Sunday, 26 September 2010

Some friendship thoughts inspired by high temperature

A friend in need's a friend indeed,
A friend with weed is better...

(Placebo, Pure Morning)

It feels like it has been an awfully long time. I simply had nothing in my head, to be honest. Been busy feeling sorry for myself. Of course, as soon as the school started, my child brought back a nasty cold.  I thought I managed to avoid catching it, but last night, without any warning, had a high fever and a very sore throat.

For some reason, feeling sorry for myself made me think about this Russian friend of mine who has just returned from another country. Her husband had to remain behind for another month, due to some contractual obligations at work; and she ended up moving back with two children, one of which is still a very young baby. Alone, to sort everything out, while breastfeeding and not sleeping enough.

I felt sorry for her , and wondered what I could do to help. ‘Can I do some shopping for you?’ I asked, since she had no car. ‘Could I bring you a hot dinner one day for a couple of days so you don’t have to cook?’ I felt bad that I lived quite far and had my own commitments. 

As it happens, we also have a mutual friend from Baku living in London. Her life is as different from mine or this other girl’s as you can imagine. She is single, likes to go clubbing every Friday night and snowboarding every weekend.

I called her to check if she knew this friend of ours came back to the UK. 

She got excited. ‘Oh, great! She is back! Let’s go drink some vodka!’

‘She is very tired’ I said ‘as she is on her own with two children for a month.’ 

I thought that maybe? this single friend, with no family of her own, would find some time to visit our mutual friend and maybe? also offer her some help.

‘Oh, I see..’ The single friend said. ‘When will we go out to drink some vodka then?’

'Well...' I said 'I don’t think she is quite in the vodka drinking state right now. She has a 4 months old baby and she is still breastfeeding.’

‘Oh. Well, let me know when we can go out then. To drink some vodka ! Ha-ha!’

I gave up.

And why I told you this, you might wonder. Well, no reason, really. I have just been thinking about people, you know? How different we all are, and how we view friendship. Some of us feel guilty they can’t help more, and some of us are just there to party with.  And you know what? Sometimes we love the ones who are only there to party with  more than the ones who are always there to help. Such is human nature.

Back to being sick now.  


  1. Yeah, I've had experiences like that. There are those friends who are willing to go out on a limb and help others and then there are those who just want to have a good time. It's not necessarily a bad thing... you just know you probably can't depend on them. I do feel for your Russian friend though.

  2. Sad, and very typical story. I would disagree with Laurena in sense that those are not called friends. Those are just people you know - very unfortunate for you. Overall the opportunity presented itself to know who is who.

  3. It depends on our mood: there are days when I wish a nice, long talk with a friend. and some other days I wish someone to go to the movies with... no talk at all.
    And sometimes, many more than I think it's recommendable, I don't want anyone around me. because even the sound of my own voice bothers me.
    Así pasa, a veces. (It's just like that, sometimes.)

  4. Sorry to hear you are sick, hope you will get well soon...

    As to the single and fabulous girlfriend, I really hope public humiliation on the page of this blog will help to change her.

  5. It is about our culture i guess. I realized it couple of years ago. It was summer, we were quite far from the city, the place was not very familiar and my grandma was ill so we went to find some medicines and whenever we saw some village people we stopped and asked if they know where we can find drugstore, they all told us that they have medicines at home and we don't need to go far. We kindly refused and they showed us the way. But of course it depends on people and their character too.

  6. @Riyad: It was not meant as public humiliation. And she never reads this blog anyway. Too busy partying! (who can blame her?)

    Also, speaking of friends, eh...Some people are good friends and some are bloggers! Oh, no...I say: blame the huge lymph glands.

  7. I think friends have different purposes. Some are there only for the good times, some are there for good and bad times. I'm not sure good-times-only-friends are necessarily worse or something, because after all you are friends for some reason (I hope). What does suck big time, is when you think someone is an all-weather friend, but s/he turns out to be there only when things are great. Sometimes it's difficult to figure out which category a friend falls in and you need something like this to figure it out.

    I noticed that when talk about my good-times-only friends, I tend to call them something like 'acquaintances' or I use the word friend with some qualifier denoting a "different status". I try to sort of avoid calling them flat out friends.

    That said, I do hope your Russian friend has some all-weather friends around for support.

  8. Dear Scary, with this blog you've made me realise something very obvious about my life in Baku. I remember very well, when I was living in an Azeri village with my parents I had many friends (classmates, neighbours, random friends) and we used to help each other all of the time. We'd do all sorts of things / favours for / to each other.
    Now in Baku I still have many friends (from University, work and again some random friends) but I can't remember the last time I've asked one of them for help or them asking me. In Baku and in all big cities people just try to be and are independent.
    Now every time I visit my parents in the village, it amazes me to see neighbours asking my Mum to look after their children or pets for days while they're away from home for some reason or bake some bread or cook a meal for them.

    I've been reading your blogs for quite some time now and I think the time has come to say: You're great! :)

  9. @Myrthe: I agree, I think we need all sorts of different people in our lives. They all serve some purpose. Sometimes, their purpose is just to have fun with us from time to time. Nothing wrong with that. As long as everyone knows the terms and conditions.

    @Matanat: Thank you. :) I hope you find some real friends in Baku who would be there for you, should you need help. You know, also I noticed that sometimes you get love and support from someone you would not expect to get it from. I dont know if this happened to you, but it definitely has to me.

  10. I have to agree with Matanat on this one. In my opinion a self-sufficient person can build stronger and better relationships with people, rather than tit-for-tat friendships. And who is a REAL friend anyway? I think what happened in the 90s shows that the Soviet idea of friendship was a bit of an illusion. Today most of us simply walk past a man lying on the sidewalk. We find a moral justification for being completely inhuman. Yet we cannot justify saying "no" to a FRIEND. I see people who are "best friends" wasting their time and lives on individuals who don't deserve it. Or people getting jobs based on their "friend" status. Is that really helping? It's much healthier to live your own life. There is nothing wrong with asking for help but it's a bit unfair to EXPECT somebody to know that you need help. After all food can be delivered to your door in the UK and nappies are disposable. I'm not saying it's easy with a baby but it's a choice and you don't consult your friend before having one.