How selfies heal feuds among friends

By Cristina DC Pastor

I have seen it happen, the power of selfies to fix – or heal – rifts in friendships.

Two people I know had a shouting match in front of my face. I was a bewildered witness to the hurtful things they’ve said about each other. Several days later, I saw them on Facebook with grinning faces, arms snaked around each other’s waists. I wondered as I stared at the image, ‘What was that about?’ One minute they were North and South Korea, the next they were Bosom Buddies.

I was playing back in my mind what I’ve seen versus what I was reading days later. “OK na kami,” one of them said. The other was annoyed when I asked. “I’m just trying to focus on the positive which is the gift of friendship.”

In an instant, everything was fine. I assumed they hugged and exchanged ‘sorrys’ to each other so that when the cameras flashed, they were tight friends all over again.

Parang walang nangyari. It’s like nothing happened.

It’s a quote I’ve heard over and over. Among FilAms I’ve met, it’s a mental shibboleth that justifies how some of us walk into friendships, sprint out when gossip flies, and run back into each other’s arms in the next community event where selfies run riot. I’m glad when things go well, but I wonder if a friendship that was repaired through iPhone remains as strong as it once was. Maybe the friendship had vigor and was worth saving. Maybe the two people realized they needed each other or that the quarrel was petty enough to begin with.

Disagreements over opinions are easy to deal with, but personal hurts can be intense. We, Filipinos, take offense when our families are criticized (‘She has a good-for-nothing, jobless husband’), our jobs are ridiculed (‘Not another nurse!’) or when someone suggests that we have issues with money (‘She’s not really that rich, they just live in an apartment’).

From my own experience, I know that healing takes time and requires a serious act of contrition. A thousand selfies cannot just put it back on track as if nothing happened. Parang walang nangyari. I know when a quarrel is silly and when it is serious. In cases where I may be at fault, in my mind a justifiable condition, I reach out and make the first move. But in cases where I feel exploited and disrespected, the friendship becomes a baggage. The other person may offer an apology and I may appear to accept, but it won’t ever be the same again. So, I hold grudges, so what?

Someone I know sees the selfie as an act of apology. When an enemy comes over to your side of the group picture and hugs you, locking her arms around your waist, it’s her way of saying ‘I’m no longer angry at you.’ It’s your turn to offer the other cheek.

That’s a good thing to know because selfies are what I know them to be: Images that capture memorable moments in our lives. Any time a friendship is rekindled, at least there’s a record of that in our News Feeds.

© 2017 The FilAm

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