I would not be posting such a ridiculously named post had not this recent craziness occurred.
Exchange programs, not just Hong Kong’s many, but those all over the world, are excellent breeding grounds for instant friends. You know – 3 min. ramen type friendships which you bond over your mutual love of…lunch…as the best meal of the day. Suddenly, you gain a gaggle of people to hang out with; whenever, wherever.
While a goofy and startling opening, this initial meeting offers an excellent means to meet new people. Often times more than not, close if not life long friendships are created. Sisterhoods and families are born from a ragtag bunch of lonely, semi-orphaned exchange kids. We bond over homesickeness, love of Siracha, and the plethora of Youtube.
Once in a while, you get a dud. For some reason, perhaps undisclosed because it is RIDICULOUS or MEANINGLESS or CATTY…they decide to ‘drop’ you as a friend. Suddenly, you aren’t invited to anything – outings to the beach, group lunches, even goodbye parties. Cold-shouldered, you have been officially ousted; you are less to them than the moldy ABC gum on the sole of their shoe. Consider yourself dead to them. All this…over some small annoyance or irritating moment. That past failure, even for a second, condemns you to a future of endless cold-shoulder suffering. It doesn’t matter how many times you compliment their ‘elegant’ smoking skills (even if they look absolutely ridiculous) or their DIY redone roots (which you actually thought looked patchy), you no longer exist on the same level or even plane as they do. Beneath them, if you will. This, my friends, is the definition of the frenemy. Cool, calm, & collected, this strange breed of exchange student will snap at you given a moments notice – over a piece of dropped dim sum or hot pot dinner, she will rip your f@cking head off for the smallest of incidents. Not for any particular reason, just because she can’t stand you.
Don’t rely on her to ever actually voice this hatred – she will not. The frenemy remains prime at passive-aggression. She will lie, slander, and flatter her way to your side to poke her knife in your back…seriously. Not only that, the frenemy breeds what I like to call (via Mean Girls) the fraitor. Once a close confidante, the fraitor evolves from the gossip she hears from your frenemy. Convinced you are the absolute scum of the earth, she will gradually side with the frenemy. Not that she’s actually a cruel person or evil at heart (as, per say, your mortal frenemy). She may be misled, or she may truly believe you are a horrible person. You may have been the best of friends, but none of that matters once your frenemy digs her claws into the fraitor and turns her into a fearsome doppleganger…brainwashing exists in such instances.
Exchange opens up such complex relations. What to do when you are left unfriended in the most inelegant and degenerate of ways? Write angry poetry calling your frenemy “porcupine piss.” Realize she probably has no soul. Know that she will always have to deal with being a bitter, angry, vindictive person. Know that you don’t. Most of all – realize who your true friends are – the ones that order your Mickey D’s at 3 in the morning, gives you the last scoop of their Haagen Dazs, or goes shopping with you on their one day off. They don’t judge, nitpick, or yell at you for minute errors.
Exchange offers the opportunity for excitement and adventure – while beautiful friendships can be established, part of the adventure means meeting enemies…just take it in stride. Breathe. Overcome. Restart.