I don’t know who your friends are, but I definitely know who aren’t

british-flag     jahorina-zastava-srpska

We have started to use the word Friend so casually, and I have a feeling we do not even understand it properly. We misuse it. We use it when flattering, calculating, kissing up to someone, bribing. We have started to downgrade it, stroke people’s egos with it, rub their low self-esteem the wrong way, stretch their shaky confidence to bursting point. And the word, baffled, still unaware of having been transformed from a cure into a weapon, screams silently and calls for old times.

Your friends are definitely not those who keep nodding while you are talking, who say to you, “Who knows why this is good for you”. Nor are those who dispense rote phrases such as ‘’Remain true to yourself’’ or ‘’Just listen to your heart.” Definitely not. Even less are those you slurp the occasional coffee with, or those you have a slurred conversation with over a couple of beers. Least of all those who pass on fixed matches betting tips or the ones who share with you the information on the best weekend sales. Not to mention those you make duck faces with on Instagram or the ones you pose with for photos taken in club booths showing you patting each other on the shoulder. The most dangerous among those who are not your friends are the ones who say to you exactly what you want to hear. Unfortunately, your friends are neither those you celebrate your birthdays with, nor those making the sign of the cross in front of the candle on your patron saint’s day, not even those you allowed to rip your shirt on the day your first son was born.

Friends are strange creatures. People often think that friends are those people you get on with perfectly and click together. Not even those. Your true friends are your mirrors in which you see exactly those things that are holding you back. The mirrors that magnify your faults and minimise your virtues so that you can, as soon as possible, go on a life diet and have a more attractive soul. Friends are those people that life sends on your path so that you can get to know yourself better. They are the hosts of your own reality show, who give you a hug when you are hurting, but also the ones to ask the toughest questions at the most dramatic moments. They turn you upside down, smash you ego, make you wrestle with your own fears and finally open your heart so that a new light can come in.

On the desktop of your reality your friends are a shortcut for restarting your system. To reset it to the default values. They are a portal to the essence of your being. They use short sentences. Very clear sentences you are often not prepared to hear. Sometimes you even defend yourself from friends, you won’t concede to them, and once you have slept on something, you realise they know you better than you know yourself. On the palms of your true friends, there are urns with your broken soul that thus becomes immortal.

Therefore, choose them carefully. Cherish them when they happen to you. You do not find them easily, but they come along just at the right time. You won’t find them everywhere, but they appear just where they are needed. Unbelievable. And when you do find them, they are not always there, but somehow you will always know where to find them. Very close, on the left side of your physical being. If you do not trust me, touch them, and you will hear them beating from the inside. They give you life.

Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović