only had 1 all-nighter, which I am rather pleased about. It was also during this period of time, however, that I weeded out those “utility” friends.

I despise talking about other people, so this post is written from an angle of reflection rather than complaint. I’m glad I’ve only really had one incident upon which an extremely close friend hurt me deeply and made me cautious/ superstitious toward getting close to people whose horoscopes come right after mine.

I remember that time, I was very down for a long period of time. I felt abandoned and betrayed by someone who I really trusted. It was also then that our form teacher taught us about the different types of friends we will make in life: the Hi-Bye Friends, Good Friends and Best Friends. By accident I scribbled on the back a piece of homework I submitted to my math teacher: What is a true friend? She replied saying only time will tell, and that it’s the friends who will stick by you even when you are at your worst.

Fast-forward to college, and I learned about utility friendship, friendship of pleasure and virtuous friendship in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. The descriptions my prof verbalized regarding the most desirable friendship according to Aristotle is still fresh in my memory. A virtuous friendship, in which the friend is an extension of oneself, and is a reflection of one’s best qualities and a push toward constant improvement of the less desirable qualities.

A utility friendship isn’t necessarily bad – networking for instance, is a valuable skill in the world of business. Friendship of pleasure is also visible in our daily lives – Frats & Sororities, get-togethers with old classmates and long-term friends is a part of humans’ innate need for socializing.

Yet, when does the pursuit of utility go overboard? By my good nature, should I pass on say my homework to people who I’ve never had a real conversation with, aka hi-bye friends? If I don’t, am I projecting my own desires for reciprocation of a kind of friendship that will never progress past the level of utility? There are many reasons why I can’t wait to graduate and leave this state – one of which is this environment of hostility and selfishness that I’m afraid is encroaching on me. When I cry, is it a reflection that I am still the same old me who believes in the genuinity of people who choose to associate with me besides what I can offer them? Tell me, Ellen DeGeneres, do you lose a piece of yourself when you are kind and giving to people who don’t appreciate it?

This time, when I graduate, I’m not one of those surrounded by friends with beautiful grins plastered on their faces in the big house, but I do have one that I’ve shared my joys and fears with. Perhaps, it’s a blessing in disguise.

I miss my people who I can call my friends without questioning their intentions, and I miss the ignorance of giving all I’ve got without holding back. But perhaps, the choice is also mine, to be open and be less afraid of getting hurt.

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