With things being more thoughtful recently, I’ve been internalizing the profound relationships in my life, which have supported me throughout the past traumatic months. The most stable and loving ones are my family, the other ones being my friends. And for many reasons, my male friends were a major reason that gave me the love and care to come out stronger and be the badass I am, again. I do have a few caring and supportive girlfriends as well but the focus isn’t on that today 🙂 That’s another time.
Well funny enough this week several people asked me why I have so many guy friends; who these guys are, why I don’t date them or how I am able to have platonic male friends. I’ve been called the “CEO of hot guy friends” in my Instagram DMs many times, which is funny to me because for some reasons, my guy friends are all successful, cute and fit (Asian) males 😀 But their looks or status is nowhere near the reason why they are amazing to me. I love and care for them because they take care of me, they bring joy, value, and love into my life and they look after me, without me ever have asked for it. They came into my life, a year ago, or two years, or a few months, but they all stayed til now.
The way I describe my friendships with my “bros” or “homies” is simple. I genuinely love them, and I know they do too – unconditionally – which means that they always showed me that they are having my best interest and well-being in mind, whatever did or may happen. And in the past months, since the end of 2019 actually; through sickness, stress, a global pandemic, a shift in my friend circle, work and study stress, I was unfortunately forced to change a lot of things in my life. It wasnt an easy time to go through without my actual family around me. And often, I didn’t feel the energy and purpose to keep trying anymore and just wanted to go home to my parents and give up. But then again that wouldn’t have made me happy so I was just feeling lost and scared while being sick. I don’t want to go into any details but it sucks to have to re-evaluate the standards and expectations you have for certain things in your life. So let me tell you the way I feel and love my guy friends.
So in these days where I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed, the nights I wanted to cry it out and felt a breakdown coming up, the moments I wanted to slack and not take care of myself – those moments were the ones where my male friends stepped in and picked me up. Each in their ways.
The ones that were further away made sure they supported me from afar. A good friend David, who lives in NYC, stayed on the phone for eternities when I was scared or when I walked home from the hospital in the rain and was facing the fact that I might have cancerous tumors and infection in my body (luckily after several tests, I know now that I do not). That friend always sided with me and prayed for me to be happy. And during the days were life was giving me a break and I felt happier and safe, he genuinely felt joy and love to see me shine brighter again. Sometimes a message and a call meant the world because when you feel lost and alone, you hold on to those moments of love.
Another great guy friend, Radwaan, is based in Denmark now, but he actually came to Taiwan for a semester when I convinced him to do an internship here. We bonded over dinner nights and when he left, it didn’t feel like there was a big geographical distance between us because he was always a message away. And in many difficult days, he was a positive and optimistic person who send me good thoughts and advice from one side of the world to the other. And then there is Brandon, who always makes me happy although he lives all the way in LA. One day he video called me and cheered for me, and one day when he saw my humor and coping mechanism online, he reached out just to say that I don’t have to fill a void because I am complete on my own. These are all different forms of love.
I have two other guy friend circles in Taipei. One of them feels like older brothers, and one checked on me every single day, asked about my daily food, workouts, step count, mood, and the people I surround myself with, to make sure I have positivity around me. every other day he would take the time to meet me and just be with me. He made sure I know I have family afar from my actual family and this is one of the purest forms of love I receive. The other friend let me come to his place every other day to work from there and get out of my suffocating apartment (and headspace). He looked after me and gave meaningful advice and cared for me being the best version I can be. These two made me feel protected and cared for like big brothers that are looking out for me.
The other guy friend circle in Taipei, with Jimmy and Jackson, who I met a few months ago, and they put in the effort to plan wholesome nights, biking by the river, movie nights, made food and especially, took the time and energy to make me feel at ease and get a break. Sometimes I literally just went over to their place to lay on their couch and recharge. They gave me advice on improving my health and gave me the space to rant and ask for advice with genuinely and valuable input about problems in life. They are here temporary and our time together is limited, but we make sure to have meaningful and valuable moments and support. You always find people who wanna party with you or go on a beach trip with you. You cant always find the one who go with you through the more uncomfortable times and lifts you up.
All of this is a form of love, and you can be sure I will always care for, appreciate, and side with these guys as long as they give me so much value, meaning, and care. As long as they take time out of their busy day to be there for me and be with me, I will do the same for them. Most of my guy friends are older, more established in life, and more mature, so sometimes I feel like a burden but they never make me feel that way. They always take me seriously, they support me regardless but also call me out on my crap if they have to. Honestly, their love and care are unconditional.
They didn’t gain anything by caring for me, they don’t pursue or want anything from me besides seeing me do better. It’s very cliche but the sayings are true; it’s not until you go through really difficult times, the times that make you feel like drowning, that you see and realize who is throwing you a safety ring, and sadly, who is paddling away with their boats. And for some reason (and aligning what my mom said about my horoscope this year, fun fact), close male people in my life were the ones that dragged me out and gave me energy and love to find myself and stand up again. This is something I don’t take for granted and which means the world to me. This is the reason I also use strong words such as “love” to describe the relations I have with these close few guy friends. Out of all these people, I never dated and was involved with any of my guy friends. Friendships meant more to me than dating in the past years. Needless to say, you probably can tell how high these guys set the standards and bar for people in my life – with the amount of time, attention, worry, fun, knowledge, value, and love they bring into my life.
However, lastly, there was one guy I let close to me, and who was there for me during raw and vulnerable moments. The moments where I needed a place of comfort to be scared and terrified, to cry and be the weakest version of myself. And I let him into that space and let him pull me out of a spiral, and help me through traumatic times as neutral ground, as someone who didn’t know any of my friends, and my friends didn’t know him. That one was the person I felt connected to in a different way. Maybe that’s why I could let him see me in such a vulnerable state. So I held him on a different standard than all my close guy friends I talked about before. However, this also means that I cared and showed my love and attention for him differently, which unfortunately is a mismatch in dynamics. So not long ago, I reflected and put him on the same standard as my guy friends. That’s when I realize that he didn’t match with the unconditional and effortless care from my guy friends. We didn’t align – He wasn’t treating me like my guy friends treated me, and neither did I treated him at the same level.
And that’s the reason why I had to step out of that situation and let him go. Because the value I saw in him wasn’t the one he offered me and vice versa, the effort and love I wanted to give wasn’t the one he asked me to give. And it spiraled and wasn’t the same anymore, it didn’t feel the same. As much as it broke my heart to move on and live my life without him in it, I know he was there for me, he cared as much as he could and we were lucky to have crossed paths. I am grateful for those memories. And now that I removed myself from his life, and him from mine, I came more and more to accept that there won’t be more memories and that’s okay, I am thankful for the ones we had. That was also a form of love and caring.
My dad said something beautiful the other day: “Don’t regret for a second that you are caring, loving and feeling deeply – in friendships or romantically, even if the person leaves some times, at least you didn’t play a game – you were loving and genuine. And you have good guy friends who love you, who spend so much time and effort to be with you, who you love, and every single one is worth more than a thousand people that didn’t keep you in their life. One out of a thousand is a win. You don’t care if you buy 1000 lottery tickets if one of them is the winner. So continue to keep your heart open, live and love deeply, and one day, one guy won’t be just a friend – but will love you as a partner.”. And there is so many forms of love, they don’t always last, but we should be grateful to have had them in our live regardless.
Thank you for reading! 🙂 Here is an older post about my friend Brandon.
German-born Vietnamese 🇩🇪🇻🇳
📍based in Taipei 🇹🇼
Co-Founder @arn.gency + @ouran.studios
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