Hey there and welcome to BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about
So we’ll find out what’s the definition of friend – maybe you didn’t know. And what our experiences are with friends, do we have a lot of friends or not, what we look for in a friend, any problems we’ve had – maybe we’ve separated from friends or just stopped being friends with people, so we can talk all about that. On this topic today, this fairly friendly topic
Friendly topic. What, Brian
In your daily life you often have to give definitions
The word “friend” – how can you define it?
Well you know if you look at the dictionary definition of “friend” – I don’t know what that is. I really don’t. I’ve never done that before in my life. I guess I could, but I would just say a ‘friend’..
If you look there, you’ll see ‘Brian’
You would! You would see my face and it’ll scare you away. No! No I think friend’s just a someone that’s you have common interests with, maybe you’ve been through an experience together that kinda bonds you. A lot of times friends, you know, are based on your working with people for a long time or you were in school together or your parents are friends. So these things are things that are just common links to people that you just kinda can’t, I guess, move on from? Or forget about – they’re just in your life permanently
Not necessarily, like, you’re gonna marry them if that’s a female or a male or whatever, you know, that kinda spousal relationship. Definitely it’s kinda similar in the connection except that you can’t really divorce yourself from your friends I guess.
You got that ‘je ne sais quoi’
It’s a French saying that something kinda…
Chemistry, but not in a romantic way necessarily
Actually although I wouldn’t give it as a dictionary definition I would say that friends are… for me a friend is someone who shares the same interests. I mean, you touched on that already, but for me it’s super important
Super important as a German... I meant to do it like a German thing. But it’s super important
To me that my friend shares interests with me. But that’s not necessarily what a friend is dictionary-wise
Do you have a lot of friends Brian?
Do I have a lot of friends?
This is where I pick on you, you pick on me
Now? Like in the past? Are we talking about…
People that you still count friends, not necessarily always in your life today…
I mean considering, you know, I moved countries and cultures and everything like that it’s kind of a different experience with my friends because I’ve gone for a long period now and not really talked to some of them because we’re now in different points in our lives you know. They’re married and have kids, you know
They have different focuses, their lives revolve around those things now, you know. And so even though our interests might still overlap quite a bit when it comes to things we enjoyed doing, you know, as you get older, you know, you start having different priorities. And those things now become part of your interests and so your friendships, you know, realign, but if I went back… not if, when eventually at some point I get back to the states, you know, it’s not like I can’t call them up and say “Hey! Let’s get together? How are you? Kind of thing”
There’s no ‘best before’ date
Right. I don’t think so. I think it might be more of a surprise thing, you know, like ‘Where have you been?’. And in today’s..
Did you tell them you were coming to Russia?
Yes yes, I did. And many of them were surprised and like ‘Wow! That’s a big decision to make’ and, you know… But all in all I think they were supportive or at least saying, you know, ‘we hope the best for you. You know we’re here if you ever need anything’. You know, the generic thing that friends say to each other, so… And you? You have a…
Not so much now. I.. earlier in my early 20s I would’ve had a lot of friends, I would’ve been very active. I wouldn’t say… I would never describe myself as sociable but I was more of involved in social things
I was never really sociable like party-going or anything, but I was more involved in sociable things if you like
And maybe in unsociable way
Like.. not really. No I was more involved in… Well actually church work where I grew up, and I went every Saturday with friends doing.. sharing the message of the gospel and stuff and I would’ve done that on Saturday and I would’ve messaged a lot of people and friends of friends and stuff and so through that I got to know a lot of people
And got some good friendships
Cause of common interests and stuff and so I would say I had a lot of good friends but I’ve since kinda lost contact with some you know. The distance - it’s not always practical. And some of them are older without WhatsApp and stuff
But my best friend – I still keep in touch with back in Northern Ireland
So, do I have a lot of friends? No.
But I feel like I have the friends that are important, that are still there
And I mean… for those who I maybe lost contact with – I can go back and you know
Talk away to them and share I was there and they would be interested, you know. I want to know what’s happening to them too, but.. sometime I’ll look them up and find out more about them
And I think that, you know, you touched on a minute ago about that some of them are older and don’t have WhatsApp or you know whatever.. I think that technology has really changed the way that friendships are built, the dynamic of friendships, cause, you know, before you had to make more of a concerted effort to contact your friends before cellphones and social media. When you only had the machine that you would get and you’d leave a message and you’d kinda play phone tag with people.
You know you’d call back and forth and say ‘Hey! I called you on Tuesday, you didn’t call me back. Is everything okay?’
