Recently I had this conversation with a co-worker who also went to the same university. I never really see her as a friend, even though we had our share of joint projects and work at the same place. But that's another story, I think. I couldn't remember the context of the whole conversation, but at some point I said to her that I stayed friends with my ex's friends, and even grew close to some of them over the years. She knows my ex and the three of us did a gig together once. I didn't really remember what else that I said exactly, but then she said this to me:
"When you're older, and probably wiser, you'll see that which sides your friends and your ex's friends choose, won't matter anymore. But you're young, so it's probably still important to you, but not for me."
I remember being speechless at that time. I just couldn't find my voice and gather my thoughts to give a proper response right away. I looked at her for few seconds, and I thought I smiled, and ended up say nothing.
Personally, I think it's good that in life you have the option to pick sides. To pick a team. To pick your friends. To give clear opinion on whose sides are you on. To like or hate coffee. Or durian. Or cigarettes. To have non-fat, skim, or full cream milk. It's good to be able to say your voice and stay on it.
But you also have to be aware which sides you take. When you decided to pick one side, it's probably best that you stick to it. Well, I'm aware that most humans are fickle and very comfortable being undecided rather that being straightforward in their decisions, big or small. For me, the most important thing about taking sides is with your friends. I could never understand people who changes friends like clothes. Like fashion trend, friends for them are disposable. When their friends no longer fun, or funny, or comforting, they turned to other people to seek new friendship. Like a serial monogamist, they cycle and re-cycle their friends according to their needs. That's not me, not at all.
I'm so picky about my friends because I want to be loyal to them. For me, friendship should last a lifetime, if possible. Because I have only small number of close friends, I try to always be there for them. I take their sides, no matter what. I'll help them when I can. When they're sad, angry, or disappointed, I'll contain the psychologist in me, and try to comfort them as a friend. But only if they allow me to do those things. When they refuse of reject me, I'll stay away. I even willingly will say goodbye to them as a friend.
Still, for me, even when I did say goodbye to my friends, whenever they need me, I'll be by their sides, on their sides.
Picture was borrowed from here.