This is one of the things that I like about Indonesian language. There are several words we use when referring to friends. There are “teman”, “kawan”, and there is “sahabat”. Every Indonesian knows where the difference lies, although not most people probably have a hard time giving the exact definition.
But that is the way it is. We use the word “teman” very lightly. I want to you meet my “teman”. My high-school “teman”, my work “teman”, etc. But we use “sahabat” very carefully and selectively.
That was what happened to me recently. I was telling a “teman” (or “sahabat”?) about my “sahabat”. And she said, “You must be very close to them.”
Why, I asked. She said, “Because you seldom refer to a person as a “sahabat”.” Much less a group of people. I did not even realise that habit until that moment. That’s true.
But the ones whom I was telling her about were indeed my “sahabat”. My friends for more than fifteen years, who have seen all the changes that I have gone through, my ups and downs, and yet they have stuck around me all these years.
Those who just smile and give a “whatever” look when I am in one of those moods, when I decide to do something odd (which is probably more often that I want to admit).
Those whom I do not have to say anything to to know what is going on in my mind. Sometimes they just give me a pad in the back or just wrap their arms around me. Those who can leisurely say, “My God, you look ugly.”