This kind of article should not even be written in the first place. But I would like to point out to some readers who might take this to offence, that this is purely my opinion to what I have experienced, and should not be using this article as a guideline to what you will define friendship.
I only came to hear of this incident this year, and the best event possible in my life: my birthday. In the buildup towards this otherwise wonderful event, is some dark and sad conclusion that makes me realize that some whom I considered friends, long-time friends, or worst still, my closest buddies, are not what they seem to be.
I was pleasantly surprised to know the kind of present I was to receive this year: a complementary ticket to watch a fabulous show in one of the new theatre in a posh resort in Singapore, and (Oh my gosh!) a night stay at the resort, plus party! I was really shocked, though I must say I am very happy to hear of it, I thought it was just way too extravagant. I rely this to a couple of my close friends who organize this. I told them it’s just too much, and I do not mind to pay a part of it. They just smiled and tell me, I do not need to do that. I contest that it must be very expensive for everyone, and I started to count the people involved, and I concluded about seven of them paying.
My ‘parasite’ buddy, let’s call her Hmm, gave me a sad smile, and inform me that only five people will be paying, though it be a party of nine to ten, inclusive of myself. I enquired more, and she tried to dissuade the matter. I told her, it must be due to the cost, knowing we have some who are not well off to afford it.
I cannot say I am a high earner myself, but I was able to manage my finance well enough, to save up some for my future, and it does include some indulgence along the way. I am a breadwinner, and I have to maintain the house, the car, school fees, and my own personal expenditure. I do not ask for pocket money because there is no one to ask from. But I am sure I can set aside about a hundred for this, if I re-calculate my pay properly.
Hmm told me that the other two are not going to pay for this, but just because we have been friends since school time, and considered to be quite close, she is willing to pay more an ask them to come. I conceded defeat. But I wondered on the number of attendees. Hmm informed me that the other two, are the partners of theirs, thus it makes four. This got me thinking: were they just asking for too much, trying to sneak a free piece of cake, or in this case, two?
I told her it is not fair. They cannot pay, it is fine. I am willing to pay some parts of it, no matter how big or small. I will give what I can, so it may lessen the burden. But to not contribute even a little, and in addition to bring on more people to enjoy the charity; I personally feel it is unjustified, plain free-loaders. Hmm say this is the only way to meet up, gather and have some enjoyment. I wondered how they are going to enjoy themselves, guilt free, and being a free-loader with benefits. I happen to also found out that one of the guys paying is a full-time student. If you are a working adult, though you may not earn much, but you are taking a paycheck. What about the student, who is on study loan, does not work, earns only a study allowance, but is able to contribute to a gathering event? It is a shame.
What is my definition of friend? It is not the money; it is the inner self of the person. I am not well to do; I have loans to repay for the next two to three years. But I will contribute to a gathering if needed, in my best means. I will just re-finance and tighten my pocket the rest of the month. I do not encourage free-loading. If I cannot pay, I jolly well contribute in other ways well within my means. An example, if I was treated for the lunch or dinner, I will pay for the desert, or the parking fee or fuel. There is no price tag, but it makes me feel better, and less guilty. The same goes for a date. My partner pays for the ticket; I pay for the meal, or the snack. I feel that there should be a balance to giving and taking. I was given a gift; I make sure I will return the favor in kind. This form of teaching is found in every kind of faith and religion, and it is a balance of karma.
As spoken by the few well-known influential people in Singapore, nothing is given freely, everything comes with a price. It is your choice to pick your tags properly, and pay the price.
I will pay a price to balance my gift.