When was this time? I don’t remember…
I remember going to the swimming pool, my best mate when I was, let’s say, 16-17 and maybe a little bit younger. We used to go to the swimming pool
You used to be 16 or 17? I cannot imagine, that’s amazing
Let’s revise that. I think I was 14 or 15. But anyway, it was only three years ago.
But we used to, like, plan to meet up at the swimming pool and call there by landline
You call that a landline in the US?
So, landline. And we call by landline and arrange it at three o’clock or whatever and then I’d be standing or he would be standing in the swimming pool waiting for, you know, the other person, maybe playing Mortal Combat on the
Arcade games, yeah, in the swimming pool. But, I mean, he could be 20 minutes late, I could be 20 minutes late and we would… no messages
Right, you can’t. And now it’s totally different, where, you know, if you’re waiting on somebody, it’s easy to get impatient, you know, and just say “Where are you? Is everything okay? Are you avoiding me? What happened?”
And you’re texting them and stuff
Right. And they’re having an accident, you know. Of course, cause they’re texting while driving, which you shouldn’t do. Don’t text and drive people, if you’re listening to this and texting, stop!
Good good good, interesting. What qualities do you value most in your friends?
How can I be your friend Brian?
How can you be my friend? Well you know your facial hair right here is kinda.. no
You are, yeah. That’s what’s helping it
That’s why I’m growing it
It is, yeah. Although you can do it better one than the one I can. I can’t go sides at all.
I can’t do that at all. I can’t. It looks kinda jaggy
If I keep growing it you’ll see, you’ll see
Yeah mine looks kinda patchy. No I think like we said earlier – common interests are important, you know. Especially for a new friendship, you need to have time together to really.. just like in your relationship – to get to know each other, to get that je ne sais quoi like we said, you know, those qualities that really just bond you with the other person. And, you know, I think interests are important. I think, kind of outlook on life is important.
Although, to be honest, I’m finding more and more that no matter what kind of relationship you’re looking at, that in many cases opposites attract like it’s actually helpful. So finding someone who isn’t interested necessarily in the same things, but has a different perspective and they can be your friend in a different way because they’re going to broaden your outlook, your horizons, you know
You’re gonna have different kinds of connections, you know. I’m not saying that’s great for every relationship but I think that in many cases you can see that. What do you think?
I’ve had a friend or two that I would say is like completely different from me. Not with… I mean, we still share interests but quite different in personality and in outlook, mentality. But not entirely different, but very different in some ways. I mean, I look for shared interests in friends, I look for an honesty, sincerity, kindness and stuff
No I look for people to lie to me, I want dishonesty
Wanna be my friend – tell me what I want to hear
Does my bum look big in this?
Oh no. Cause guys never ask that, right?
Well I should cause my pants – they kinda bother me
How did you meet your best friends?
Well, to be honest, I kinda went through phases of best friends. I guess you could say I had my first real best friends was somebody that I met not very early on in life but, like… I was 12 years old and, you know, coming to a new school at this point, because I was changing from 5th grade to 6th grade. So in the US you change schools. Anyway, so.
I went to a new school and me and this gentleman, I’m joking, he was a kid at the time – he kind of was the rebel and I was kind of an outcast. I didn’t really know anyone – everyone at this school went to different schools before this, so I didn’t know anybody. He was kind of a loner, and so we just kinda bond on the fact that we didn’t really have anyone to hang out with. And, you know..
Did you do rebellious things?
Well, you know, of course, when you hit to 12, 13, 14 years old…
I was, yeah, I was the rebel. No. But, you know. We met in school and to be honest we were best friends even when we went to separate high schools, so 9th grade through senior year, you know. And even though we didn’t go to the same university and these things, and I moved away – we’re still staying relatively close. But then, you know, maybe later, but things changed.
And I had a new best friend, I guess you could say in college. And, you know, this person and I bonded over a club, an organization we were a part in. I think like I said earlier it’s just common interests, outlook on life. For me, you know, friends… we like to laugh together, you know, just be kinda silly and kinda, you know…
So if I can make you laugh
That’s a plus, that’s a plus, that really is
and the facial hair, gotta have that. That’s a….
Must-have . So what about you? Your best friend
Must-have moustache. I don’t know, in my mind. Things sometimes are different in my mind. My best friend Andrew Fitton. Shout-out to Andrew Fitton. I’m sorry. Hopefully it doesn’t sound too wussy or…
No, I mean, calling.. If he’s listening to this
If he’s listening, it’s pretty awesome
He’d be like ‘I’m not his best friend’. I have other friends.
We’re Nullarbor buddies. Any idea what that means?
