Friends or possessions? (2)

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    However, as I grew older and had a few, well-chosen friends, I noticed a disturbing thing.

    Some people become possessive once they consider you their “close” friend. Possessive in varying degrees. So, just for the macabre fun of it, I listed down the disturbing, tell-tale symptoms of possessiveness that I observed around me, and filed them away in my head, over the years.

    1. There are “friends” who want you to tell them everything, absolutely everything, that’s happening in your life. They think they have a right to know your deepest, darkest secrets. If you don’t tell them, they’ll get so hurt and offended, you won’t ever hear the end of it.

    2. There are “friends” who expect you to invite them to all your parties, outings, family events, anniversaries, graduations, etc.—otherwise, they’ll make “tampo” to death and tell everyone what a thoughtless ingrate you are.

    3. There are “friends” who will deeply resent it—to their graves—if you become closer to someone else. Or if someone they introduced to you becomes closer to you than to them. Horrors. Why, they’ll even hate you for exchanging phone numbers with “their” friends! It’s like you stole their boyfriend or something. (I can’t believe how some of us never outgrew our high school insecurities.)

    4. There are “friends” who want you to introduce them immediately to anyone who’s courting you, or anyone you’re courting; anyone you have a crush on, or anyone who has a crush on you; anyone you’re “praying about” (which could be face-saving Christianese for “I’m not sure if I really like him or if he really likes me, or if I even stand a ghost of a chance.”)

    5. There are “friends” who want you to ask for their permission (horrors!) before you go into a dating relationship, take up a new sport or hobby, before you apply for a job, change your hair-do, relocate to another country, get married, rent a condo, or buy a dog.

    6. There are “friends” who expect you to ALWAYS invite them for coffee/lunch/high tea/dinner with other “close” friends. If they ever find out that you didn’t, don’t expect to be invited either—until Jesus comes back.

    7. There are “friends” who expect you to take their side in any conflict, and expect you to take offense for them. If you remain neutral or (heaven forbid) take the other side, you’re blacklisted for life.

    8. There are “friends” who expect you to defend them to death, even if they’re wrong.

    9. There are “friends” who expect you to cut corners for them, lie and break the law for them, give them a huge discount, give them preferential treatment, pull strings for them—and yes, even give them your treasured possessions—just to prove your friendship.

    10. There are “friends” who will never forgive you if you forget their birthdays, anniversaries, can’t make it to their wedding or if you didn’t invite them to your wedding, didn’t send them flowers, nor visit them in the hospital.

    11. There are “friends” who expect you to call them immediately when you’re hospitalized—even if you’re in critical condition and can’t even remember your own name. This is unbelievable: some “friends” actually accuse the patient whom they’re visiting in the hospital: “Grabe ka naman, you didn’t even let me know that you got confined!” They will also probably get offended if you died and forgot to inform them.

    12. There are “friends” who will never take a “no” from you just because they think they own you. Don’t be a wimp. Say NO when when you want to, and when you have to.

    13. There are “friends” who treat you like their personal ATMs. The problem is, all they do is withdraw money from you! So stop it already.

    And, finally, one of the most bizarre manifestations of possessiveness I’ve seen pertains to some people who have ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. A word of caution: you don’t own your ex. You never did. You never will.

    I heard this hair-raising, blood-curdling story about a girl who got offended because her ex (the groom) didn’t invite her to his wedding. (HELLO! As a good friend of mine would say.) “Ex” means past tense, fin, finito, kaput, wala na, tapos na. I was flabbergasted to hear that some girls even have the gall to complain and make a fuss about not being invited to their ex’s wedding! That must be coming from the lowest, murkiest levels of low self-esteem. (Redundancy can be useful when you’re driving home a point).

    One word, ladies: Dignity. Maintain your dignity at all times. Don’t give people an excuse to laugh at you. Remember that when your ex gets married, s/he deserves your gracious absence—unless otherwise specified. Exercise tact and good breeding. This will certainly save you from embarrassment.

    The word MINE is a good, strong word we can use to establish a boundary when applied to the right things. But never to people. Because we can never own people. Only God can own people. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ and have surrendered your life to Him, then God says of you: “I have called you by name. You are mine.” Only God can own people.

    I don’t own anybody. Not my husband. Not my children. Not my closest friends. I love them dearly, and they love me. But I don’t own them, and they don’t own me. The bible says that when couples are married, they own each other’s bodies and are to love each other deeply, unconditionally. They are to be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives. But only God can own a human being: spirit, mind, body and soul.

    MINE—let this word be a healthy boundary. Not a selfish one. A true friend will respect your boundaries. And if you are a true friend, you will be careful to respect your friends’ boundaries.