When I came to the U.S. to continue high school in 2006 under the guardianship of my aunt and uncle, I was hoping to finish high school and possibly attending college and maybe even becoming a permanent resident here if my education goes very well.
I’ve had a tough part going through the language barrier and cultural shock. My sister was my only source of comfort, but she was accepted to attend University of Georgia and left the town after she graduated high school.
I met Allison because her parents were mutual friends with my aunt; our friendship became stronger when my sister left. Allison even though was Chinese; she was raised in America so she doesn’t really speak Chinese very well. But she could listen and understand Chinese perfectly; in addition to that, she was aware of the Chinese culture.
She was my best friend and my soul mate because she taught me everything about America, including music, games, TV shows, and most importantly English. We never converse in Chinese, which was the reason why my English was able to improve so drastically. She helped me with my school work and during socializing events she explained certain slang and social cues to me.
In this part of the U.S. you cannot go anywhere without a car, I stayed at home most of the time. However, Allison took me everywhere with her car. Through her rides to the outside world, they further helped me get more in tone with American businesses, culture, and social activities.
Around the last year of high school, she started dating an American boyfriend named Chris. We all hung out together, and both of them continued to teach me more about America and I was able to fit in the American social life even more. Eventually, I was able to start making more friends on my own at school.
Nevertheless, about 4 months before I was about to graduate, I have gone through dozens of rejections from college admissions. To make things worse, that was also around the time where I had a terminal dispute with my aunt and uncle…….so when I tried to go after a guy and got turned down, it was like the feather that broke the camel’s back. I couldn’t handle the stress and ended up in the hospital.
Even after I was out of the hospital physically healthy, my mind was changed. The way I looked at things became depressing and that negativity spilled out to my friends too. My friends started isolating me and then I eventually realize the reason why they don’t want to talk to me anymore was because of my negativity. I knew it was a problem but I was clueless as to how to change.
At the time I was still clueless how to to change my attitude, my surroundings started to change in college. Allison went to attend University of Georgia just like my sister and left town. Chris and I both attended Augusta State University. Chris had a group of friends he already hung out with, and I started hanging out with that group of friends as well. Allison would come back to town almost every weekend to socialize, but she eventually started her own group of friends at UGA and started to not come back to town as often.
Being around with a group of friends came with a lot of peer pressure; and with those peer pressure sometimes came with a lot of bad influences and irrational decisions. I rushed into my first relationship during my first year of college. That relationship ended terribly with me ending up in the hospital again. I had to talk to the deans and was ordered to seek counseling. Back in freshman year of college, I was still constantly seeking for rides and constantly asking questions like a little kid. In addition to questions about American culture, I was constantly venting and questioning about academic related problem, and romantic relationship problem.
On top of all of that, due to my inability to listen, my friendship started to fracture.
Chris and I started to get into fights more often; Allison was out of town most of the time, and whenever there was a dispute between Chris and me, she would always side with Chris for obvious reason.
There was one time Chris and I and a group of friends were sitting in a table at school. He mentioned about renting one of his step dad’s property with a group of friends. Of course I offered if I could room with him and his friends. He kept trying to divert the conversation and beating around the bush. After my persistence and annoyance, he finally spited it out that he did not want me to room with him, not because he was dating Allison, but because of my past hospital experience. The moment I heard that I was heart broken, and I cried as I left the group of friends.
We kept burying the hatchet and let the unhappy things roll off our backs. Around that time I finally got a car from my boyfriend Mike at the time who left the country. I started driving myself and was able to be a lot less dependent on others.
Unfortunately, Mike at the time was giving me a lot of trouble after he left the country, and when I said trouble I meant agonizing financial trouble and fidelity trouble. I was not mature enough to do a clean break up with him, let along handle the negativity and all the unnecessary stress. It took a year of uncertainty and complication before we finally broke up clean.
However, during that year my negativity continued to spill out to friends. The hostility between my friendships in the U.S. continued to grow and eventually exploded to a chaotic mess after one miscommunication. Chris was offended at what I sent him in a text and he refused to answer my phone calls even though I was going to apologize to him. He misunderstood my tone of the text; I meant for it to be lighthearted but I didn’t realize the extent of the severity if it was to be taken seriously.
