What is friendship really?
When computers first came to our school and we were asked to use a printer, this is what I printed out. I guess friendship meant much more to me then than now.
I remember when in school, I was very particular about having only good people (whatever that means) as my friends, wanting to surround myself with the likes of myself lest I would be directed towards distractions from studies or the lesser important things like falling for boys, dancing around or wasting time pining away at men, handsome teachers, boy bands or just daydreaming. So I thought. I was therefore a studious child, serious and arrogant, and often with my own set of friends. Since I was the class monitor and school prefect, I grew to become confident but also dictating and controlling, and a sucker for good habits and manners, silence and performance. I was stupid to fall for what school turned me into, but I don’t know how I could have done it differently, and I’m not all that against how it influenced me either.
Over the years however I have moulded myself into a better person and am trying every year to do better and learn more about life and people (I would like to believe so). But yes, some things since school have still stuck around, either because things take time, or because it’s okay to have them.
However, one of the things that have changed drastically since school is my set of friends. In fact I don’t have a set anymore, or no friends at all.
In school, I got excited when Friendship Day came around, so I could wrap little gifts and give them off with hand-made cards. I’d write long letters during the winter vacation to some of the ‘best’ and ‘true’ friends I had (wonder where and what that concept of best and true friends ever meant!). I exchanged little presents and cards on every other occasion, nibbles during class. And then finally before we passed out of school, I took their photographs, messages in the ‘slam book’ and contact numbers and addresses with the hope to stay in touch. But then Life happens right! Those days weren’t of mobile phones or smartphones with wonderful networking apps. We all lost touch and drifted apart- some to other cities. While those that found themselves in the same cities managed to stay in touch, I went further away to another city with just one other friend (who I am still friends with even today). With every passing year, I lost touch with more friends. I grew into someone who chose to spoke less, more determined and career oriented. I would remember each of the school mates in my mind, wondered where they were, how they were doing and if they remembered me, but never found myself wanting to actually speak to them. In my mind they were always there, but somehow I preferred not to call or message, and if I didn’t have their number, I didn’t go out of the way to look for it either. That’s just how I was during that phase in my life.
I went abroad and lost the few I had, but made some new ones. Life is strange because sometimes you don’t need to try so hard to make friends or to remain friends. For someone like me who is really bad at keeping in touch and sharing with people, I make good friends with those who push me to stay in touch. And come on, I mean I don’t ignore their calls or messages when they do! It’s just that somehow I don’t consciously remember to do so. Thanks to social media though, I do manage to bring myself to leave a Hi here and there once in a while, and fortunately, today the few that I have managed to stay friends with are the ones who identify with my behaviour of being lost for long intervals and don’t mind it, and can yet catch up like it was just yesterday without a slight hitch. I guess that’s why Life lets us choose friendships carefully over years of time. I drifted away with one of the ‘best’ friends I had at school, and I chose not to acknowledge the relationship as much anymore because it has gotten awkward. Some friendships don’t last, and we eventually move on, becoming a part of another conversation with somebody else or just another on the Friend list. I accept- Many a times I am responsible for losing out on my friends because I don’t really make efforts and am bad at communication, but I also like to believe that friendship, is also like any other relationship- Both need to appreciate and make efforts. Opposites can be fun but may not last forever. And then, I may need a friend for different reasons, and not just to have fun, more like having networks and connections for purpose.
I’m not lonely though. I have a few I can count on, who I chat and laugh with, who I send greetings and gifts too, but they aren’t the friendships that were defined when in school- selfless bonding, sharing joy and tears, laughter and fights, food and clothes, gossips and giggles, adventures and serious talks, et al. There’s only one person who I have been able to do a major part of all that together with and that is my sister. She has been able to be my friend in the true sense may be because we’ve practically lived around for most of the time together and even though she has seen me grow and change as a person every year, she has never been judgemental about anything with me and has in fact always been ‘there’ when I needed.
Today, I feel as though I may have lost on understanding and creating friendships because there’s not one name I would die for or who would probably do the same for me. I am practical enough to believe that we should not expect such anyway. Isn’t it too much to expect from someone to be there for you when you should actually be strong and responsible enough for yourself first? In the end, everybody just gets busy with life, get married and have children to take care of, and will probably make new friends who also have families to take care of, and you’re either going to be forgotten or just another ‘formality’ Hi friend. Only few would remain to make longer conversations, either who are nearby or close enough to want to try to stay in touch, and I think that’s okay and expected.
I don’t crave for company either; I’m someone whose quite content being by myself but I’m also the one quick to catch up on train conversations and willing to talk to strangers.
You may think it’s sad that I don’t have ‘such’ friends, and I could blame it on time, distance, my demeanour or fate, but I’m hoping Life will tell who will be around for me and who I would be for another. I’d be happy even if I have one then, as long as there’s reason and hope.
I know the real meaning of friendship today, but I don’t share it with any of my friends.