Four loves: Keep your man close, but your BFFs closer

Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess

I’ve established in my last article that this February, all my articles for the month will be focused on the topic of love. To rehash, I will be using C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves as a point of reference where he talks about Storge, Philia, Eros, and Agape.

Last week, I talked about Storge, or the love we have for our family. Today, I’ll be talking about what I know is my second favorite kind of love—Philia, or the love we see in friendships. My number one kind of love is (and will always be) Philautia, or self-love, which is, sadly, not included in C.S. Lewis’s book.

Anyway, I digress. I always say that I’ve hit the jackpot in the friend lottery. Before I met my husband, I was in two long-term relationships that didn’t end well, and the love that helped me recover and find myself has come in sweeping waves, thanks to my best friends. To tell you the truth, I don’t have a lot of friends, but I’ve been blessed with a few amazing ones that will last me beyond a lifetime.

I’ve been through a lot (and married life is not always a bed of roses), yet my friends have always been there for me to run to. There’s a feeling of recognition and of being seen with a company of people who have been with you at your best and at your worst. There’s a certain type of trust that you will always be loved and accepted no matter whatever crap in life you go through. In a previous article I wrote about my wedding day, my Maid of Honor, Isa, said something that resonated so much with how I feel about really good friendships. She said, “Sometimes friendship, the really good kind, is even better than romance.”

In my younger years, when I was admittedly crazy in so many ways (boy-crazy being one of them), all I cared about was finding “The One,” that one person who would complete me. And yes, that One Tree Hill quote was my guiding light. “Six billion people in the world. Six billion souls. And sometimes, all you need is one.”

Sometimes, all you need is one. But as I got older, the more it made sense that despite the billions of people in this world, all you need is not one, but maybe several.

Many say that we are living in a world where connectivity is at its peak, but the irony of it all is that we have never felt so disconnected from each other. Social media is a great tool for show and tell, but what I feel should be the core of social networking are true, real human relationships.

And thank God for FaceTime, Viber, Telegram, and Messenger (I don’t include WhatsApp because I use it mostly for work) or else I would’ve relied on snail mail, but I believe nothing still beats a phone-free coffee or lunch or dinner date with the people whom you can let your walls down to. The people who will listen no matter how silly or stupid you feel. The people you can count on through thick or thin; with love or without. The people you call home.

In our group, we call ourselves “the amigas,” and we are five very different women. We found each other after college, which dispels the idea that your best friends will be the same ones you have in grade school or high school. Trust me on this. Given the nature of my school, I do not have a friend from grade school or high school with whom I share a super close bond with. To tell you the truth, I hated grade school and high school to the point that I had a countdown calendar ‘til graduation because I just felt like such an outsider. I was lonely and insecure, I would spend my lunch period reading in the library, no matter how cliché that sounds. I would just hang out with kids from other schools, but even those friendships that I built, I couldn’t seem to keep. I felt something was amiss; I felt like I was trying too hard to be liked sometimes. But that was the truth, and I’m glad those chapters in my life are now over.

Because of those experiences, I know how to treat people better. Now that I’ve found my tribe, I couldn’t be happier, more content, and more confident to be myself. Find people who will always have your back and who will love you for who you are—flaws and mistakes and all.

We are all searching for some place to belong. Some place where we can be fully ourselves and fully seen. There is a favorite concept of mine called “Thin Spaces,” which one of my favorite travel writers, Eric Weiner, wrote about in The New York Times.

In essence, Thins Places are “where the distance between heaven and earth collapses, can relax us and transform us—or, more accurately, “unmask us.” I love how this touches on a lot of vulnerability and nakedness. I used to think that for me, my Thin Places were countries or cities I had to chase around the world, but I realized that I only had one Thin Place, and that it was always at home waiting for me: in the company of my best friends.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Art by Marian Hukom

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Jacque De Borja: Jacque De Borja is an introvert pretending to be an extrovert, who gets insanely emotional about things—especially if they’re about dogs, women’s rights, and Terrace House.