They say ’Friends are the chocolate chips in the cookie of life.’
What an absolutely delightful way to describe friends, the lifelines of our lives, people who can sometimes mean a lot more than our family. They are the ones who add that special touch, that zing to an occasion and make it memorable and meaningful for us.
In the aftermath of ’The Friendship Day,’ I was struck by a number of questions and thoughts about friends which made me think deep and hard about this topic, this relationship.
What is friendship? What is true friendship? Who would we call a friend? What does our choice of friends reveal about us? Can a person’s friend circle change over a period of time or does it have to remain the same? And if it changes what is that change indicative of? A person’s growing up, evolving or fickle mindedness or some kind of a betrayal on his part??
Do friends have to be always together, always be in touch with each other or can they be separated by physical distances and still be there for each other?? And then what about the friendship between the opposite sexes?? Can there be friendship between a man and a woman, a purely platonic friendship??
A lot of food for thought.
To my mind a friend is someone who is there for us at all times, in times of happiness, in times of sorrow, in times when we are down and out, in times when we are on top of the world and definitely in times when the whole world leaves us but not that one friend who is right there, standing by our side. That friend is the one who will never leave us and will always be loyal and faithful to us.
A friend I feel is like a confidante who is privy to the deepest, darkest secrets of our lives but is never likely to judge us or betray us and always has our back. A someone who is there for us no matter how tough the times are.
But that apart a friend is also someone who can point out our mistakes, our flaws and help us to correct them. A friend is someone who is there to support us, protect us but is not so blinded by the friendship that he/ she cannot be objective enough to stop us, to warn us when we are about to do something wrong or even reprimand us when we end up doing something wrong.
Also, I feel that friends need not be totally similar in personalities. They could have interests or goals which brought them together in the first place but they do not have to be clones of each other. They could be diametrically opposite to each other also which I feel would lead them to complement each other. Like they say ’Similarities create friendships while differences hold them together.
What does my choice of friends reveal about me? Is my friend circle a testimony of my social and economic status or of my interests or my occupation or what? While a person’s larger circle of friends may be indicative of any or many of these factors but the inner circle or just that one special friend would have to be more than this to be able to be called a close friend. The close friend has to give that comfort, share that chemistry which all the others cannot do. In order to survive the friendship has to rise above these superficial things and be deeper and meaningful.
And what about a change in the circle of friends? To my mind yes, it can change over time as we grow, as we evolve as people. Two people could be the best of friends at a point in time but with time the closeness may not remain owing to change in the thought process, mental makeup or just a change in perspectives or goals which may just not match any longer. However, though the closeness may not remain but strictly speaking they would continue to remain, friends, unless and until there is a fallout due to a betrayal or a let-down. We may make new friends but there is a certain charm about true friendship which never really goes away.
I also feel that it is not necessary for the two people to be in constant touch with each other to remain friends. They could be physically apart from each other and yet be connected emotionally and mentally to each other. And in times of need just be there for each other. In fact, I think even if there is the option of being in constant touch friends should refrain from falling prey to the temptation of being in each other’s faces all the time because as they say ’ Familiarity breeds contempt’. To avoid such a situation I feel it is essential like in every other relationship to give each other space and freedom.
It is the comfort, the faith in each other which is important and not the physical proximity. Two friends may not speak to each other or meet each other for months on end but if the friendship is true then whenever they do, they should be able to connect from where they had left off. That is friendship as I see it.
And then what about Friendship between a man and a woman? Can it be platonic or does it have to have sexual connotations to it? A million-dollar question. To my mind, friendship between a man and a woman can be purely platonic. It is totally the choice of the two people involved. In fact, I think a man and a woman can be great friends. Yes, I agree that the reason for such a friendship to happen in the first place could be a physical attraction but then so what?? I think a mutual attraction between two people is the reason for many a friendship not necessarily between a man and a woman. And once-friendly the two may choose to remain just platonic friends and not get romantically involved at all. Therefore a man and a woman too can be good friends.
In fact, I have seen many instances where the man and the woman are just great buddies. What is more, such a friendship can be a very enriching experience for both the friends as the fact that one is a man and the other is a woman brings an element of diversity into the relationship which cannot be there in a friendship between two males or two females. The inherent differences between the two can be just the right ingredients for a long-lasting relationship and can go a long way in helping and supporting each other. The fact that one is from Mars and the other is from Venus can give so many insights and perspectives to different situations and circumstances which may be difficult to get from anywhere else. And what more is one looking for in a friend, in a confidante than for the right kind of advice!
Therefore a relationship based on mutual respect, trust, love and unconditional support for each other is what I would call friendship, true friendship.