You're out

"Mapili ka sa kaibigan."

It's an observation my mom offered yesterday, one that has never occurred to me. And that changes everything.

Whenever I have one of those hissy fits about not having friends, I run on the assumption that I'm not getting the responses that I want to get. In some cases, that really is the case. In others, turns out, I'm the one who's not giving the responses others want. True, everyone's guilty of taking some people for granted in favor of others. I'm sure I've done that a few times, while I'm busy chasing some crowd I have half an idea about because I'm really interested in one member.

But I'd like to think that, unless I'm given a reason to cut it off, I remember people. I get back to them when the chance comes up. I became friends with them, after all. I became friends with them because I wanted to. I thought they're nice, interesting, worth spending some time with, you get the drill.

I had a good think last night about my friendships that just didn't work out.

Strike one is the very first scuffle. The very first misunderstanding. I'll start acting like you don't exist because you ticked me off, but I know it's an immature, band-aid reaction that will not get me far, because at one point or another, we will meet again, and we will have to address these issues together.

Strike two is a deeper wound. I'll act like you don't exist again, but I no longer think it's an immature reaction. This is when I start doubting myself. How come I became friends with this person? I'd usually wonder. And now I'm going with the observation that I'm picky with friends, that it doesn't take one conversation for me to become friends with someone, nor a bunch of them about a common interest - that it's more complicated than that, which is perhaps why it takes me a while to find a really good friend, and why I complain that I don't have any. So, how come I became friends with this person? We got along so fine but now it's like we shouldn't have. But I can still give you a chance after a while. I'd probably realize that I cannot afford to lose you. We're good friends now. I've invested this much to not come out of this scarred for life.

And then there's strike three. Now I know that we shouldn't have been friends in the first place. You, as it turns out, weren't worth it. I get treated like a jerk and am expected to play nice in the end? No. So, all ties are cut. Any chances of returning to what was there is practically zero at this point.

That's when I start probing myself harder. Why were my picks so off that time?

And sure, we don't make perfect choices. I can't claim to have done them - I've gone through so many strike twos and strike threes. But when we go to someone and go, "you'll be my friend," a part of you always hopes it stays that way forever. You know you'll have your misunderstandings, but you hope you'll both work it out.

But what you don't know is, when you somehow reach a stage where nothing can be done, you're left deeply scarred. So, perhaps, the best thing to do is to keep yourselves from hitting a third strike - that point when you have to pull yourself away and recognize the holes that the aftermath will bring. Holes that, in my case, I myself drilled there - because I was picky; because I picked those particular people, knowing that things will turn out fine with them around; because it wasn't meant to be.

Too many strike threes for me. That, Jean, is what I meant when I tweeted that word spill last night. Hold me accountable. No more.

And your responses...

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