In addition to cutting off all forms of communications from me, he went hiding and I could not find him at all. To even make things worse, I got many phone calls from Allison screaming at me on the top of her lungs without any intention of trying to listen to my explanation. She even told a few others about this mishap and they started to not associate themselves with me. I tried to talk to another girl in the friend group who was kind enough to listen to my side of the story, and she agreed that she would speak to Chris on my behalf. Unfortunately, it turned out to be adding oil on fire and I put her friendship with Chris in jeopardy.
On my last resort, I drove to Allison’s parents’ house and told them about this mess. They were pastors and they calmly handled our drama in a simple and professional manner. Allison and I eventually apologized to each other. Even though we were distant, we apologized over the phone and not through text message where we could both hear each other’s sincerity. I also did the same thing with Chris too to finally understand each other’s stances.
However, even though the apologies were accepted by each other, we stopped hanging out like we were used to. During my last years of college, I was focusing on 3 jobs and taking 5 – 6 classes including summer. I valued my personal time for work and study over my friends. Now come to think about it, I’m sure Allison and Chris were that way too.
After that incident, we hung out at Chris’s stepdad’s property that he rented and I was able to invite Hector to it too. Chris, Allison and the roommates who were living there prepared some finger foods and I bought a gift from Taiwan from my last visit. Little did I know at the time that would be the last time we hung out together. Due to the overwhelming time spent on personal endeavors, we drifted apart.
Because we barely saw each other during the last year of school, graduation was like a death sentence to our friendship it seemed. Not only Chris and Allison, the whole circle of friends that I saw everyday never hung out together after college.
Back in the day, I planned on having Allison to be my maid of honor during my wedding, but it looks like it’s not going to happen since she moved to Florida and we stopped talking to each other. Allison and Chris got married in Augusta and I was not invited. I only overheard their situation through the conversation my aunt had with me. I just recently got married myself, but I didn’t invite friends since I didn’t even have a wedding.
Through losing a friend, I’ve learned 10 things that I stuck with it myself as a living philosophy.
- Don’t treat your friends as your dump….. everything is best in moderation. Friends want to help each other, but not to the point where they are making each other unhappy because one person constantly venting to another.
Before you vent, think about the consequence – Do you really want to make your friends to become prejudice or bias to your parents or whoever if you vent about them? Do you really want them to see yourself looking pitiful? Do you want them to talk and judge your private manners among themselves or with others?
- You spoke your problem, now listen. It will even frustrate your friends when they heard you are in distress but you wouldn’t take their advice and the same thing keeps happening. If you personally find their advice not helpful, stop venting to them and find a different friend group to vent to.
If you just thought “well I just want to vent to my friends, their advice or opinion doesn’t really matter,” then stop being friends. You’re a jerk.
- The closer you are to your friend, the more you are open to speaking in careless tones with them and make last minute changes on them. But be careful about that and never take your friendship for granted.
Apologizing to each other is a good way to start any conversation after an argument. It doesn’t matter who apologize first because— disregarding the other person’s wrong doing, if you believe you are wrong for something, say it out. Don’t wait for the person to apologize first. And never mentioned the other person’s wrong doing and use it as a reason for your wrong doing; let him mention it himself without pointing at it. Trust me, you’ll be the bigger & better person in the argument if you do that.
- If you think there was nothing you did wrong, think again, or privately speak with another person to evaluate. You can’t always be your own judge on an argument you’re involved in.
- Even though it seems like a common sense, but I still have to say it too. Never just scream at the person or actively ignore the person.
Friendship is work. Time will heal but you should not just let it slip past you completely and act like nothing has happened. Time heals neither isolation nor screaming out of anger. Time is for cooling of your emotion and bringing back your rational self. You still have to work actively to engage with each other again, especially when you are older and live apart from your friend.
- Friendship is mutual, actively venting means actively listening too, kind of similar to point 3. If you’re activity trying to engage with socializing with a friend, make sure to let them engage you too. If you find that the friendship is too one sided, then you need to reconcile with your friend. What doesn’t kill a friendship makes it stronger.