A Tale about pronouns, friendships and cultures

Lately, I’ve noticed how my collectivistic self shines through the language I use, to be precise through the pronouns. No doubt, the German culture is influencing me softly but steadily as one’s identity is a fluid concept which is  always a subject to change.  I do notice these tiny changes happening to my personality, moreover, I am trying to actively balance them. However, what is still very strong in me – and for this I am very glad – is my collectivistic attitude toward people, toward friendships. I don’t want to attribute this characteristic of mine solely to Belarusian culture as other factors like personality type or my mum’s endless warm-heartedness surely also play their role in this. However, I do believe that a lot indeed comes from the culture I was a part of for 20 years.

The times today are very exciting and challenging as my friends and I are finishing our bachelors and thoroughly planning our next moves – our future, to me more precise. We are searching for new apartments, applying for master programs or having internship interviews on a regular basis. Every time we discuss newly sent applications or recently held interviews I say smth like: “All right then, now we will be waiting for an answer”. WE will be waiting. Well, it’s not my application we were talking about and it is not the answer that is going to influence my life. However, I automatically use we as it is not only my friend who is worried about the results, it is me too. I am a part of this tiring but simultaneously thrilling process.

Since I’ve noticed my usage of this word I was trying to reflect on it and think about what meaning I put in it. I realized that the message I send by using this simple word is not merely “I am together with you on this one because I care about you”. We means more. It is power and strength:  YOU and I are together, connected and bound, using all our talents, abilities and inner energy. Together WE can achieve absolutely anything, go through the toughest of times, heal the deepest of wounds, recover from the nastiest of stress and stand against the whole world if needed. WE.
It is such a tiny word with so much meaning in it!

Maybe, I am also subconsciously trying to bound myself to the people I use this word for?(there are only a few of such people,of course). I am used to the fact that I am alone (not lonely!) and completely on my own in this country, and I know I am managing this quite well. However, to have someone on your side who is so close to you that you can refer to this person as  a part of you – this is empowering and inspiring. Probably, I most often use this we while talking to my Belarusian friend, the one who is also completely on her own in this country. As we both are ‘single fighters’ in this new to us world, as we understand each other blindly and see many things similarly, we need to hold together.

By the way, the most heartwarming example of the same usage of we came exactly from this above mentioned Belarusian friend of mine. Some time ago I was about to take an irrational decision. She knew it would not do much good to me, but she also knew that my heart was pleading for it. This is what she told me: “You do whatever you need to and with the consequences WE will deal TOGETHER.” And I did. And WE dealt, long and painfully.

That is friendship. That is the power of WE.


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