Navigating Lost Bros

By Abdul Qayyum (17A01B)
Featured Image by Janelle Tan Ee Ling (17S06K)

“People change” is a statement of advice so frequently lamented by seniors to juniors when asked “what’s it like in JC?” Being a completely foreign arena to most of us, JC has undoubtedly led to unforeseen developments to one’s identity.

For instance, it took only a few months in JC to expose some of our peers as closet magicians: one minute they’re there, bantering with you and your classmates, but if you blink for just a second, you would find that they’ve vanished. Further research would have you find out that these disappearing acts were in fact part of an elaborate plan to excuse themselves from your squad to be with a certain special someone.

Now, you feel torn. Confused. Angry. Why would our friend ditch us? We’ve known each other for four years, and now they’ve left us to go and frolic in the fields of love with someone they’ve met for 2 weeks. And so for the next time you see them with the person they left you for, you whip out your smartphone, turn on snapchat, capture that moment of treachery and betrayal, and fix up a black and white filter to compliment your caption, “LostBro”.

Despite the name, it should be noted that this Lost Bro syndrome is not exclusive to one gender. In fact, regardless of how we choose to identify ourselves, many of us have seen friends drift away into delusion.

This social phenomenon has fostered more friction than friendship. Hence, if you find yourself falling victim to these vanishing phantoms, you need to be upfront about it. Schedule a convenient timeslot and sit yourself with them on those cozy canteen umbrella tables, and talk.

Let those emotions of anguish and betrayal befall onto them. Slap them with reality and remind them that you exist. Be honest. These lost bros need to know that they are lost, and that their absence has abrased you.

However, honesty should come with fairness. The poor lost bro should not be subjected to a one-sided spouting of acute accusations. This is where two-way communication will benefit both parties. As with most things in life, the lost bro is lost for a reason. And you, as a friend, should learn those reasons.

Understand the situation. And if those reasons are polluted with delusion and disillusionment, proceed to another round of reality checks. Some people perceive connection in the most insignificant of events, allowing themselves to think there is love where there is none (a midnight whatsapp conversation or a birthday dedication on Instagram does not equate to love).

Sometimes those reasons prove to be rational, bannering the conflict as nothing more than a misunderstanding. This usually happens if your bro treasures their significant other just as much they treasure you. If seeing your bro happy makes you happy, smile, knowing that your friendship is far from faltering, and work towards a compromise.

Compromises, of course, should always be agreeable to both parties. Lost bros should always spend enough time with their old friends, while juggling time with new ones. There should never be any cutting of ties, and both need to put in effort into maintaining the friendship.

The “lost bros” themselves should not be too caught up with their love life such that they abandon their old friends too quickly. Like the victims, they should similarly be upfront, this time about their other relationship commitments. In the event that they need to leave, they should explain the rationale of their actions so that their friends can understand and not feel betrayed. Even stitches can’t fix wounds made by unexplained ditches.

Perhaps the biggest oh-no in any lost bro situation is lying. The “lost bros” should never lie to their friends. As top mates, friends will always try to understand one another’s situation, although a little adjustment is always needed. Dishonesty and deceit will only create friction within existing relationships. And if you are victim to such deceit, maybe it’s time to find better friends.

When asked about what to do when bros become lost, many resort to indifference. Their attitudes centre around going with the flow, for friends come and go, and only the best ones will stick around no matter what. Basically, just sit back, relax, and see who’s left.

Personally, I don’t think doing nothing should be the right approach. Relationships ties stay taut and tight because the people in them are willing to put in effort to commit. Don’t ever leave the relationship between you and the lost bro to disintegrate, because it will. Stick close and put in effort into maintaining that relationship. Ignorance here will not leave you blissed. Rather, it will leave both pissed while the monumental friendship built upon meaningful experiences comes crumbling down.

To summarize to the lost bros out there, don’t go too far into 2 week relationships in replacement of friendships forged for over 4 years. Take it one step at a time. And in the event that you do feel that time with this special someone is beautiful and beyond precious, tell us. Be frank with us. We will understand.

And to those whose bros are lost, you know them best. If they are lost because they are hallucinating a better world without you, grab a piece of rope and pull that sinking ship back to shore. But if that ship is fully functional and sailing, speak to them. Be frank with them. Understand them. Because that bro ain’t lost, they probably are where they are meant to be.

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