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friendship, ideas, life

Stories We Have Yet To Share

March 4, 2015 | 2 Comments

Chanced upon my old blog and saw this post I wrote back in 13 Aug ’09:

“Single conversations with another often entitle us to a glimpse, or more, to the concealed narratives of one’s life. There is a special quality in speaking to another individually that stands out from all other types of conversations – it pulls us along a path less travelled, where we find it more comfortable to speak about the intimate details of our lives without the usual accompanying baggage of conflicting emotions and self-consciousness.

Nestled within us are myriad subplots and storylines that we often do not share with others. Sometimes, these personal stories come into conflict with our public personae, or they could reflect weaknesses that we prefer to keep under wraps. That is why these stories often reside along the path of greatest resistance in common dialogues, I guess.

But human nature is capricious. There are moments where we feel more vulnerable, or moments where we are more inclined to open up. These are the unpredictable times when two persons find their relationship transformed in a fundamental and entirely unexpected way to become something more, something deeper.

In that case, it might be true that the greatest relationships are formed not because of similarities, but in spite of them; and that circumstances are sometimes a greater determinant than commonalities.”

It makes me wonder about the things that have changed and it compels me to question if the values that remain are the same. It reminds me of the reason why I started blogging in the first place: more than anything, it is to create an evergrowing tapestry of thoughts that I can look back at in years to come and learn more about who I was then and how I have since grown as I unstitch antiquated moments in recollection.

This post, in particular, resonated because I remember how I used to invest so much time and effort into reaching out to friends and getting to know them better. It was part of my personal philosophy, then, that every individual houses many variegated rooms that conceal a part of their identity. Some of these rooms are deliberately designed to be ostentatious as they portray to the world our primary, adopted persona; others have locks placed on them as they are meant to protect our vulnerabilities and secrets. And there are even some rooms, rare as they are, which we may not know exist within us.

I’m not sure how much of this personal philosophy still remains. Time and events have revealed that not every ‘house’ that lies on the same street as ours presently would always remain proximate – some of them appear close by chance and circumstance, while others relocate themselves for personal design and are just as quick to move away once all benefit has expired. Few and far between are the ones that will always be around the vicinity – the familiar ones you can always rely on for comfort and strength on fair-weathered days.

Are the stories I have yet to share the same ones?

friendship, ideas

The Friendship Equation

February 26, 2015 | 2 Comments


The exchange of views I had with my friends on my 25th inspired several new insights on a theory or equation of friendship I have been pondering over. The equation involves two variables in determining the trajectory of a friendship – specifically, 1) wavelength (how easy two people ‘click’ with each other) and 2) frequency (how often the two share facets of their lives with each other). As seen from the above image, this is a spin-off from the wave equation in physics.

What I like about this equation is that it neatly resolves the false dichotomy between quality and quantity of time spent with each other in determining friendships that we typically treat as binary opposites: while it is true that wavelength between friends typically trump the amount of time spent with each other (λ > f) in a side-by-side comparison for establishing the trajectory of friendship1, initial wavelength without further effort invested into maintaining the friendship would eventuate in it falling into disrepair (λ x 0 = 0).

This equation also reflects how certain friendships never go pass the arbitrary and personalised threshold level for what we might otherwise call confidante since a low value in λ multiplied by a high value in f would still result in a small v.

P.S. I just wonder how much that goes into defining the wavelength we share with other individuals is wish-fulfilment and how much of it is real. After all, we are often told that the reality we perceive through our senses is an internalised one; it does not reflect the objective reality. Perhaps that is why in both friendships and relationships, one of the keys to a healthy maintainance of relations is periodic reassurances through visible gestures or acts, which vastly helps to resolve any uncertainties that might have germinated in the absense of amity. This should not, however, be confused with neediness, which is characterised by the need for constant reassurances.


1 Perhaps a more accurate representation of the equation would thus be v = f x, where ‘2’ is merely an arbitrary estimate reflecting the stronger weightage of λ as compared to f.


An earmarked page of the past

January 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

A persistent flu and mild fever have conspired to bring on a maudlin mood tonight. Having hauled myself to bed early in a bid for rapid recovery, I nevertheless find myself staring at the vague outline of the ceiling as my restless mind flits through the earmarked pages of my past.

I thought of how beautiful and devastating it is that steadfast friendships can be built and demolished so quickly – in either instance – and I thought of how the flickering flame can both be enchanting at one instance and destructive the next. How do I keep it continuously burning when it pours and how do I rekindle one that has been snuffed out?

When does one stop trying?

Steve Maraboli once said that “[l]etting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” But that must surely be more easily said than done, and it doesn’t tell us anything about when or how a confidante becomes footprints of the past or belongs to the footpaths of one’s future. Does the answer lie in actual and potential distance – be it physical, emotional and/or geographical? Or does it lie in the tangible – the quantifiable similarities and interests that two share, which could easily serve as the compass that directs us in times of uncertainty? And what of the intangible – the unseen and sometimes unsaid mutual admiration and respect that form the foundations of that which we call “chemistry”?

There is no quick answer and perhaps there is no need for one – for when the flame dies out and all that is left is but a burnt wick and the effervescent wisp of smoke, our memories of the times spent in the warmth and illumination of each other’s company gradually become tinged with soot and sorrow, until all that is left is…

…an earmarked page of the past.


Trust fall

October 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

There’s a game I used to play during various orientations and it goes like this:

You are standing at an indeterminate height with your eyes closed –

Your heart, hammering against its skeletal cage, struggling to escape.

The roar of butterflies crowds out all ambient noise, leaving but

The whispers of insecurities reveberating through your mental landscape.

Tempus fugit, and soon a voice beckons for you to let go –

Of your ego, your fears and your judgments – and to leave them all in the dust.

You shout, “I’m falling!”, crossing your arms and starting the fall, all the while

Never noticing how ironical it is that free-falls are paid in the currency of trust.


Your fall eventually gets broken by your teammates and everyone lives happily ever after.

I’d rather lose with a team than win without one;

How disappointing it is, then, that neither was achieved.



August 11, 2014 | 1 Comment

Exploring the theoretical underpinnings of tort law has been quite interesting, albeit mind-boggling at times, but I find my mind wandering more often as the clock nears twelve. During these lapses of attention, I steeple my fingers and lean back against my chair as I allow my thoughts on some unresolved riddle of life roam. I suppose these distractions represent my mind’s need to relieve tedium as readings on the philosophical intricacies of the role of intention in tort law (or lack thereof) threaten to scramble my head.

One of the strands of thought that has been surfacing quite often is on friendship. I have always been interested in delving into the mysteries behind the ebb and flow – and the waxing and waning – of friendships. Part of this deep-seated fascination stems from an innate sensitivity towards relationships in general. I once told a friend that personally losing a friendship doesn’t mean an absolute termination of interactions henceforth. Rather, ‘losing’ a friend happens when one esteems that there is a fall in relative emotional intimacy e.g. from a confidante to a regular friend.

In particular, I am struck by the fragility of emotional intimacy. How else could reactive chemistry between two be one day reduced into inert bonds? How else do you explain chapters of rich history being consigned to mere footnotes of the past? These happenstances serve as a poignant reminder that even the best things in life may be transitory.

The refrigeration of intimate friendship into polite acquaintanceship must certainly be one of the most regretful phenomena in life.