Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Philosophy of Friendship

Sounds like a crude metaphor, but friendship is like an investment. If you can invest your time, emotions, efforts and thoughts, you will reap a lifetime of support, companionship and fun.

For those who don’t know me, let me tell you, that I have been a GIANT of an investor in this sector. Friends have often meant more to me than family.
Millions of people have zillions of theories on friendships. In the years and years I have inhabited the Earth (yes, I have started using anti-wrinkle creams and hair colouring will soon be a need, not a want), I have seen my own philosophy of friendship changing quite drastically. It started off as pretty simple. A friend is someone I can have a good time with.
I met people who can keep me entertained through a tsunami of troubles. They are gems in their own right...and it is such a delight just to be with them. Funnily enough, I can laugh with them but can never trust them with my innermost thoughts/beliefs. Whether it is the comfort level, the fear of being judged /misunderstood, or the sheer lack of “attachment” in the relationship....I do not know.
Obviously, I realised that there was something missing...and it was time to modify my philosophy to: A friend is someone I can have a good time with...and someone I can open my heart to.

I have people who I can be completely honest with. No problems opening my heart (and untying a few of my arteries even) in front of them. But I wouldn’t really call them my friends. Some are aunts or cousins or family members who have assumed the roles of mentors or well-wishers. Many would argue that these people are “friends”...just like a “mother” or a “sister” can be a person’s best friend. But my definition of a friend also pre-supposes the fact that I “chose” the person to be my friend, from a thousand other options. Family is not a matter of choice really....
So I added another frill: A friend is someone I can have a good time with... someone I can open my heart to...and someone I chose among the rest.

Every person, I believe, has a pattern in their friendships. Call it my unfulfilled desires to be a philosopher or a French filmmaker, but I do believe that every person goes through a friendship lifecycle/pattern, which is typical of that person. We may not be aware of the pattern...but if we give it a thought, it isn’t hard to identify.
Mine is something like this:
Meet a person> Like or dislike immediately> If dislike, keep a mental distance/a degree of detachment from the very start>If like, invest all I have got...and open my heart (and arteries) to them, almost on the way back home from the first meeting. And THAT is the root of all troubles. Because, with time, I realise that the person is far from what my initial instincts were. More often than not, the Red Riding Hood turns out to be the Wolf himself...and I wallow in self-pity and self-criticism at being so naive.

After some bitter experiences, I decided to polish my theory yet again. A true friend is someone I can have a good time with... someone I can open my heart to...someone I chose among the rest...and someone who stands the test of time.

I thought this was a pretty robust theory that I could carry to my retirement home. But no. After a few years away from family and childhood friends, living amidst peer pressure, jealousy, competition and general nastiness, a funny thought descended. A friend is someone who you can share your joy with, almost to the point of being shameless. Need an example? OK, you buy a shiny new car...or get a promotion, you should be able to run to the friend and “show off” almost in a child-like way. No maliciousness in that “showing off”, mind you. Just the sheer joy and excitement that bubbles up from your stomach and lands straight on to a friend’s hug. If you have to hold back, or think about the consequences or rehearse your actions/words when sharing good news, you are not really dealing with a friend. At the cost of sounding strange, let me make a confession. I have no inhibition sharing my sorrows/troubles with people. Most people will be secretly happy at other people’s sorrow...which is why I don’t mind spreading some joy by sharing my grief. But when it comes to joy, I am cautious (quite opposite to the norm I think).Because I believe that only a true friend can be genuinely happy for your happiness.

So, here I am, with what looks like an epic of a statement:
A true friend is someone I can have a good time with... someone I can open my heart to... someone I chose among the rest...someone who stands the test of time...and someone I can share my joys with.

P.S. If I revise this yet again, will keep you in the loop. Or maybe not. Where’s the fun in living life by the book, even if the book was your own writing? So girls and boys, go give your friends a hug...or call them to say how much you miss them...or invite them over for a cuppa and some gossip...or send them a handmade card...or visit them with a flower from your garden....or pack your bags and get away for the weekend...or simply go through your photo album and remember them fondly. Whatever you do, don’t forget to tell me about it (or tell me if you have some philosophy yourself). I’ll come back with my cuppa to read every word you write...


Madmax said...

Isn't this a reflection of man's eternal 'search' ? In this case trying to search for a 'true' friend, as well do .. At least you can still relate to your chums from school. I can't even do that. And somehow don't feel the urge to, as well. Somehow I feel that I have moved 'away' to another horizon which they will not be able to relate to either ...

Sound Horn Please said...

Thanks for the compliment on the trays Scribbler :)

Scribbler :) said...

@Madmax - I know what you mean. Many of my friends here, say the same...that they cannot connect with their childhood friends anymore, because the lifestyle is so different...and being seven seas away doesn't help either.
But I have a fav bunch of friends back home and I still can relate to them (thank god). Would be really sad the day I lost that.

Scribbler :) said...

You are welcome, Divya. You do have a nice blog :)

GB said...

I have always believed in the "share your joys with" part---I love how you've written it up! :)