Friends 'by affinity'

By Tin Bartolome

Posted at Dec 05 2014 09:34 PM | Updated as of Dec 06 2014 05:36 AM

Few people can sense who their real friends are and who are friends “by affinity”. Black’s Law Dictionary says: Affinity is distinguished into three kinds: (1) Direct, or that subsisting between the husband ^ and his wife's relations by blood, or between the wife and the husband's relations by blood; (2) secondary, or that which subsists between the husband and his wife's relations by marriage; (3) collateral, or that which subsists between the husband and the relations of his wife's relations.

I am brave enough to claim that I can distinguish between true friends and friends “by affinity”. The skill is difficult to develop and it would seem like paranoia at first. Yet feelings are never wrong, as my teacher would say, so that if your “gut feel” says it’s fake, then you should be wary and not trust completely. Some goody two-shoes would say that it would be insincere to do so but the instinct of self-preservation is all the justification you need.

A friend “by affinity” would treat you decently and seem like the real thing but when push comes to shove or when they need to choose sides, you cannot count on them to be on yours. Chances are, they will find all sorts of reasons to avoid listening to you or will just keep reminding you of what is positive about their friend (your spouse, actually) without recognizing that you are hurt and that you need to get over hurt feelings first. They will treat everyone else that way, so you are not special enough to listen to. But your real friends would take the time to hold your hand, listen to what you have to say and let you cry your heart out before saying anything. A real friend would put himself or herself in your shoes and be there for you.

Real friends would tell you if your spouse is being unfaithful. Friends “by affinity” would look away or even cover up the unfaithfulness. There is no real friendship with these friends by affinity, because those you have formed bonds with would have already become yours too and would look after your interest as well. In reality, these friends by affinity treat you nicely only because of your relationship with their friend whom they value infinitely more than they value you. Your friendship with them should have grown through the years but there are times when that doesn’t happen, so you actually sense in your guts that nothing has changed and that they are acquaintances at best, nothing more.

Ideally, it matters a lot to nurture and deepen relationships with your spouse’s friends. They are usually next in line after the family. In some instances, they are able to provide insights (and information) that the family cannot or would not. Friends are like “second family” who provide emotional support.

Of course it’s sad when these friends remain your spouse’s alone. There’s nothing much anyone can do about that. After all, we have our own circle of friends who will always be there for us. And this is why it should no longer matter to us at some point— the simple solution is to “drop” them or categorize them as “others” because in the end, you can only build half of the friendship and if they are not willing to build the other half, then it’s pointless. Your status before them remains that way: second class. The only thing you can do is re-categorize THEM and tag them “second class” in your own life!

As with in-laws we are unable to get along with, they remain in-laws, but we keep a distance, because they will always be part of our lives. Friends “by affinity” are the same: they are still friends, but they are not the ones we consider in times of need.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.