I am referring to friends the common noun and not Friends the proper noun, but I would like to start this post about the latter, which is Friends my favourite sitcom of all time.
Sometime ago, I read an article about how Friends was originally pitched to NBC.
“It’s about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything’s possible. And it’s about friendship because when you’re single and in the city, your friends are your family.”
This, I realize, is the reason why I love Friends so much. Because I am single and in the city, and my friends have been my family… for a decade now.
I have always known this tidbit since I had an “aha!” moment after reading that article, but this idea reasserted itself lately after I had a conversation with a friend, who has just gone back home recently.
“Gosh I miss you!” she gushed in our chat room one day. “It sucks here because I can’t grab a friend to have coffee and just talk nonsense.”
As I commiserated with her, we somehow wound up talking about old friends, and got around to one of our closest ones who had fallen off the face of the earth lately, which was totally unexpected of him, who was quite the popular extrovert back in the good old days. They had had a brief reunion when she had a stopover at his city, and I wanted to know how he was.
“He’s okay now,” she reported. “I think he just got really depressed with what happened then on top of that, all of us leaving. So he felt like what I feel right now, he didn’t have a phone-a-friend lifeline.”
“Aww poor guy,” I said. “That’s sad indeed, I can imagine. What do you mean by ‘what happened’? His dad?”
“Everything,” she replied. “His dad, work, etc. That’s why he went home for a while to rest and teach. But based on his story, if we had still been in Manila, he would have had an outlet, even just an all-nighter session with us at the gas station cafe would have done wonders.”
“Oh no, so this is our fault?” I groaned, my heart stricken. “Doesn’t he have any other friends?”
“He does not seem to have friends like us to whom he can open up everything about life,” she surmised. “You know, not just ‘friends’ friends, but real friends.”
“I’m surprised to learn this, I always pegged him to be a friendly guy,” I confessed. “Well I hope he finds new real friends, and that you do, too.”
“Well I really hope so!” she said. “But people are so busy here.”
“Busy compared to here?” I reacted in surprise.
“I mean they have their own lives,” she explained. “But it’s understandable.”
“Yeah, when you left, they moved on with their own lives without you,” I sighed. “But is there really no one left?”
“Well there’s this one friend. But she’s really busy with mommy life.”
“Yeah, well, you can’t bother parents.”
“Yeah… sniff. Oh gosh. Single problems!”
Okay so maybe this post could have been called “single problems.” I mean, people whose love lives are not DOA* probably don’t appreciate the importance of friends as much as we single folks do. Who knows?
But what I do know for certain is, after talking to my friend, I realized all the more just how lucky I am to have had friends wherever I moved. So even though my job’s a joke, I’m broke, my love life’s DOA… I feel like I’m always stuck in second gear… and it hasn’t been my day, my week, my month, or even my year… friends were there for me, and thus have made life worth living, still.
I have taken this little gift for granted. Now I feel so lucky and utterly grateful.
So if you’re reading this and we’re friends, THANK YOU!!
*DOA – Dead On Arrival, just in case you didn’t know. You’re welcome.