The One Liner Introduction: “This is my friend. S/he is…”

“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’

Last week, I went for a weekend trip to Singapore to watch Yiruma concert with my brother. My brother and I bumped into my friend who was coincidentally there with his family for a weekend trip as well. We exchanged greetings and made simple introductions. This is how his side of the conversation went:

Him: “This is my friend, Jill.
His father: “Oh, does she from University of Manchester too?”
Him: “Yes. *pause* She had the same supervisor as me during final year dissertation project.”

We made small talks and after we parted ways, my brother asked who the guy was. So how do I describe someone I know in a simple one liner conversation? It got me thinking: we are a network of people, connected to one another. Sometimes, we pass each other on the streets, exchanged greetings and be on our merry way. We build impressions with each other without even realising it. Sometimes, even strangers make an impact on our lives.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression. God bless those who see beyond our flaws painted in bold strokes.”
― Nike Thaddeus

I believe that first impressions are not as important as the last. However, that is only true if you meet the person more than once. Sometimes, what is distinctive about them is their attitude, their upbringings or how they treat others. It is something goes far beyond wealth and success.

“She is one of the nicest person I know.”
“You can feel the sincerity in her voice when she speaks.”
“He is the type of person who won’t think twice about helping others, a very nice guy.”
“He is a very realistic person. If he doesn’t think that your friendship will benefit him, he won’t bother.”
“She is very outspoken; once she stood up for a kid who was bullied.”
“I have been friends with him for a long time, but I don’t really know him.”

Sometimes it is the things people do often that defines them

“His favourite phrase is fa gao me.”
“She likes to be the centre of attention by exaggerating her responses.”
“He invented the thanks-thanks hand sign.”
“I don’t think she is aware but she thinks the world revolves around her.”
“She is a very artistic person”
“He introduced me to the gang.”
“She introduced me to Korean dramas and Running man”

When I describe my friends to my parents or my grandmother, we usually address them by the road they live on. Or the car they drive. In a place that used to be a small town, the community is small and somehow everyone knows everyone. Till now, my grandmother sometimes address one of my friend as the girl from No. 4 road. I remember people’s car plate numbers and the car they drive, because that is how I sometimes describe them to my parents or my mutual friends.

“We have been friends for 10 years now.”
“We go to the same primary school and lost contact for 14 years”
“She is my flatmate.”
“He drive the yellow Myvi”
“She lives just across the road.”

…or who s/he is related to:

“He is A’s boyfriend, and also B’s ex-boyfriend.”
“He is C’s brother.”
“Her sister is our junior. Yes, the pretty one.”
“His mother works in the bank, as a CEO”
“His father was a retiree that reenter the company”

Or the sad things I once said, or heard:

“I’m not a fan of her.”
“She is someone I used to be friends with.”
“He broke my heart.”
“She is from a broken family. Her father has a mistress and her mother doesn’t care about her”
“She was from our batch but she drop out of school before SPM.”
“I knew her. She passed away few years ago from cancer.”
“I knew of him. But we never spoke.”

We describe people based on a lot of things: attitude, wealth, background or appearance. We build impressions with each other without even realising it. Perhaps I have made an impact on someone’s life, perhaps I am just a shadow. I don’t know what phrases people will use to describe me  but I hope that one would say something like:

“I’m glad I know her; my life would be different without her.”


3 thoughts on “The One Liner Introduction: “This is my friend. S/he is…”

  1. Jenni says:

    Fascinating, I’ve never really thought about it before but you’re right. We do have little ways that describe friends to other friends or to our family. Hmmm I’m going to think about what I say now.

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