Upon finding out that someone from our small group would be having his wedding dinner in a neighbouring country up north in six weeks’ time, the group of friends did these things:
1. Invited themselves to the dinner, making light of the travel upcountry (they mentally started to rearrange busy and lucrative Saturday work schedules, thought nothing of the seven-hour road trip up north)
2. Impressed upon the husband-to-be that this once-in-a-lifetime event was not to be gotten over and done with
3. Insisted he wear a suit, even if his guests chose to wear denim, because it was his wedding
4. Encouraged the hire of a professional photographer to capture the significance of the evening with all the ceremonies which accompany such Chinese weddings, and
5. Reminded him that a thank-you speech by the groom was one good way of publicly honouring his and her parents
The excitement at the dinner table rose to the extent that someone close to the man about to get married also saw fit to appoint himself as the best man.
It wasn’t the groom’s fault. Upon close questioning, his friends found out he didn’t formally send out invitations because he didn’t want them to feel obliged to attend so inconvenient an event.
But good friends see things from a different angle. They want to share in a friend’s happiness so badly they elbow their way in, charmingly, of course, knowing that such events are so momentous in a person’s life that it cries out for their presence because it is our creed that our lives are knitted together, whether you like it or not, and all the more if it means giving up one’s full Saturday of work and commitments.
I hope my friend’s definition of ‘friend’ was squashed and redefined in the light of what happened over dinner.
Good friends can be demanding that way.