(phone rings)

Paul Wong
The Manifesto<br><br>Dustin J. Seibert

“Hello?”

“Hey, what”s the deal Dustin?”

“Hey, umm who dis?”

“Yo, it”s such-and-such. How you been?”

“Oh, whassup? I”m fine, and yourself?” (pointless small-talk ensues)

“Yeah, so, uh, can you give me a ride to Central tomorrow afternoon?”

(click)

Having been one of the few cats with a vehicle my freshman year, I stayed in the Rolodexes of many friends, associates and others who didn”t hesitate to pick up a phone or stop by if they needed to be shot down to Central Campus or something. Now, I am not a stingy individual, and I often go out of my way to accommodate people who need a helping hand. However, when I started noticing a pattern of people calling on me only when they needed a solid, and never otherwise, I started politely telling them to do like Spike Lee says and get their asses on the bus.

I have serious issues with “frienemies” who form convenient “friendships” with people who they would otherwise disassociate themselves from. Common victims of such bloodsuckers? Lonely people who yearn for attention. My strong conscience prevents me from taking pleasure in people”s insecurities as such, and so it invokes a passion within me when I witness others do so. That line between a user and someone with genuine interests is so paper-thin that it is often difficult to tell who is what in the beginning.

This is exactly why the number of people whom I call “friend” is scores different than the number of people who I associate with on a regular basis. I strongly believe that people give the word far more blas treatment than it deserves. A friend is something more than someone who you simply exchange greetings with on a daily basis a friend, much like an intimate relationship, is a commitment. To give a part of yourself to someone is damn hard, but that is exactly what constitutes a genuine friendship.

If you are reading this, chances are you are at an age where friendship actually means something to you. This isn”t high school, where so-called friends are represented by the politics of peer pressure. Though we constantly make transitions in life, the measure of a friend is their resolve to stick out said transitions, even if they get unbearable at times. I believe that college is the period in where one can firmly establish a lifelong bond with another, while also cementing an idea of the type of individual that one would wish to distance themselves from. Why? Because this is the period of transition between childhood and real life that largely defines who we are, and what is truly important to us. Much like finding a partner, searching for compadres gets increasingly more difficult as you get older, or so I am told.

I used to follow a list of “requirements” for friends that I thought everyone should hold to, but I came to realize that all of my real friends don”t have similar characteristics across the board. Each of my closest friends are drastically different from one another, and for the most part, they are much different from myself, but the truth remains that I would rip my left arm off for any one of them if I had to. The fact that such differences can exist between friends is absolutely incredible, because there is that hidden, unspoken understanding that the bond goes so much deeper.

People vastly underrate the value of the whole concept. One of my biggest fears is that I don”t maintain the truly important bonds that I make in my tenure at the university sure we all go our separate ways, to different states, to lives and careers that vary vastly, but is that supposed to be it? I refuse to believe it. Despite how often I identify many human emotions as weaknesses, I genuinely believe that everyone needs someone. Jumping headfirst into the world can be difficult without the support of friends they help weed out that negative influence designed to bring you down.

Being the paranoid chap that I am, I always keep one eye open for that snake in the grass that has no reservations about smiling in my face while brandishing that proverbial knife while my back is turned. The concept of trusting your fellow man seems to be largely accepted in the society in which we live, so every once in a while I let my guard down and see where it gets me. Surely enough, I repeatedly get let down by people who take my trust for granted, thus implying that they feigned the respect that allowed me to let them in to begin with.

Now I am not suggesting that everyone walk around with a constant air of suspicion for everyone else, as that is an uncomfortable way of life. Should the spirit move you though, take a moment to closely re-evaluate your relationships with people I”ll bet that you surprise yourself by finding something that you didn”t want to find, or perhaps you will have a positive revelation about someone that you didn”t previously give much merit to. Of course, if you don”t have any friends altogether, then perhaps you should consider bathing on a regular basis.

Knowledge.

Dustin J. Seibert is quite angry. Cheer him up via e-mail at dseibert@umich.edu.

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