Who Are Friends If Not the Strangers We Chose to Talk to?

Traditional celebrations like 1st of Syawal (a.k.a. spending longer time with parents and siblings) can mean various things for a person: questions of “when-are-you-getting-married”, obligation of replying tons of broadcasted texts, hours of ride to an unknown area, but among others: missing your friends—or, in a more romantic sense, “the family you pick for yourself”. This post might get a little bit too sentimental, but really, I can’t find a better method of expressing how friendship takes a lot of part to my daily happiness.


I’m not a fan of cheesy tokens of friendship, but these necklaces made by Diku are irresistably cute—although I can’t promise her that I’m ever going
to wear it. Sorry, darling. HAHAHA.

*clears throat*

Familiar with those cliche lines about “true friends are those who stick with you through the hard times” and the rest of similarly phony quotes? Well, let’s not stop there. This post would argue that there are countless factors, tinier but more profound bits, that constitute a friendship. And even more intriguing, I’ve found that a plethora of friendship types exist—not being in one category doesn’t make you a less valuable friend, the system simply works differently. The following ones are just several examples that are by no means mutually exclusive to one another (i.e. a person can belong to more than one group) and they may or may not be applicable in your own story:

1. The Guys Who Bro-zoned You

Or, if you’re a male, the girls who sister-zoned you. This type includes those from the opposite-sex who can easily ask you out to accompany them to another town or hang out the whole day and tell you boring stories about their newest crush yada yada yada with no hesitation whatsoever. Being with them (usually two or three altogether) in your best days can mean feeling safe under the watch of plural bodyguards—but in your worst days when you really need them, their girlfriends (if they have any) take them away.

Some of you might start seeing traces of this pattern around: the one-girl-with-two-boys and (I don’t really see that much but for the sake of gender equality) one-boy-with-two-girls? This type usually goes in sets like that. Oh and, familiar with the “let’s get married if we can’t find anyone when we’re 40” vow? One can always abuse their bro/sisterzoned friends for this. LOL.

2. The Partners in Rare, Short, but Always Meaningful Discussions

People say that the best kind of friends are whom you can spend hours with—even while doing nothing at all. But what if, for unavoidable reasons, some friends cannot always be around? Be it because they have to live somewhere abroad, work miles away from your office, or study in the same campus but are busied with completely dissimilar activities? Thanks to happenstances, though, somehow you meet them sitting alone in the canteen, carrying their books in the library, rushing into the train you’re on, or blinking on Skype. When this happens, you feel like the happiest person in the world, because you know that you’ll engage in one of those priceless conversations.

It’s almost impossible for me to take names as examples because there are just too many of them—but if you find posts containing brilliant ideas in this blog, you might realize that they are often derived from the discussions with my brilliant friends from this category.

3. The Communal Friends

You know, a group of people that laugh very hard at your jokes and whose jokes you laugh at—you love spending time with them because they’re fun, hilarious and all, but the magic disappears when you hang out with one of them separately. (It doesn’t always have to be like that, but it happens, really.) I’m not saying that we don’t love hanging out with merely one of them, but you know, everything suddenly becomes very awkward when the rest of the gang left.

People who went to boarding school or various organizational activities might be familiar with this pattern. Most girls in Kharisma Bangsa’s female dormitory (I’m particularly close to Melissa, Juli, Ami, Putri, and a lot others, but you get the idea), International Relations batch 2009, the HNMUN team (for three consecutive years), my Project Management squad, etc. I think it does not mean that they don’t worth as an individual (of course they do), but the saying, “The sum is greater than the parts,” explains it better.

4. The You’re-So-Different-from-Me Friends

Although most friendships are based on similarities, there are certain attachments that were born from differences instead. You know, the blonds you meet overseas, the Ahmadi peer you encounter at a course on human rights, and—yet the best—the gay friends! HAHAHA. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that I tend to befriend people because they don’t come from the same background of religion or even sexual orientation, but you know, having fresh, surprising insights from people with life stories so alien to yours is so valuable they have to stand on their own category. Cheers for stronger tolerance and humanity.

