I had a friend, Torsa. She is always friendly and talkative. Smiling all the time. She seemed to hate the mean girls in my class too, and that made me like her even more. When new students come to our class, they either
a) Join the mean girls
b) Be lonely
And Torsa choose the latter, somewhat. She would talk to mean girls, but not about “mean” things. They knew they could trust her too. One girl, Sheela, would often come to her to share her family problems with her because….you can’t share these stuff with mean girls! They’ll use your secrets to exploit you!
I once asked Torsa why Sheela would talk to her so much. Torsa said she shouldn’t share secrets. I respected that. I told her, “No, that’s OK! I didn’t mean that, I just said, why you?”
No reply from her end.
Oh wait, I am going off course. Yeah, Torsa.
So, you can see she’s a sweet girl. Has a bubbly personality and people could trust her. Torsa even made friends with the meanest girl. That’s how good she is. But…
And I think this is where the problem lies. Everyone is her friend. I think she has difficulty separating “Casual friends” from “Close friends”.
I was the first person to call her in her entire life, just to know how she was doing, instead of coming with a problem or wanting something from her, as she told me. And yet, I never got a call from her unless Torsa herself had a problem. But I wasn’t trying to expect anything back. I just needed a friend. Someone to talk to.
Although sometimes she was a bit boring. She wouldn’t be talking about her personal life but rather about what she ate and put in her tea; she would be talking about her diet for hours. And I, being a patient listener, bared through it because…..I am not the kind of person who calls someone off during conversing. I didn’t have anything to say to her anyway because I never really felt as comfortable with her as others did. I feel more comfortable with people who have strong opinions, a strong sense of meaning, people who love romantic things (like poetry, reading literature…romance!) and people who aren’t afraid to share their vulnerabilities with me.
And one time she did share a secret with me she told no one else. I was so happy. For the first time in my life, someone bared their beautiful soul to me. I got more emotional than her (obviously) and I tried to hug her for sharing (yes, indeed) and she sort of backed off because….I don’t know….I was being weird? LOL!
Wait, I am being off course again.
So..I helped her. I would give her notes I worked hard on, I gave her my class assignments to help her and I even once went out to the center to give her two of my expensive books so it could help her.
Do you know what I got in return?
Well, obviously since I haven’t gotten anything in return before (and what I want in return is just a phone call just to tell me how I am doing!). But I couldn’t buy my friend with help (isn’t that what you buy friends with? With loving support? It didn’t work). And now, I am alone…blogging about my feelings. Sitting here. Trying to think of the main lesson to give you guys. Umm….
Oh yeah, but when I helped her, I didn’t really care if she gave me anything back.
But in times of solitude I wondered. “Wow, loneliness….I am alone”. And simply for being different from others. For not being loud and mean. For helping someone. I sat alone in a room with my OCD-stricken mind going, “What’s happening to me?”
And then, an epiphany!
“Wait, what if it was someone “special” (like Salman Khan, one of Torsa’s favorite actors), helped Torsa this way? She would have DEFINITELY called him back at least to thank him!” This question made me realize what a douche I was being to myself for making excuses for her not to call me.
I got a call after a couple of months.
“Torsa! How are you? Did you get my books?”
“Yeah. I am practicing some problems from it. It’s helpful. But..”
And then she came with another problem. I helped her with that problem too, I simply had to make a phone call for her, no big deal (I am starting to sound pathetic to myself even) but…I did promised myself never to even think about her again.
If I hadn’t thought of that question “What if someone special helped them?” I probably would have thought Torsa was still my friend, making excuses for her. But if someone who was truly special to her did something for her, she would’ve acted differently.
Torsa doesn’t have much problems these days, I am judging by the fact that I haven’t gotten any more calls from her. But I don’t think of her. I totally forgot about her.
I may like helping, but I don’t like how it makes me feel even lonelier, although I wouldn’t feel that lonely if I had other friends too. But when you’re lonely, you think about how your support for others got you where you are. Some say that they don’t get to choose their friends because they are so alone and hang-out with anyone who talks to them. Well, I may be lonely but I will STILL choose my friends. I will forget the ones who don’t matter, if I have to.
- When you’re helping someone without expecting anything in return, just make sure you have some friends first, in case that person doesn’t care about you anymore and you feel even more depressed and lonely.
- When you’re helping someone to have friends and they aren’t reciprocating your efforts, ask yourself, “What if it was someone special to them that did this for them? Would they act otherwise?
Inspired by the article: Helping A Selfish Person