By: Engy Mohamed We all wish to have someone who is irrevocably loyal; someone who drops everything just to ask us how our day went and attentively listen to our constant ramblings regardless of how silly they might get, but do such people even exist these days? Well, here’s why they’re on the verge of extinction. In such a fast-paced world like the one we live in today, everyone has a million stories to tell to the very few people who actually want to listen to them; most of us are just waiting for our turn to speak. Unfortunately, the truth is that we excel at the art of complaining about the world while doing absolutely nothing to fix it. We often tend to forget that to be heard, we have to listen first. So maybe the reason why no one wants to listen is because we’re all searching for someone to be there for us, rather than being that person for someone else. I chose a very close friend of mine to talk to about this, especially because she is one of those people who would jump to anyone’s aid without question no matter the circumstances. She is defined by her very well-liked, positive and fun-loving persona, and yet when things grew difficult, she realized people were starting to keep their distance. After her mother was diagnosed with a serious illness, it became increasingly difficult for her to keep her composure. She was in no state to entertain people, no matter how hard she tried. She soon realized that nobody really wanted to listen to her talk about her problems because they’ve grown accustomed to her listening to theirs. So when the tables were turned and push came to shove, things began to change.

“You know those really overrated quotes about people leaving you once things get tough? It’s all mind-numbingly, excruciatingly true, and I learned that the hard way”

Maybe we forget sometimes that happy people can lead sad lives, but because we’re used to them being the highlight of our gloomy days, we are taken aback when this ceases to be the case. Yet it remains absurd to me how the people who deserve the most out of this world end up getting kicked to the curb when they need at least half the support they constantly supply. Perhaps this is the con to doing things without expecting anything in return, because more often than not, 'nothing' is what you get. Nonetheless, this is no excuse to therefore always ask for something in return, because that’s not really the magical solution, is it? Because therein lies a better answer, and that is to reciprocate in the same, mutual manner. The truth is that just because someone does something out of love does not mean there is no room for giving back. Then again, people say that blood is thicker than water; that friends may come and go but family is here to stay, yet Nour* had something different to say…

“The biggest shock to me was the way my family reacted to what we’re going through. I genuinely expected them to be there for us in ways that our friends could not, but the truth is that blood is not as strong of a connection as everyone thinks it is”

It turned out that a fair number of family members were more concerned with their own trivial problems than what Nour was going through. Sure, perhaps it may seem like there is not much to do to help in that sort of situation sometimes, but so many people disregard the power of listening. It is true that we can’t do much to escape the inevitable, but we can always talk about it. Being the admirably positive person that she is, however; Nour shares an important lesson she learned from this difficult time in her life:

 “Forever may seem like a reality, but as reality hits, watch out for who stays during the storm and who rushes back when it’s sunny again...”

She then ended the conversation saying: “Enough about me, how are you doing?”   *Name was changed for privacy.