Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
Just a few days ago, I realized that my huge pool of friends have dwindled to about five.
Okay, I may be exaggerating, but here’s the story: I was going to attend a dinner party and my boyfriend was supposed to go with me, but he got sick so I had to find a friend who would enjoy the dinner party—and I was stuck. I literally can just think of three people that I would be comfortable to invite and hangout with alone.
My best friend who’s younger than me and is always busy because of her shows and gigs, another best friend who’s older than me and is also always busy because of her work, and lastly my other best friend who simply can’t do spontaneous because she lives far. I was left with no one that night, because everyone I was comfortable with were all busy.
I used to have groups of friends—from work, from school, from church, from everywhere—we all used to hangout pretty regularly until our lives (busy schedules, relationships, etc.) happened. But to realize that we are actually in different stages in life is freaking me out. Because it now looks like that I’m left with little to no friends. Is it my fault? I even thought that maybe it was because I’m in a relationship, that without noticing it, I was alienating the people around me.
Poppy, what do I do? How do I cope and make new friends?
When you and the people around you start to adult, it’s really the end of friendship as you know it. I’m kidding, you b*tch. I’m afraid this is just how life goes, Alexa! You see, you have your friends and they’re all scattered from different aspects of your life. If you’re lucky, a few times it’s possible for them to converge in wonderful and weird ways. This doesn’t usually happen, but doesn’t it feel good when it does?
Now, as we grow older, each and every one of us starts running out of time. Like, here I am flashing back to my early 20s, looking back at how my friends and I were living dangerously thanks to our decent college allowances. We’d trade schoolwork for nights out; instead of studying, we’d dick around on Tumblr; we’d set-up trips to the beach; we’d get super f*cked up from a bonanza of barbs and other drugs that are not even available today because… you know! Because that is what youth is all about. You only answer to yourself and absolutely not give a flying f*ck about the rest of the world—your friends ARE your world. But then you get old and then suddenly your best friend’s orbit starts to veer off-course. She starts building her own solar system with a new set of planets revolving around her.
I’ve been in a relationship for about half a decade now and sure, it does feel weird. In five years, I’ve managed to cut off several of my “friends” and kept the ones that meant the world to me. I started to evolve, thanks to the love of my life and slowly, but surely, I felt that I’m not the same person who I was five years ago. I haven’t made giant strides, but I do feel different. It’s because I know more and those I’ve known before, I started knowing them much, much deeper. And when you start discovering these things about people, you can either hate ‘em or love ‘em even more. Most of the time, they just end up disappointing you, or you end up disappointing them. Either way, it’s not court.
You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself, Alexa, because it’s not your fault. It’s just how the cookie crumbles. You see there are a few conditions that need to be met in order to maintain old friendships and gather new ones:
How distant are you from your friend? If she lives in Alabang and you want to party up there in the North every damn time, you can’t expect her to pay P164 one way for a Skyway toll and then get stuck in traffic for three f*cking hours and then have money pa for drinks and food and then pay another P118 for the return toll. Like, dude, living that kind of life just to make chika is ridiculous.
Are you guys still hanging out randomly or unexpectedly? I remember the good old days of just hauling your ass off to Cubao X alone and knowing that by the end of the night, you’d end up with a bunch of friends because that’s the sort of thing that goes down at Cubao X. Now that ya’lls have to manage your career, feed your lovers and kids, and make time for Netflix and the rest of Peak TV, there’s just no room for random kagaguhan in this life.
Is there a safe space for you to show the real you? We’re all moving from one place to another nowadays. Our lives are all up on the social media trifecta of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And it’s all public! It’s not a great place to get comfortable and let your guard down because the whole f*cking world could just know and define you as a person solely from the sh*tty things that you post out there. I mean, how can they know the REAL U?
It’s a tough world that we’re living in right now. There are a lot of kumags out there, Alexa. If ever you’re feeling alone, you’re not. I’m not saying this just because I know your jowa is still with you, or that you still have your family and a few friends that you can really depend on. This feeling of being alone is, I think, natural. We’re older, wiser, and a lot busier and sometimes, it’s really hard to make our stars align with one another. We just have to make the best out of the little moments that we get to share with our friends and not feel at all bitter whenever they can’t make it to your dinners and shindigs, because we all lead different lives.
Personally, I’m enjoying the solitary life. This year is so f*cking toxic and I’m just glad that I got rid of the people (or as I used to call them: “friends”) that needed to be pruned and extracted. A couple of weeks ago, a friend told me to “enjoy my miserable life,” after I subtweeted her sorry ass. Few weeks before that, I decided to kick myself out of a group that I loved dearly after some little c*nt decided to sh*t all over the love of my life. Like, how dare you, b*tch?
I mean, sure, the world is so f*cking full of hate. Some asshole out there would want to control your feelings, tell you to be better as a person, and would try to turn you into a “uniter.” Like I give a rat’s ass about “uniting.” Why the f*ck would I unite with people who are trash? Why would I still be okay with people who are full of shit? Why would I forget and forgive when I am being oppressed? Why? I know my pain is petty compared to the amount of shit that people in different parts of the world are feeling right now, but it doesn’t mean that my pain is not real. To me, it is real.
Alexa, here’s how you cope: stick around with those who matter. By now, you probably have an idea which friends are golden and which ones are trash. Take those shiny, golden people and continue to be in their lives. All it takes is a tweet, a text, or a short coffee break. It’s not that hard to maintain a decent friendship—just be there and don’t feel bad if they’re not there for you.
I honestly hate making new friends because I hate people in general, and so what I do is that I turn acquaintances into friends. Like, I’d talk or tweet a person I’ve known from before just to get to know them better. I mean, you can’t outright consider him/her as your BEST FRIEND, but you can always get to know them better. Turn that medyo friend lang into your newest BES. You might even be surprised to know that these wala lang peeps on you’ve mostly ignored while scrolling through your Facebook Messenger Active List is actually someone of substance. It won’t be comfortable at the beginning, but we all start from nothing, right? Just be open, Alexa!
But then, if possible, just try and be flexible around your old friends. If they can’t make it to your dinner, then go to them and make yourself available to them. If you can’t schedule something, it will all fall into place naman. Like, this week, there was a Hanya Yanagihara talk in town and I made sure that I could attend it because I KNOW that my friends will be there. And it was a pretty eventful day that even though Trump won and that asshole of an ex-dictator was going to be given a hero’s burial, I somehow felt lighter and better all thanks to Tita Hanya and the Chinese food that we consumed afterwards. You might feel that you’re alienating your friends from doing your own thing, but trust me, they feel the same, too. Which is why we all feel less terrible when we meet outside of Facebook or Twitter. We exist! We’re together! We are alive!
In the end, I believe Yanagihara nailed the definition of friendship in her LIFE-RUINING, but also LIFE-AFFIRMING gargantuan novel A Little Life: “Friendship was witnessing another’s slow drip of miseries, and long bouts of boredom, and occasional triumphs. It was feeling honored by the privilege of getting to be present for another person’s most dismal moments, and knowing that you could be dismal around him in return.”
Alexa, instead of coping, please cultivate deeper friendships. If life gets in the way, then let it be, but know that your real friends will always find a way back to you. And if they don’t—f*ck ‘em.
Your true friend,
Got a question for Poppy? From love and relationships to weird questions you dare not ask even your psychologist, Poppy is ready to answer them all. Send in your questions to [email protected] or post your question over Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AskPoppy, and you just might get the answer you are looking for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Dorothy Guya