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[Best Friends Forever] Unlikely beginnings

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I was having a conversation with a close friend of mine one day and we drifted into the topic of how we became friends. I remember not having the best impression of her. We were in the same orientation group for our first year in secondary school and our first conversation consisted of me asking her a whole list of ice-breaking questions and her replying with “yes” or “no.”

I recall walking out of that conversation telling myself that this girl was weird and that there was no way we were going to be friends. Fast-forward eight years later and here we are, reminiscing and chuckling over our first disastrous conversation. But that is how friendship works, isn’t it? It sprouts out of nowhere and people who do not seem to fit together strangely end up thick as thieves.

In Just Between Lovers, Gang-doo is just an average laborer with a haunting backstory who carries around a huge weight on his shoulders. The mall collapse robbed him of his father and his dream, and with nowhere to turn, he somehow found himself a friend in his creditor. What makes the story even more interesting is that his creditor is an elderly grandmother who sells medication without a license—truly a pair of misfits and an unexpected friendship. When I started watching this show, I never thought that these characters would grow on me so much. What is so precious about this pair is how the grandmother nudges Gang-doo into the right direction through her brash manners, keeping him rooted.

And that is what friends do—keep your head straight and point out when you are being a silly fool. In Because This Life Is Our First, Se-hee and Sang-gu have such contrasting personalities that any onlooker would wonder how their friendship works. Sang-gu is extroverted and voices his opinions while Se-hee is introverted and tends to keep things to himself. What binds them together and allows their friendship to work so well is how they understand each other without the other saying much. Yet they also know when to voice their opinions and give each other advice.

The Buam-dong Revenge Club members are also an unlikely bunch of friends—three ajummas and a high school kid do not sound like a typical friendship, but it works marvelously. Though it was born out of highly unusual circumstances (revenge ain’t a very pretty way to start a friendship), their differences bound them together and they found comfort and strength in it. In one of the earlier scenes when the ajummas were plotting revenge against the principal for sexually harassing Do-hee’s daughter, a series of events prevented them from executing the act. However, Soo-gyum managed to use his skills to pull off the stunt, achieving a very satisfactory scene of the evil principal having the runs and embarrassing himself in front of everyone. People would have thought that this arrangement wouldn’t work, but it is the very fact that these individuals came from such contrasting backgrounds that they were able to fill the void in each other’s lives.

I used to think that the ideal friendship is forged between a few like-minded individuals and looked out for people who are similar to me in new environments. However, I have realized that my closest friends are actually people starkly different from me that I never would have imagined befriending from the get-go. Maybe it’s because we have such different perspectives that we manage to complement each other and introduce such varying ideas that provide topics for great discussion.

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Friendships are not always smooth sailing, and I’m glad that this is reflected in dramas as well. The little quibbles, misunderstandings, and stepping on each other’s toes is what allows a friendship to grow to the next level. It is essential in allowing the characters to understand mutual respect and develop alongside each other.

The beauty of every relationship is not how perfect it is, but how despite the imperfections, the individual is able to overlook it because they treasure the bond that has been forged over time. Here’s to all the sweet human beings who make our Mondays more bearable, bad days a little bit brighter, and good days even better. We also call these humans a fancier term—friends.

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