Nullarbor is a desert in Australia. We’ve done a podcast about Australia. And we talked a little bit – Ryno and I talked a little bit about Nullarbor. The Nullarbor desert… and Andrew and I – it’s not the only reason we’re best friends. We travelled across the Nullarbor desert and our friendship survived
We went by car though, not by foot.
You could get some experience some more, you know, of the desert
It was kind of warm actually, even though it was wintertime
For them it was winter, but, I mean… winter in Perth can be +26
But Andrew and I have known each other since… well actually, he tells me that since primary school. We used to go.. for a little while. I changed schools a couple of times, but for a little while we went to the same school. And I don’t really. I have a terrible memory, but I don’t really remember it so well.
Vaguely. He’s a few years younger than me, and I was quite young. But later on we met in our twenties. We were involved in a kind of, again, in a kind of outreach work with church. I was 20, I think he was a little bit younger maybe, something like that
And we’ve been friends since
I’m still young, still young. So
Age is only a number, right
We’ve been best friends all that time, I mean, thick and thin, all kind of things.
Me moving away. I still keep in touch with him
Awesome. So do you make friends easily?
I don’t know. I think less so than I used to
I mean, I think for you to make friends you have to take the time
Now I’m a married man, my wife’s my priority and I think
I think to spend time with her is more important
But, I mean, we enjoy – we both enjoy friendships and having friends and
But it’s probably more friends we can share together
And so, I can be very… I think I’m friendly. I hope so. I try to be. Now I guess it depends on time in the morning, how much coffee I’ve had
There are different reasons why my number of friends is I would like to be, but generally speaking I’d like to think I’m friendly
Oh, I think I would say though, and I guess maybe I am… a little bit biased, but I’m gonna say that most people that work with people all the time and in a very close environment like teachers do, you know, you have to kind of have that demeanor. You can’t be unfriendly and be a teacher, because people aren’t really gonna respond to that very well, you know
I know. I always like to make it a friendly environment, speak about teaching and the classroom, I always like to make it a friendly environment. My thing is, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, but my thing is to make it fun and joky
You’re doing knee-deep in grammar it’s not always easy
No. But you should kinda bond around that
Although grammar’s great, right?
Oh it’s wonderful, love grammar, grammar’s amazing
Yeah, it’s fine, it’s fine.
Do you make friends easily?
I think that it really depends on the situation. So, you know, I also try to be a friendly person, but I would say because a friend to me is more permanent than acquaintance or colleague
I think that I make acquaintances and colleagues very easily, people that, you know, I’m friendly with.
And that we can talk about some things, but we’re not gonna get really needy in personal details or, you know, hang out outside of whatever environment we’re meeting, you know. So normally colleagues and acquaintances are easier for me. For me to have someone that is a friend, you’re gonna have that bond. I think it takes more than a week, two weeks, a month. I mean you need to…
More than a friendly chatter
Right. I mean, so, even if you’re looking for someone to be friends with, like you said earlier, you’re gonna need to put in the time and energy and effort. And I think sometimes, I don’t know about you, but for me, the older I get I’m not as motivated to seek out friendships.
Even though at the same time I still really want friends and friendships and that kinda stuff, I don’t find myself being willing to go and do the things I did when I was younger. But of course that’s also a part of being in a new community, you know, kinda try to fit into the culture, figuring out how do you do that
How do you become friends here, so, you know. Maybe the process of being friends…
How’s your Russian by the way?
Плохо. It is not very good. I’m trying, I’m practicing
I’m trying to learn, yeah. I mean, I’m getting vocabulary but just like with English, you know – you gotta learn the grammar, you have to speak with people and so, it’s kinda hard to speak, practice by yourself, with a computer – it’s really difficult. So you know
Just learn to talk to yourself
Pretty much, yeah. Talk to myself
Yeah yeah. I think you touched on a few things there, but when I was younger I made friends easier – more easily, easier
Because, because I think I was more.. naive, maybe. I mean, I don’t.. I guess I’ve been burnt a little bit by a friend or two – not every friend
We can get there… That’s a question for later
But I… as a young person.. I think it’s true for most young people – you’re friendly
But is it naivety or is it innocence? Is it more of like hopeful optimism where everything… I mean, If you look at kids, you look at children, I think they kinda have that mentality about most things.
They can fall in and out of friendships easily
But they also just have lots of friends
And I think they don’t.. they don’t have the life experience that makes them jaded, that we have as we get older, where it’s like ‘wow this person has lied to me, I’m gonna watch out for somebody else named Sam”, you know
Yeah, I need to, you know. Be careful for the Brians, you know. They’re a sneaky bunch, Sam
Yeah, well, that’s really… We’ll come to that a bit
A bit later but. Are your friends similar to you?