5. The I-Hate-You-but-Somehow-We-Always-End-Up-Forgiving-
Each-Other Friends

Let me tell you a secret: friends who have extremely similar points of view with yours can be twice more dangerous than those from classification #4. I’m not a big fan of horoscopes, really, but two people from the same zodiac should be careful lest they want to maintain a good relationship with each other. It can be extremely challenging for two Aquarians, in particular, because they’re generally born with pride and selfishness. (I have many stories to share where the subjects stopped talking to each other every now and then, but let me keep it there.)

Indeed, limiting the course of hatred to ‘coming from the same zodiac’ would oversimplify the case, but basically it’s when you become friends with people who have similar characteristics or traits with you—having a similarly big ego, or the likes. At its best shape, you will think that maintaining this kind of friendship is worth all the mean texts and painful yells at each other, but the same pattern repeats so frequently you start questioning if that premise is true.

6. The Family Friends

This one is pretty scarce, but there are cases when you don’t stop at becoming friends with a person, you also become friends with their sister, brother, or even the entire family. Maybe the philosophy behind such pattern is this: “If friends are the family you pick for yourself, it’s more practical when they already come in a package!” LOL. I surprisingly have two friends that belong to the same family (the sister is just older by two years, so it does make sense).

7. Le Best (Girl)Friends

This one seems to be Indonesian movies’ favorite. The girls in Ada Apa Dengan Cinta or sok-keren ones you’re sick of in cheap sinetrons are just two quick examples. I myself always frown at my television when these girls get pretentious or shout some obnoxious jargons, but I can’t help but to admit that—in a less annoying way—I’m also one of them. Please don’t laugh.

It’s not like your entire life depends on these girls, but they’re the first aid kit whenever you need a mind-venting ritual. I can literally talk anything—and I mean anything—to my girls. Wheter you’re having a bad hair day, parts of a newly-read book you need to excitedly bore someone with, an idea for some organizational stuff you need to brainstorm about, boys issues, anything.

What’s even better about them is that sometimes you don’t even need to talk to tell them things. They never really listen anyway—they sort of understand you beyond words. In a more negative note, this means that they don’t need your permission to do anything. This means that when you don’t allow them to sleep on your bed, they will do it anyway. Or they can borrow your dress and tell you that it looks better on them without having to worry that you will feel bad about it. It’s not because they don’t respect you, but because they know that you wouldn’t mind. Or you would, but they just don’t care. LOL.


What I can underline is this: people say that friendship is about accepting our friends’ imperfect personalities as they are. But that can’t be entirely true, since you are the one who already conduct a ‘personal selection’ from the very start
—not that it’s bad or anything.

Again, these imaginary boxes are not intended to classify, let alone differentiate one type of friends with another, because there’s no such thing. Although one should not be self-conscious when they interact with their friends, as a social scientist I cannot help but to realize what I’ve elaborated in this post.
Remember: they can always overlap and a person may transcend any of these categories. For instance, my girlfriends and I are also involved in a variety of professional ties (I’m their coach in one activity and one of them is my vice president in another organization), but such facts cannot not matter any less to how we see one another.

So you see: there are friends you take for granted, friends you catch by surprise, and friends whom you wish were around. Some friendships’ kick-off might be admiration whilst some others depart from hatred, but you know that each one is distinct, incomparable, and adds up uniquely to your overall life story.

P.S. I’m also available on The Jakarta Globe Blogs now.
P.S.S. I still can’t believe I made this post almost two years ago. Corny to the core.
P.S.S.S. It is to my sudden comprehension that maybe being humble is not about keeping your head down to compliments—maybe the real proof of humility is to celebrate your friend’s victory. To pat on their back when they are successful.


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