Being a complex life form with equally complex emotions, ranging from pure euphoria to rage, you are bound to think about your place in this universe. This train of thought eventually leads to the questioning of your own identity and who you are as a person. The journey to your “self discovery” can be aided by a multitude of external factors, such as the books you read, the music you listen to, and, of course, the friends you make along the way.
No matter who you are, it may be safe to assume that you've been acquainted with at least one of these wonderful individuals.
THE PSYCHEDELIC SOUL-MATES
These friends stay well connected with the ideologies of New Age philosophers and try to live by the quotes of the great Terence McKenna. They love all forms of art and can often be found sitting in their rooms with “experimental music” which is essentially three hours of an old person howling (with the addition of reverb, of course), blasting from their stereos. They also believe that any kind of performance artist holds intense artistic significance. An example would be praising the art of quite literally telling a donkey all of your secrets at the crack of dawn (yes, it happened).
Aside from their acceptable but still really weird tastes in art and music, these friends make wonderful companions if you want to talk about life at 4 AM while ignoring the fact that you both have morning classes in a few hours. They seem to “get” you on a level that no one else can, almost to the point where you think they've been inside your head. However, if you're up for a light hearted companionship, these friends may lack in that department, as they might not believe in the act of engaging in small talk. They want to know your deepest secrets and dance with your demons. They do not want to know about how you finally managed to control your totally unnecessary vacuum cleaner efficiently.
THE CONFUSED COMPADRE
These friends are a tricky bunch. You probably became friends when you were going through a similar cycle of life as them, but eventually both parties evolved differently. As a result, you won't have anything in common anymore but will still try to relight the sparks of a once great friendship out of respect and affection for one another. This results in hanging out occasionally where you'll discuss the current events in your respective lives, periods of quietly eating or scrolling through your phones, wishing for a great catastrophe to end the torture, and eventually exchanging comments of how you missed each other and promises of meeting up again soon.
It's usually difficult to open up to friends like these, but when you do, it rarely ever ends the way you want it to. You may tell them about your existential despair and struggles with your idea of self some day, expecting them to relate, but instead they look at you like you're speaking in a dead language. It baffles them that you have the time to question your existence amidst studies, work, and the inevitable end of the world. It's not in their intentions to react negatively though. They are usually always busy with something and don't feel the need to allot a lot of time into knowing themselves, as long as their future is secure.
Unlike the Psychedelic Soul-mates, these friends are ideal for small talk and if you have a sudden outburst of embarrassing emotional confessions, they instantly turn into experts of sweeping a things under the rug and never speaking of it again.
THE COMPARATIVE COMRADES
Even if you're not trying to find yourself, you've probably had friends of this sort. They're wonderful people, sure, but eventually you find out about their tenacity for comparing and measuring the weight of problems that you share with them. They enjoy being a shoulder to cry on as long as your tears are of the adequate volume.
You may find yourself sharing your woes to this friend and will eventually hear something along the lines of “… it could be worse. You know that happened to me, too, but…” which will lead into them telling you about how they went through something similar, but they will emphasize on how their situation was so much worse for them. More often than not, these friends are not trying to diminish or reduce your feelings. Instead, they are usually well-intentioned and think that they can offer sympathy properly if they tell you about their similar experiences. However, their execution of this tactic is regularly mishandled, which ends up making them sound condescending and quite judgemental. So while they boast about their own life, you may find yourself being a snail that timidly goes back into its shell.
THE PARANOID PALS
Lastly, we have the Paranoid Pals. These friends are usually found worrying if they're experiencing life the right way, the basis for measurement being the countless coming-of-age movies they've seen and young adult fiction they've read. They hyper-analyse almost everything in their lives, starting from their academic future to the types of friends they have. Gradually, they start figuring out that people cannot be compartmentalised based on their interactions with the people in question, as people are more complex than a set of prominent characteristics. So, much like myself, they attempt to exploit this new found knowledge by writing about it.
Needless to say, we all have been a combination of some of these personalities and more. Life is complex and the people in it are more so. It may seem ideal to surround yourself with friends who are similar to you, but then you may miss out on the variety of wonderful people who may help shape your perspective. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride while discussing the suspicious mechanics of the rollercoaster of life with strangers.
Fatima Jahan Ena considers herself to be a chaotically neutral egg with feelings. Fight her at firstname.lastname@example.org