“Do you care about yourself or about this friendship?”
That has probably been the biggest question I’ve had to answer when it comes to evaluating a relationship with someone. This year it has continued to reiterate itself throughout the events that have occurred and I constantly think to myself, “do I even have friends? What does it mean for someone to be a friend?” As I begin to decide where I’m going to go to college I wonder if I will ever find friends there or at least people I will consider friends. A Friendship is like a balance, where both sides are evenly weighted and on this balance, I like to think of “friends” as two different types: the takers, and the equalizers.
The Takers. These people have ulterior motives whether its get an A in AP Chemistry, get a date to prom, or cut ahead in the lunch line. They do exactly as it says, take take take. Theres no return return return or give give give. Its just take. In today’s society, life is simply characterized as a race where everybody strives to finish first with that multi-million dollar job or harvard education. Theres no room for other people. You start thinking about others and you get left behind. Takers only have that 1st place trophy in mind. They’ll ask you for help, pester you for test questions, ask to copy homework and whatever it takes for them to move faster in this race. This is why people say, “Nice guys finish last.” Now theres the real sweet ones who recognize how much they take so they’ll thank you for it. “Oh thank you for that 1st place trophy! That was so nice of you! :)” But a week later when you ask them for a favor, they’ll come up with some excuse disregarding the fact that they were indebted to you for your huge help. It’s all because there’s an imbalance between the two people. The scale is never straight. What happens when you try to find a common denominator between a really high number and a low number? The lower one significantly increases and the higher one significantly decreases. That’s whats happening here.
Now we have the equalizers. These people aren’t necessarily equal. I’m not saying that they don’t ask for help or do anything. You can ask for help, as long as you have something in return. It’s not like a barter system, “Hey I’ll help you in chem if you hook me up with this girl!” They simply have the ability to compensate for each other. That is the difference. They take something from the balance but they replace it with something else. I think that is what friendship is and someone who does that deserves to be called a friend. I guess I realized this at COSMOS where I met people who had high intellects. We created bonds on something else. Our conversations weren’t about how to do this stoichiometry or this gas laws problem but they were simply about being friends. It’s the concept of replacement where we take but fill up that hole with something else. That is the key.
I guess now I leave you with this: which one are you? Are you being nice to that person because you want to go to prom? Are you being nice to the valedictorian so he can help you with calc hw? Or do you just want to be friends. I’m not trying to single out anybody, I’m just trying to make a point. I’ve been thinking about my friends lately and I realized the difference. People see it in others but never in themselves. So ask yourself, “Do you care about your self interests or about the friendship?