My ex once taught me:

You’re stupid for always holding onto friendships. You should only make friends with people who have money that you can gain something from, otherwise, you’d only be wasting your time helping those who won’t ever give you back anything in return. That’s the only way you’ll be successful. It’s business.

He’d say that every time I went out to see my childhood friends, friends from elementary, junior high and high school — friends that I knew since forever, friends who’d stuck with me through both good times and bad, before he had even stepped into my life.

He’d tell me to cut ties with them completely because it wouldn’t just drag me down, it’ll drag him down as well. He called it a bad influence much like the saying on how a rotten apple spoils the entire whole barrel of apples.

Even though I did many things for him for the sake of our relationship, even when it meant being okay with him seeing other women, there was one thing I didn’t do: that was to not give up on the friends and the relationships I had built.

In my view, the value of friendship cannot be measured by monetary metrics — the companionship, the support they offer are intangible in nature; their selfless love priceless. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be the very person I am today. They’ve helped shape who I am with their personality, their odd traits, and their random peculiarities. They are the ones, immediately after my parents, who had let me be genuinely true to who I am by showing me who they are without having any pretenses or motives.

We can choose to be cold. We can choose to be calculating. We can choose to make ‘friends’ because we think we can gain something from it, but what happens years later when we reach a point where we have nothing to give back in return? Will the friends we’ve made, all for the sake of personal gain, give back without asking for anything in return?

It’s tiring to constantly put up a front, a facade. Do this every day for the rest of your life and you’ll lose yourself, lose who you really are, in the persona that you’ve built. You’ll constantly fear everyone, be on the alert, expecting that they’d be using you for their own gain like you do to them. Life will always be worrisome because you’ll be constantly worried that you won’t get the best end of the stick. By always choosing to sacrifice for personal gain, you’ll not only lose the ability to trust, but the companionship of a lifetime.

“Power and money are the fruits of life…
But family and friends are the roots of life…
We can manage without fruits, but we cannot stand without roots.”