Came across article in Guardian about “What are friends for?” something in the lines of which I also have been thinking about for some time. I was taking inventory of how many friends I think I have and why I don’t have “best friends”. I seem to have a steady supply of friends but then losing touch with them in the course of this long trip called life and finally becoming just a memory relived once a year accidentally. Around every corner, you find new acquaintance, out of desperation to be in touch with humanity you make them friends, and then they fade away into the jungle of life like somebody departing on a train on a long journey.

Long time ago, when I still hadn’t discovered the “reality” of adult life, I used to think that friendship is the ultimate thing in a sentimental kind of way. Life is sweetly happy when you sit around doing nothing trading joking with them. If you take a joke out that context and repeat to yourself after sometime, it looks so silly, but you have laughed so hard earlier – it is amazing. All my friendships have been based on those silly jokes, is that the reason why none lasted for a long time?

I think there is certain frequency at which each individual operates. When you find somebody with same quality and when your liking is reciprocated, there is a chance of a friendship. Some people can never be friends how much ever time they spend together and some never can be anything more than formal.

In high school, you write pacts in blood that you will never break the friendship and on last day when somebody asks whether I will remember him after 10 years, it seemed so impossible. But I am not in touch with even one of my old school friends for over a decade. Only hint of friendship remaining is from engineering college and those four years have sealed some friendships, which you just cannot seem to break fully. Even those are bound to be worn out after couple of “How are you? How is life? How is work?” and then after a long time just a marriage invitation saying “Hi.. Cordially invite you with family to the auspicious occasion.. Regards..”.
Stories of childhood friendships or lifelong best buddies are just too good to be true.

It may be a cliché, but wise thing to do is not make best friends, then you don’t have to break up, worry about them not paying attention, not sharing their secrets or big news with you first and all that sentimental baggage. Or you don’t have to get conned by some “friends” with whom you seem to have a great time and then come crashing down to earth making you realize once again that there is no such thing.

I totally agree with the notion that friendship is kind of that lightweight relationship where you are not demanding anything and not expecting anything, so anything you get is just a bonus – be it some humorous moments or receptacle for venting some frustration. This relationship does not enter into a level where you start talking about big words like commitment, trust, loyalty and such. As long as everybody understands that and operates within the same guidelines, there is less chance of getting hurt.

Especially when the culture is changing into a “competitive work environment” and “performance based appraisals”, it will be difficult to make friends in office. With friends, we may not end up judging/rating/comparing and jotting down his positives and negatives or think how to outperform - when it gets to that, what you have is no longer called friendship in traditional kind of way. Maybe the ideal times you can enjoy friends is when you are not too much into reality of life (money, job, priorities) and once you have played all the games, get back to take the rest of the life easy. In between, it will only be transient friends.

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