I mean, the majority of them?
I mean, in some ways yes, we share interests, we share, like I said earlier, a bond around experience or, you know, faith, or something like that. But they all have different quirks that, you know, are.. make us friends, because they have something you don’t. Right?
Right. So my best friend from college is very active like he’s almost too active you would say. He’s kind of crazy at his, you know, mannerisms. He’s very off-the-wall and does things that are just random and strange. But he’s also endearing and so, you know, and very friendly and open and, you know, we bonded a lot in college and so, he actually was the best man in my wedding, when I was married back in the states. And so, you know, he was a very important person in my life.
And even now – even though he’s now in a different state of his life and so am I, he’s somebody that I know, you know, if I call him up at any time “Hey how are you doing? Great man, good to talk, it’s been a while”. You know, just so… but yeah, I think my friends normally have at least some similarities because, like you said earlier, if you don’t have anything at all in common, then it’s hard to really be friends, to really have that connection. What about you?
I would say, for most part my friends are similar to me, but, again, like you, there are some things that different. My best friend and I, I think we’re very similar, I mean.. But in other ways we’ve changed, I’ve changed, but I still understand who he is and where he’s from, so I still relate. We can still relate to each other, you know, we’ve both changed a little bit
Over the years. So yeah, mostly similar
Except for the occasional one or two friends that are completely different, but, you know, in a refreshing way. We’re both
Open-minded enough to the differences
In each other. A little bit more serious – I mean we already kinda touched on it. Have you ever stopped being friends with someone?
Well, okay. So this is gonna be.. I don’t think this is too personal for me, but maybe some listeners might think
They’ll get uncomfortable
It’s not a spoiler alert, but uncomfortable alert
Yeah it’s just.. well you know.. and because people don’t really know my story necessarily, which is fine. So I had a really good friends in college and she and I were very close. We dated for a very very short time before I met my ex-wife and then when, you know, we weren’t in college anymore and we still talked all the time. And we would just, we hanged out with each other and she moved 5 hours away, but if she was driving up to where I lived, she would come stay with us and visit.
And if I was in her area – same thing, like it was always just… And it was fine, you know. It was great. And we had similar interests, and it was just easy to talk with her. And I think that sometimes that’s a really healthy thing for different gender people, right, for a man and a woman, to be friends. I think it’s really good, because sometimes there are things you want to discuss about your spouse, significant other, what have you, that can help
You know, I think it’s value, I don’t think it should always happen all the time, and I think you can be careful with that, cause there’s a line there. And of course you want your significant other, a spouse, to be okay with it, right? Well, unfortunately, we stopped being friends, because when I decided to come to Russia, because I met someone online – she said ‘you can’t go to Russia cause I wanna be together’.
And I said ‘that’s not really what a friend does'. You don’t give that kind of ultimatum. Okay, If I’m harming myself, you know, harming other people, if I’m doing something criminal – okay, you can call me out on that, you can say “Look, you can’t do this anymore”. Like, that’s not okay. And we can’t be friends, that’s a different… Yeah, an intervention of sorts. But this wasn’t an intervention, this was an ultimatum that to be..
Yeah. I mean, no, because friends.. You support each other and, you know, okay, you’re gonna call yourself out, you’re gonna call each other out on things that they should do, maybe they’re making some bad decisions, not illegal, but just bad – like you’re wasting your time. What are you doing with your life? Kinda like a parent almost, but as an adult, right. If she’d done that, hey that’s cool!
But saying that ‘You can’t go here, because I wanna be together’ when that opportunity had passed many a moon ago, a long time before – that to me is kind of a boundary that, like, you just can’t go there, you can’t cross that line and, you know, unfortunately, I moved here in November and we haven’t spoken since. And I don’t think we will speak. Even though the relationship I was here for is no longer happening, right. I’m not with that person. That’s a breach of friendship to me. I think, that’s a valid reason not to be friends
Right. It’s not like, it’s not akin to unfaithfulness in a marriage, but as a friend. There are some things you kinda have to do. And supportiveness, I think, is really almost mandatory. You know, especially when it comes to love and understanding, I think you kinda have to have their back. You know, there. So, what makes you jaded? Cause you mentioned earlier it’s kinda…
It’s actually in principle quite the same. My friend had a very.. I don’t know, he was almost.. I mean, a few years older than me, but not so old, so much older. And he was like an authoritative figure to me and he had his ideals of what I should do, and who I should be, and what… where I should go. It wasn’t who I was. And he had an idea of who I should be and what I should do, which wasn’t me. I mean, we used to do a lot of things together, I was a best man at his wedding in fact
Wow. That’s a big step back
We were together, but he was over me, and I was below him and, I mean, that was okay, I mean, that worked. But then he became… he started to.. not just in work, but in my private life. He felt that I should be this kind of person, I shouldn’t come to Russia and I shouldn’t do this, I shouldn’t.. I started going to a different denomination of church, and that, to him, was bad and stuff.. So it became… we didn’t fall out or anything, but we just grew apart
Cause he had a different vision for me
Which wasn’t necessarily bad, but I didn’t identify with that. Unless…
Right. It wasn’t supportive.
