Sunday, July 5, 2009

DAY 20 Better Friend

Posted by Mariel on Sunday, July 05, 2009
I think I'm a better friend over the blogosphere and online, as I am more available, quicker to respond to messages, and generally more diligent in keeping in touch.

I tend to shy away from parties and social gatherings simply because one, I can't stand small talk so I try my best to have honest and meaningful conversations when out at and about. Now, if there are 10 people you see and try to have these talks with, it can be exhausting.

Two, I no longer have the stamina to survive late nights. Actually, never really had. So even before the Cinderella hour of midnight, I am aching to get to bed when out late (I would gladly hop on a pumpkin coach to get home ASAP). I do find this strange sometimes, because at home, I'm usually up until two in the morning.

Don't get me wrong, I love events and glitzy gatherings—not just too often.

So whenever I get nice photos like this one—where I'm wearing a dress by one of favorite designers, Kate Torralba, and where my arms and midsection don't look as big as they are in real life, or I'm not slouching too much—I treasure them. And these are what make it to my Facebook page. When I look at my profile pictures though, I noticed that when lumped together, I seem like this event-hopping, party princess out every night when in fact, the photos were taken months—or even years—apart.

My tendency to shy away from big groups, and to prefer one-on-one 'dates' with my close friends, is from probably practically being bullied throughout high school. I was one of the youngest girls in my batch, with everybody being a year or two older than me. In teendom, this difference translates eons: when I was 13, everybody else was 14 or 15 (going on 20 haha). And these girls were vicious: I was nitpicked for every little thing and detail. It didn't help that I was a bit prissy and had a mother who liked to shop. I realize, that's probably why when college rolled around, I was an expert in 'blending in' and somehow managed to look absolutely, desolately...plain. (I got away with looking like I did because by then my mom had already left for the States.)

I did make some friends and these days we're godmothers and aunties of each other's babies. Well, I don't have kids of my own, but you get the picture.

Of course when I started working, lo and behold, I'd unleashed all the girly-girl potential I'd suppressed as a teen struggling to fit in. (My friends from elementary school don't realize this, because how I was at 10 was exactly how I'd 'transformed' at 21.) I also made solid friendships along the way, but I never really outgrew the social anxiety. I never liked to be misinterpreted, which translated to a frank and straightforward work ethic. My first boss, who also remains a friend and source of advice and inspiration, used to call me the "Truth Serum."

A random sampling of the fab friends I've made at my magazine job.

The friends I've made at work remain my closest, dearest friends to this day. That said, I still encounter the occasional road block on the friendship road. A couple of weeks back, my good friend, Anne, complained (and got a bit upset) that I'd only seen her a grand total of ONCE in the almost four months I'd spent in Manila. A quick email exchange cleared the air. I'd explained that I, well, hibernated, for one, but was also busy with family gatherings, work, and the surgery. But I promised I'd make it up to her when she flies to NY and SF this year.

Anne and I in front of the Friends building in NYC.

Harper's BAZAAR cover image courtesty of


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