You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Words by: Felice Lok 
Art by: Lauren Gallina

I have two really good friends who I cherish very much. One will FaceTime me for five hours straight as we talk about the minor inconveniences we experienced that day in immaculate detail. The other calls me and we talk about career crises and trips to London over the summer holiday. I try to catch up with them often, but when life gets in the way and we don’t see each other for weeks, it feels like I have a gaping hole in my heart. For me, these two are my biggest soulmates. And this piece is dedicated to all the things I hope will come true for them. 

For my favourite coffee friend (who I so ‘affectionately’ call Erin to annoy her because baristas always get her name wrong), I hope she can find peace in being who she is. This girl is an absolute bundle of sunshine who, I’m convinced, wakes up every morning with a mission to hype others up. I once listened to this podcast where the host made us pause and consider if we were surrounded by gardeners who were helping us grow and thrive. This friend is that gardener, for me and for everyone she holds dear to her heart. She radiates sunshine, and weeds out the negativity and doubts we have in ourselves. And the cherry on top? She does this gardening unconditionally and with the most sincere desire to see her friends flourish.

But here’s the thing — she doesn’t give herself enough credit for this. My biggest hope for her is not only that this love will be reciprocated, but for her to be able to love herself unconditionally. I want nothing more for her than to be at peace with herself and to know with unwavering confidence that people are grateful she exists. It sounds easy to do, but so many of us fail to give ourselves enough credit for the wonderful things we give others. I am a firm believer that only when you are content with yourself can you really give life your all.

What I love dearly about our friendship is that we have a running podcast, which takes the form of long-winded iMessage voice recordings made before we jump onto a bus. I sometimes walk into uni with my ears plugged listening to her recordings like a main character whose life is being transformed. She has a stellar memory too, which means that I’m often listening to her talk about things I mentioned in passing three weeks ago that I don’t even remember saying. I’m convinced she was sent to the world to be everyone’s biggest cheerleader (she also does, in fact, sit by the sideline to cheer on her netball friends at their game every Tuesday). I want her to be her own biggest cheerleader too. 

Now, for soulmate number two, let me start by explaining the type of person he is. This person may very well be the most stubborn and relentless human to exist. Frankly, his outlook on life still puzzles me sometimes. On one hand, he’ll force feed our entire table of friends to make sure we don’t leave the restaurant short of feeling explosively full, but then you’ll find him eating one muesli bar while seated in front of his computer and call it a meal for the next five hours. On the odd occasion you’re up till 1am cramming for an exam, he’ll nag you to walk away from your desk and sleep. Yet you’ll find him leaving comments on Google docs at 3am and working hours beyond the weekly standard. We used to joke that the buildings at uni were practically his home because he was often there before sunrise and late into the evening. Now it’s actually not so much of a joke.

For this friend, I don’t worry about needing to hype him up because he knows he’s capable. But I do worry a whole lot about his health. Any conversations about taking care of yourself always end with, “yeah, yeah, I’ll be fine”. Too often I’ve been known as the ‘mum friend’ who’s way too naggy for someone who’s just entered their twenties. But we all know that overworking yourself and bad habits are all harmful — maybe we don’t see it now, but it will come back to bite us as we get older (“yes, Mum”, I can hear him say). I respect his hard-working attitude so much, but I wish health would become a higher priority in his life, rather than something he can test the limits with. 

And as we head into the final year of our degree next year, I wish nothing more than for him to land his dream job and let the world reward him for his tireless diligence. We used to joke a lot about manifestations because he doesn’t believe in them. But if they truly work, I am manifesting a dream job for him where the past four years of studying and working won’t feel like they were spent in vain. It’s especially times like these, where he’s so busy with uni and work, that I hope he’s doing at least the bare minimum to take care of himself. 

If there’s one thing the three of us have in common, it’s that despite how chaotic and difficult life may be at times, we all believe everything will eventually fall into place. I genuinely hope everything will fall into place soon for my dearest friends. And even if it doesn’t, I hope they know they’ll always have a friend in me to bear life’s burdens with them.

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