Somebody that I used to know

Somebody that I used to know

Manila, Philippines

Last Friday, I went on a girl’s night out with a good friend (for 13 years) and some of her friends so there were 4 of us in total. They were seated in an enclosed smoking area and the moment I sat down, I could feel the slight suffocation from all the cigarettes fumes swirling around. I couldn’t complain because not only was I an ex-smoker but also didn’t wan’t to make everyone else adjust for me. So I sat down and made the necessary “how are you” greetings. I just let the gathering go on its own and there was I trying to make a conversation but I couldn’t get any. There was this time when two of them went to the loo so I was left with this girl I just met sharing how she’s coping at work in a local bank etc… The sad thing is that I can’t bring myself to be interested. I swear I tried but in the end I just took my phone and pretended to be texting someone.

Later in the night, while I was enjoying my crafted beer, everyone started pressuring me to drink up. They were teasing me how it seems like I have changed and looked serious.The other said I just have to drink more so they should get me drunk. They offered for us to have tequila shots to which I declined… and by decline I mean I have to really make them understand that I don’t like it without being offensive. In the end, this girl across me that I have been acquainted with since high school got everyone to have shooters called “blowjob”. So okay fine.

So I resumed to enjoying what’s left of my beer while everyone else had emptied their cocktails. After a while, they ordered another round of drinks for themselves and without asking me, they apparently ordered for me a Kamikaze cocktail (where I would have chosen beer if asked). Normally, one would find that gesture thoughtful but in this situation, I know that it was done so they can get me drunk in the hopes of bringing out the “more fun” wild side of me. Later in the night, they were talking about clubbing or transferring to another bar. That was around 1:00 and at that moment, I was even more sure that there’s no way I’m going to stay with their company. Not only was I bored, but I also didn’t like how I was being bullied to drinking more than I want.

Flashback

I spent most of my teenage and yuppy life drinking and smoking as if it was my last. I would easily down 10-12 bottles of beers on a weekend or 4-6 on a weekday. Not to mention the shots of tequila and whatever alcoholic drinks we can find when the day is a bit special than the other. By “special” I mean, we have more money, someone’s celebrating a birthday, or just because we can. Sure there were consequences from being so drunk and so hung over but that didn’t matter. I seriously thought I was alcoholic back then and I couldn’t imagine a week without it. Getting drunk was a part of my usual endeavours. I have a lot of friends and hundreds of acquaintances. It didn’t matter who I got drunk with and even drinking alone was not out of the ordinary.

These friends that I was out with knew me as such so I can understand the turnout of that night. I was in town after traveling for several months, and they were thoughtful to arrange for a girl’s night out to catch up and hang out as “usual”. The problem is that I have changed since and I only realized that after that night. Back then, it didn’t matter to have a meaningful conversation. But things have changed now and I grew as a person. They too had changes in their lives but, at least for this part,  we obviously took different paths.

Back in my bed that night, I seriously had to question my friendship with this friend I’ve had for 13 years. For 13 years, we can conclude that those were my “I can’t control myself when drinking” days. And although we had very good moments talking about life, we never had any bonding moments apart from drinking either just the two of us or often with her husband and her friends that I have come to be well acquainted with through her.

In my condo, after leaving them to party more, I told myself that if that has to be the scenario whenever I meet her, as in late night drinking with her friends and staying up in the wee hours, then I would have to put a mild end to that friendship.

So what’s the take-away?

That night, I met the new “me”. I guess this person has been there for a little while but I never acknowledged her. But that night I did. Now it made sense why I now have very little tolerance with petty conversations and prefer meaningful ones that actually challenge my beliefs and perspective in life. That when I meet a new person, my interest is towards finding how this person is interesting and what I can learn from him/her. Gone are the days when I would talk to someone for the sake of having someone to talk to.

Today, I would rather sit alone in a cozy shop and enjoy my “me” time rather than be part of a big group who are just acquainted for that night and wouldn’t even remember each other the next day when the alcohol wears off. Most especially, I know for sure that random booze nights is not worth losing a day to nurse a hang over the following day. I’m an on and off smoker and the previous reason for quitting is because cigarettes are more expensive in the countries I travel to. Now, I quit because I finally come to understand that it’s in all aspects dangerous for me and the people around me. Of course, I knew that fact from grade 1 but it’s only now that I realize the weight of that taken for granted health advisory.

The fact that I was getting older and now identify to the “Titas of Manila” club also brought about this change among other things. I’m glad that I have naturally grown out that wild side and now find genuine interest in things that will make me a better person. I will still get drunk for sure but now as a choice of a responsible individual. I understand that health is wealth and that it’s not about how many friends we have but who of them matters such that the friendship makes the people involved to become better individuals.

I still have a lot of friends and I don’t intend to cut them off completely. Friendship has its levels and it’s still good to have a variety. Besides, we can naturally only be “close” to a few”. What matters is that we choose the ones we keep, wisely.

If we can’t pull them up, then we should let them go before they drag us down.

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