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Chapter Two: Friends

“True friendship consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and value.” – Ben Jonson

Friends; besides our family, they are the ones we spend the most time with. And as we grow older, especially into our ten years, we spend more time with them then we do our family. However, that also means we have more expectations on them as time progresses. And although we age, it does not certainly mean we mature. And if even more mature elders can make unreasonable expectations, why not the less mature folk? As stated in the previous chapter, those close to us are often subjected to our expectations.

Expectations to friends are a little different from those that we place upon our flesh kin, our family that is. However, this does not mean that these expectations carry less potency than the ones that are placed on family. Rather, these expectations could be more direct and thus have a more obvious, or immediate effect on the other party, in this case being friends.

Such expectations often cause misunderstandings and problems between friends as well as breaking up friendships. If expectations on family cause stress, expectations on friends cause frustration.

What matters though, is that the expectations still have effects on those that they are placed on. Examples of such expectations can range from: expecting friends to back you up even though they are unable to, or expecting to be treated better even though you haven’t been treating others the same.

Let’s see how expectations cause problems between friends in this short story:

Hazel was a studious and sporty teen. She had it great; captain of the school’s netball team, excellent grades and a group of good friends to support her all the way. She was a perfect candidate for a scholarship to an Ivy League university. She had a bright future looking ahead. In retrospect, she would have been able to have a prosperous life. That is, if she hadn’t made friends with the wrong kind of person.

Her best friend’s name was Alice. Now Alice wasn’t exactly sporty and her grades were just about average. She wasn’t that popular either. However, her parents were aching for her to get into a good college and she would need a scholarship for that. So she decided to sit in a qualification exam for a scholarship, along with Hazel. Since they had known each other since they were born, Alice expected Hazel to help her study in the exam.

Hazel on the other hand, was preoccupied with activities and her own studies so she had no time. Alice didn’t even try to make an effort or ask Hazel for help because she took Hazel for granted. All those other times Hazel had helped her understand everything and so she had no need to try so hard. Now Hazel had left her on her own and the day of the examination was closing in. There was one last resort.

Alice went to Hazel’s house, expecting her to agree. For the past few weeks, Hazel hadn’t helped her at all, so this was retribution for that. But when Hazel heard Alice’s plan, she was shocked. “You want me to help you cheat in a national examination?” Hazel exclaimed, making sure no one else could hear her.

“It’s only fair since you haven’t helped me at all for the past few weeks,” replied Alice indignantly.

“It’s your own fault that you didn’t make the effort to study. I told you that I would be busy for these few weeks. You don’t listen. You never do! I’m not having a part in this and that’s final!” said Hazel, almost loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

She almost regretted it, but it was for Alice’s own good. Cheating would do her no good if she couldn’t cope with the hectic schedule of the university. If Alice had just asked Hazel to help her persuade her parents to go to an average university, perhaps none of this would have started in the first place; but Alice was the kind of person who would rather do something by relying on someone else than trying to achieve at something that she could do by herself. She was already reliant on others helping her. And her dependency would cost her.

Being stubborn, Alice didn’t take the rebuking so well. So, together with Hazel’s rival, Jessica, who just wanted Hazel to flunk her exams and make her as miserable as possible, the two started to plan how to sabotage Hazel in the exam.

For the next few days after that, whenever Hazel tried to talk to Alice, Alice would steer away from her and hang out with Jessica instead, plotting for the right time to get at Hazel. And as the day of the examination drew near, the distance between the two former friends grew further.

Soon enough, the day of the examinations came. And while the candidates entered the hall nervous about the exam, Alice had a strange nasty smug on her face, as if she were looking forward to something. Though, the examination proceeded rather smoothly, at least until Hazel had to use the washroom. Alice took that little time to place little slips of paper into Hazel’s pencil case, scribbling something on them. She smiled to herself as she savored the feel of getting sweet revenge.

And as Hazel re-entered the examination hall and sat down, she would get the shock of her life. “Someone’s cheating!” shouted a voice behind Hazel.

When she looked back, she found the source of the voice: Alice. And a finger of accusation raised in the air was pointing at her. The examiner briskly walked towards her table to confirm the statement and raised her stationery case, from which the slips of paper fell out. Immediately, Hazel was disqualified from the examination for cheating.

Alice smiled wickedly as Hazel was escorted out of the room. That might have been the end to the story, except having her once best friend betray her was too much for Hazel. And she just snapped. In one swift move, Hazel slammed Alice’s head into the table, hard enough to draw blood. With that, she left the girl to bleed, unconscious. Some people went to help Alice while others restrained Hazel from doing any more damage. The police was there in ten minutes and Hazel was taken away for questioning.

Meanwhile, Alice was brought to the hospital, where she had fallen into a coma. The intensity of the attack had been enough to knock her into having a concussion, resulting in her comatose state. Luckily, her life was saved by the amazing skills of the doctors, however the trauma that she had suffered from the impact was enough to cause a problem in the nervous system, rendering her unable to move or talk. Hazel on the other hand, had been convicted of assault as well as attempted murder and sent to prison, although she had no intention on reflecting about anything. The two girls now suffered different fates, caused by one incident. Neither came out better than the other. One had a criminal record and the other would never be able to have a normal life ever again. Only time would tell what would happen next.

Given, this is an exaggeration of sorts, but therein lies the story of the chains of friendship breaking apart. Why did all this happen though? Mostly, it was because Alice thought that Hazel’s world should revolve around her. She was entitled, and thought that Hazel should do everything for her. Obviously, this wasn’t so. Also, if she could have put more effort into doing things on her own, perhaps she would not have had to rely on others to such a large extent.

Let’s take a moment to think shall we? If Alice had examined herself and expected less of Hazel, might this problem have been averted? If she had relied on her own skill and was less dependent on others, would it have been any different? Think about it.

Questions to ponder:

What makes you feel frustrated? Did you ever consider it when you expected something from a friend?

Do you take your friends for granted sometimes?

Do you expect things from others even if you lack the ability yourself?

Are you overly dependent on others for help?

Do you expect others to handle everything that comes your way?
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