One of the worst insults a friend can throw at you is supposed to be “You’ve changed!” Somehow this statement is uttered with a sense of betrayal and almost always inspired defensiveness in the accussee.

But what’s so wrong with change? Isn’t change natural?

Of course, the implication is “for the worse” but isn’t that only perceptual?

I’ll admit there are parts of me that have changed. I used to be quite awkward, anti-social and lacking in confidence through school and a large part of college. I functioned confidently only among small groups of people I knew really well. Actually, this is still the case.

But somewhere down the line I discovered I could be attractive. The minute you discover you are attractive you become even more attractive. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I also discovered that pointless social chatter of the how-are-you variety, which I believed to be too braindead to be bothered with, had its uses. It got a conversation going. I could still try to keep a conversation real by not continuing endlessly with platitudes – and this keeping-it-real strategy works very well because it surprises people to get honest answers to questions like how-are-you.

I realised that honesty is not always the best policy and sometimes one has to keep one’s mouth shut (very hard for me), dissemble or outright lie.

I also realised it didn’t matter if I looked like Ally McBeal while dancing. As long as I enjoyed it.

Suddenly I was Miss Popularity. Well, not quite. Kind of.

There are, however, parts of me that have not changed. I remain cynical and idealistic at the same time (maybe cynical because I’m idealistic?). I like to argue (though I don’t play devil’s advocate so much). I think therefore I am. I am essentially a blunt person and find it hard to lie (except in work settings where I’m getting better).

I have many people who I have been friends with for ages who have known me through the changes and do not see them as problematic. I can also see changes in these friends from when I used to know them in school or college and while the changes register, I accept them for who they (now) are. We do not keep reminding each other who we used to be except in the occasional joking reference.

I also have friends who have made conscious lifestyle changes that have changed drastically but who expect me to remain the same. Instead of being accused of “having changed” I find myself in the uncomfortable opposite position – of being presumed to have not changed at all.