I mean, there are some things that you just have to be
More controlling than supportive
Right. And I guess that’s a part of that authoritative part of your life that you mentioned earlier
I don’t want to say anything, but you know, because maybe he didn’t do it intentionally
But for me it just wasn’t… it wasn’t me, it wasn’t comfortable. I wasn’t that person, so..
So we did end up.. I mean, I don’t communicate with him. If I saw him now,
But I don’t know if I would want to start our friendship again
It would depend really on, I would depend on how I think he responds to me, so, it’d depend on that. Yeah. Heavy there, let’s see if we can pull it out and do it till the end
Is it okay to end a friendship?
Well, I think, you know, it’s.. I don’t think it’s… I.. like we’re okay, it happens, you know. Friendships begin, and they can begin, you know, beautifully, and they can begin.. it’s a variety of ways. I mean, really, there’s just a plethora of backgrounds that could bond people, you know. And, unfortunately, there’s also a number of things that could end a friendship
Is it okay to end a friendship? I don’t know that I would say it’s okay. Just, it just happens. It’s a part of life, you know. It’s like you said with your friend you grew apart, it really is regrettable but, especially if what you share was deep. You know it’s kinda like losing part of your past
Maybe that’s.. made me a little bit jaded
It is. So, you know, what do you think? Is it
But I.. Well I think it’s preferable to keeping a friendship going that doesn’t have any real life
You know, that I don’t think is worth it
But.. Not necessarily a good thing, but anyway. What do you enjoy doing most with your friends?
Well, again, because the friends, you know, depend on the interests and that kinda stuff… I mean, with my friends back in the states we enjoyed watching movies, we enjoyed going to concerts, we enjoyed just hanging out together, playing games sometimes or, you know, going to a coffee shop or a bar, you know. Just spending time with each other, spending life, you know.
Sharing life and, you know. I think a friendship is always about being there for them when they need you, and being able to depend on them when you need them as well. So you know, I think that’s a big part of it, is it. I had a truck back in the states and there’s a joke that if you have a truck in the US, you have to help people move. Right. People actually have stickers they put on their truck that says “Yes, I have a truck. No, I won’t help you move”.
You know, it’s kind of a joke. But I had a truck and my friends knew that if they called me up, no matter if it was they needed me in the next hour or the next week, I would show up. Like I was always going to do it, you know. And that’s just kind of how I am with my friends, and so.. I actually did enjoy helping people move, although sometimes it was tedious cause you move one person one week, and the next week someone else calls you and like “Okay I mean I don’t talked to you for a..
Exactly, you know. Where’s my gas money? You know, but.. No, I think you just enjoy spending time together and doing a variety of things: going bowling, seeing a city, going on trips. I mean, there’s a number of things you can do with your friends and I hope that here in Russia that I find some people that I can share things with as well, because that’s one of the things that you need in life – a really good friend. People that you can get to know and, like I said, share life with and just laugh. Like I said, I enjoy laughing, I think that humor is a key to a good life. For me. So
It is. It is, absolutely. SO what did you enjoy doing most with your friends? Besides going to massage
Yeah. But I mean, honestly
Honestly, though, my friends and I do… my friends always watch Batman. Not always
But my friends are Batman fans
Here you go. Any Joker fans?
It’s not a requirement. But I love films, I love watching films, watch films with my wife, watch films with my friends. It’s not the only things that I do, right
But it is one of the things that my friends and I do do
But also having heart to heart as well – that’s what friends I think are for. If you can’t have a heart-to-heart with a friend, then maybe they’re not your best friend.
Not like they can’t be your friend, but they’re not your best friends if you cannot have heart-to-heart
No. They need to be able to be that sand paper of your life sometimes, you know, where, like we said earlier, just ‘Hey, that’s not right’, you know, ‘That’s not you’
Sort of an extra conscience
Good. So that was the craic about friends
We talked about what the word friend means
In our opinion, what kind of friends we had or do have
How we lost all our friends
But we can… we feel it’s okay or better to end a relationship than continue it