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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cupid if you like

Friendship is what you make of it, says a youngster building cross-cultural friendships.

"Call me Cupid if you like", the young man told me over a cup of coffee at a mall where he was awaiting the arrival of a newfound friend. "But my idea of friendship is not sitting at a laptop and sending electronic messages. Instead, meet in person, experience something together, maybe some food, a movie and share the opinions". This 21-year-old US-born man, Steve Sapp, 21, has innumerable friends and continues to main tain these relationships, while always happily on the lookout for new friendships which are new experiences for him. He does have a Facebook account though, 'to reinforce, to keep the flame of friendship glowing, not to send hollow friend requests," as he put it.

How do you find new friends?" I asked him. "Easy. If you commit yourself to one friendship, that's the end of your network. Be open. Friendship is contagious; you have a friend and that friend's friend becomes your friend and that friend's friend's friend joins as well, and so it goes".

Cupid is Steve's favorite character, he explains: "He has got a bow and arrows by which he triggers the spark of love". Steve recalled a bit of Shakespeare he had to learn while at school in the US: 'I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow; By that which knitteth love'.

My golden arrows are three", Steve said. Talk and listen to your friends; give feedback; and lastly, surprise them. Top off your relationship with a spicy touch of humor. That works wonders. Feel left out, ignored, forgotten? Talk, talk, talk! Talk about the current Jasmine Revolution? That depends. But mostly talk about everyday life, what is available where, who is coming to town and the like. Listen to whatever stupid things your acquaintances are saying. What sounds rubbish to you may be gold for them.

Over the years, Steve told me, he's also built up a taste for a fifty-fifty casual-executive sense of what to wear, 'which is well liked by pals." He explained with a smile, "I would wear colorful clothes, contrasting tie and an altogether different scarf around my neck. At a recent gathering I was the one people competed to have their photo taken with because that photo would look more colorful." This is how you surprise your friends; change the way you appear one fine morning, surprise yourself, and share it with your friends.

If you ask me about the cultural implications of friendship, well I don't know. I find people here very pampered. But the advantage is that they'll show the same affection to you. If friendship is not expressed, what's the point?," Steve argues. "What does the diversity of friends tell you?" I asked him. "More is less, I guess," was the friendly reply.

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