jm.jpgby JM Tuazon

I have always been the shy type ever since I was a kid.

Whenever we’d move to a new home, it takes me months to find new friends. Most of the time, I made friends just because the neighbors’ kids were the ones who approached me, and not the other way around. More so when I transferred to another school, I’m almost nostalgic and unable to depart from my last bundle of acquaintances. I was never able to muster enough guts to approach somebody and tell him, “Hi! I’m JM, what’s your name?”

If ever I’d manage to conjure up some courage, I did make friends. The problem is, these friendships didn’t last long, considering the fact that we change sections every year. It’s always hello and goodbye for me, which is kind of lonely at the same time frustrating. I treasured my friends, but I never really have them with me.

But all that changed during my third year in High School, when I accidentally devised a formula for new and lasting friendship. It was when I was writing a journal for a subject, where in we had to write a letter to our dads, that in the most absurd sense of just finishing the journal I wrote the following words for my father:

“Dad, I hope that we could be open to each other. I believe that if we are open to each other, we would get closer to each other. Our openness will lead to our closeness.”

Openness will lead to closeness. No matter how ironic you’ll look at it, it’s the most sensible thing I’ve discovered in this oh-so-cruel life.

It’s been tried and tested. In 7th Heaven, a show about a religiously-centered family, the parents would always take time to talk to their kids if they think the latter’s having problems. In the end, the problem gets resolved, and a hug or a kiss makes the relationship better than ever. Their formula, too, is being open to each other whenever they’d talk. They’d say what they feel regardless of what their parents might think, because, as the famous line puts it, “Awareness is half the solution to a problem.” If the other party knows how deep the problem is, then he/she could think of a solution for it. Same goes with meeting new friends and making it last. We may have said a bunch of “hi’s” and “hello’s” to a couple of people we can’t even remember the names of, but that would have lasted if you had opened up to each other.

The core value here is trust. When you open up to a person, then you trust him/her to help you solve that problem or keep it within yourselves. When you trust somebody or you make others feel that they are trustworthy, then that acts as some binding spirit that keeps you two together. Just think of Christ, that in order to get closer to Him, we must trust Him and have faith in Him. Otherwise, we fall away from Him.

I have used the same formula with my best friend, Steph. Just like any other best friendships out there, we had our share of laughs, cries, weirdness, and yes, fights. I remember a time when she called me at home, and blatantly asked me if I’m keeping something from her. She was a bit mad at me for not being totally open to her, and asked me that dreaded question no two friends would like to hear: “Do you want to end this friendship already?” I said a huge no, and without hesitation, I opened up to her like a son would to his mother. Sadly, though, since we lost communication and wasn’t able to open up to each other anymore, we’re slowly drifting apart. But I know that another dose of open communication will bring us back together again.

Open to close. Isn’t it ironic (don’t you think?). But it all makes sense. Try and test that formula if ever you’re starting a new friendship or making another bunch of friends. Just don’t try it with your door, though. It may be true that in order to close your door, it must first be open, but that’s another side of the story.