Fair-Weather Friends in Disguise as True Friends

Whenever we talk about fair-weather friends, we often describe them as those who are around us during the good times especially when it benefits them and they split the moment things go south. While this is a good indication that we should not place our trust on these people anymore, I have personally experienced another similar kind. They are fair-weather friends who are so good in psychological manipulation that they took the disguise as true friends. I call them the emotional blackmailers.

This special kind of fair-weather friends don’t leave you at the first sign of trouble as long as it doesn’t involve “too much effort” on their side. When you’re in a vulnerable state, they’ll “be there” for you. They appear to be “helping” you out by listening to your sob stories and suggesting “ways” to bounce back. Most of the time, their suggestions involve something that benefits them in return but it’s disguised as a golden opportunity for you.

It’s extremely hard to identify emotional blackmailers because they seem like they genuinely care for you. That’s why this kind of psychological manipulation tactic occur mostly among family members, relatives, siblings and close friends.

Sometimes, only time can tell you whether or not these people are fair-weather friends or true friends. At times, if you’re observant, you’ll notice it sooner through their actions or have your observant true friends telling you something is not right with these people trying to take advantage of you all the time.

Just wait for the time when you have ABSOLUTELY nothing or make a conscious choice that you don’t allow them to take advantage of you anymore, you’ll notice that the communication between you and them will cease to exist. They no longer speak to you or involve you in their lives anymore. That’s how you can tell.

I hope you’re lucky enough to not run into these people in your life and if you do, I hope you’ll take actions and not let them use you. I’ve had lots of experiences in this area mainly because I always see the good in people. Even after I get used many times before, I still want to see the good in people because that’s how I found the few true friends I have, so I have no regrets whatsoever.

Reviving My Letter Writing Days

A couple of days ago, I put up the following status about how I used to write to my pen pals before Facebook came along.

This was not the first time I put up my status about writing and receiving letters. I did it once before and I generated similar comments where people actually enjoy receiving written letters. Sadly, we only enjoy receiving them and not writing them. We’re so distracted with everything that’s on the web that we hardly take the time to focus on just one thing at a time, let alone writing a letter to someone.

What’s the purpose of spending 20 minutes writing a letter, then put it in the envelope and sticking a stamp on it, then another 20 minutes or more going to the post box to drop it. Not to mention, when you’re out of stamps, you need to go to the post office to purchase it. We just see it as too much hassle. On the receiving end, we have to wait for days or sometimes weeks for overseas mail to receive a response for our letters. An email or a Facebook message would have been faster.

But I refuse to let these so-called excuses stop me from doing what I love. This time around, it’s different for me. I don’t want to talk about it anymore when I can make an effort to do something about this “lost hobby.” A friend commented that people actually created a community of pen pals where they write letters and send each other postcards and small gifts.

She then recommended that I join Penpalling and Letters in which she’s also a member. I requested to join immediately but the wait was really killing me, so I joined a couple of other similar groups. One of them approved my request and I quickly introduced myself. However, to my disappointment, they weren’t that friendly and most of them wouldn’t want to write to people who stay thousands of kilometers away due to higher postal charges.

When my request was finally approved by an admin in Penpalling & Letters, I wasted no time to put up a picture and introduction. I just can’t wait to start writing letters again and meeting new friends with different cultural background. Within 2 days, people were already commenting on my picture and getting to know me. This group seems to be more active and even though I haven’t started writing to anyone yet, I enjoy making conversations with them via the group itself.

It truly brings back a lot of memories from those days when I used to make new friends all over the world just to learn about them. I think there’s a limitation for some of us to really travel and I personally always end up in Cape Town, South Africa whenever I do get the opportunity to get out of the country. This is simply because I have a good reason to be there since I have some awesome friends there and I would love to visit them and spend as much time as possible with them. Other than that, I’m not really into travelling. Besides, flying scares me too.

So, the only way I could truly “travel” without rising my blood pressure and stress level sitting on a plane is to meet new friends via social media or as I prefer, go back to the conventional way of writing letters to them.

Now, I’m waiting with excitement to receive my first letter or postcard.

postmanSource: Zazzle.com

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(This is post #2, a part of My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge)

My Writing Challenge

I’ve been toying with the idea of being a full time writer ever since I was 16 years old. “Toying” is a wrong word to use. I was, in fact, pretty serious about it that I started writing stories back then in high school and throughout university life. I could just sit in front of my PC and type for hours, letting my imagination flow without worrying much about the outcome. I didn’t just write stories; I also spent a huge amount of time writing my journals.

But after I graduated from my bachelor degree, I lost the self-discipline and determination to write even though ideas and stories keep coming to me. It will just come and go because I never did make any extra effort to record them. There were just too many distractions from starting new jobs and my social life also got in the way.

Not long after, blogging became a thing so I started my own blog and started writing occasionally. It’s different though because ever since I started blogging, I constantly worry about my readers. What would they think? Would they agree or disagree with my thoughts? What if they think my content is silly? What if my grammar and spelling sucks since I’m not a native English speaker?

My dream to become a full time writer was drifting away from me. Occasionally I would go to Google and look for inspirations. I would spend hours reading tips and guides on writing but it was just a time filler. I haven’t been taking it seriously until a local author who happened to be a friend to two of my friends got connected to me via Facebook. Her name is Gina Yap. I told her about my self-discipline in writing, mental block and how I get worried about my English. More than that, I told her that I cannot do what she’s doing; going out in public to talk about her books and promoting them.

So, the first reminder on how my book was coming along came on November 2013 from Gina as she began sharing her personal experience. I told her I had a goal to publish a book in 2014. She told me to write 500 words a day and it’ll be done in no time. “Well, I don’t write with the word count in mind. I write with my passion or excitement at heart. Some days, I write just a sentence and some days, I lose count of words.” Gina shared, “It’s a personal devotion to it, at least a few hundred words a day, regardless of how crappy the content is, just keep the engine going, you know.”

Of course, after the chat, I was inspired but being inspired and actually doing it was two different things. Yeah, I’m laughing in my head right now as I’m writing this. I didn’t start writing seriously. I just continued with my blogging occasionally. Then came June 2014, Gina again sent me a private message in Facebook to nudge me. Guilty! I didn’t have any progress to share with her. This was the time I actually asked her about promoting her books.

As it turned out, Gina and I are quite alike in terms of not wanting to be in the centre of attention. She shared with me that she rejected many invites to book fairs and forums to talk about her books because she hated crowds and public speaking. She thought her publisher would do the talking and she would just sign some books. But she soon realised that an author need to connect with the fans and soon she learned to embrace it. After a while, it just becomes something natural to her and it’s no sweat anymore.

“Gina, if you’re reading this, I want to thank you because you’re the one person who got me seriously thinking about being a published writer and also not giving up on writing.”

Last night as I was browsing the Internet, I stumbled upon Jeff Goins’ website. He’s a writer. I just got attracted to visit his website and browse through it completely. I downloaded his free e-book called The Writer’s Manifesto and after I finished reading it, I could relate instantly. He just talked about the very same problem I’ve been suffering for years!

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It just hit me hard that I decided I shall no longer give myself excuses to not write. So, to do this, I took up his writing challenge called My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge. I’m the 1132th person to take up this challenge where I’m required to write at least 500 words everyday for 31 days. This is the very same advice Gina gave me since last year and now it’s time to take it seriously. I don’t need to find time to write, I need to create time for it. The question lingers in my mind, “If not now, then when?”

(This is post #1, a part of My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge)

Author, Writer and Online Entrepreneur