Last Friday, I was talking on the phone with my friend, Melissa. We were talking about friendship and how we viewed it. We usually went on and on with these philosophical questions, but this seemed like an easy topic to discuss.
“I think you know who your true friends are when you can still be friends with them, even if they do some of the things that annoy you,” she told me.
“See, Mel, I don’t see it that way,” I told her. “My view of friendship is different and I’ve been struggling these past few weeks with the thought of what true friendship really is. I think true friendship is something like having friends that you admire. They have the things you want. Like Rafi, for instance, I wish I had his indifferent attitude about everything, his ability to make witty lines on the top of his head, and even his height. I think friends, true friends, are those people that complete me. They have the things that I’m missing in myself. They have the character traits that I want, so that I can become a stronger individual. I’m a puzzle piece and they connect with me. My friends show and give me the traits that I could never have or obtain.”
“Wow, that’s a good way of looking at it,” Mel’s voice grew in strength.
“I’ve been struggling with the thoughts for sometime. I guess that I finally arranged them. I mean, my friends are the people that I look up to and I even try to show my readers that.”
“What do you mean?” Her voice was a soft, soothing tone.
“Well, I use my friends as characters in my stories sometimes, but not exactly. I sprinkle a little of their traits, the traits that they showed me and that I admire, onto the characters in my stories. It gives my characters that three-dimensional feel and makes the reader feel as though the characters are real. Truth is— they are real. They are the people in my life.”
“That’s deep,” she told me. “See, I have a more pessimistic view of it. You’re so optimistic. I’m going to just, you know, adopt your take on it!” She laughed on her side of the phone. “I think something I admire about you and wish I had is your optimism. You’re always optimistic!”
“Not always,” I told her.
“Still, I’m trashing my idea and adopting yours.”
“Thanks,” I laughed. “Well, I admire your dance moves, your spunky attitude, and your writing style. I’m seriously jealous sometimes of how you’re able to construct such beautiful stories and weave those stories with such powerful words.”
The conversation continued for another hour or so and she ended up wishing me luck for orientation at
We ended up playing some crazy games with each other. One game after another, I opened up and did the craziest of things. We had to make music videos on the spot, do a fashion show with dorm supplies, and propose to our counselors. I did my best to make people laugh or smile. I did my best to make friends. I did my best to be my kooky self.
I stayed up until 5:30 in the morning just playing games with my newfound friends. My body craved sleep but I didn’t want to, because I was having so much fun. And on the last day, I found out how much of an impression I really made on people. We played a game. A serious one.
We sat in a circle and faced the walls. The counselors brought out tissue boxes and told us to close our eyes. We did. They selected a few people from the circle. The people then did as the counselors instructed, “Touch someone on the shoulder that made you laugh.” I was touched a number of times.
“Touch someone, who you want to continue to be friends with.” Another few touched my shoulder.
“Touch someone, who you think is sincere.” I felt the hugs and the strong hands that tapped my back. The great embraces of true friendship. I held back my tears and tried to be a man. The counselors allowed everyone to say what couldn’t be said face to face. This was a game for those shy people, for all of us, who couldn’t put our feelings to words. This game made me realize I had actually made a positive impression on everyone in my hall.
The one that actually broke me down and made me cry was, “Touch someone who you think is a beautiful person.” I let out my tears of joy to know that some of the people that were chosen had touched me. I had never thought of myself as beautiful. I had never felt so much love. I had never experienced this rush of emotions. I broke down and wiped my tears with the back of my hands.
In the end, we all got a chance to touch a person and make them feel great. I ended up crying in front of everyone, but I couldn’t help it. So much for being a man. I was glad that I had stayed in Camino hall. I’m glad I met all these people, who ended up becoming my friend in just thirty-eight hours. And thirty-eight hours was plenty of time. It was plenty of time to see that these people had evolved into my family. My last words to the circle were:
“I’m glad I stayed up until 5:30 in the morning.” They all chuckled. “We are a group of people with a bunch of distinct personalities and unique faces. We are like pieces of a puzzle that complete each other. You guys are my family.”
My friends are my family. My family is my life. Plain and simple.