Friends v/s "Friends" v/s Ffrriieennddss

By Kalamwali in Experiences
Updated 12:03 IST Jul 23, 2017

Views » 777 | 4 min read

“She’s not my friend anymore”, said my six-year-old daughter with a grumpy face. I wanted to laugh at that bundle of entertainment but controlled myself, knowing what a calamity it was in her life. She was talking about a girl in her class and some conversation between them that made their ‘friendship’ go kaput.

How? I thought, did six-year olds know whom to be friends with, whom to no longer be friends with. So, I asked her casually, “S, what do you mean when you say, he/she is my friend”? She gave me a ‘what a silly question mom’ kind of a look and said, it’s so simple. Friends always play together, do not fight, invite each other, share food and sit next to each other.

“Ahh”! I said as I watched her get distracted with something and resume playing. As an adult, I had almost forgotten what friendship actually meant. Don’t judge me. I have a lot of friends. 1300 to be precise according to Facebook. But how many of these really matched my child’s definition of friendship?

The Kalamwali in me, seldom shuts up. And hence, I started to solve the difference between her definition and my understanding of it. (I have a terrible habit of solving everything. Especially situations and sometime even jokes. Yes, I solve jokes). After half an hour of thinking and contemplating, I had a clear picture (well almost) in my head. In today’s time, we all have three categories of friends.

1) Friends (on Social Media)-
Thanks to a certain Mr. Orkut and then a Mr. Zuckerberg, the definition of friendship has been rewritten in the past decade and a half. It’s become as simple as, adding/accepting a person, religiously liking all their photos and posts and judging the person in private for his/her lifestyle. We are all friends of each other without being friends with each other.

2) Friends we think we care about but we aren’t sure if we really do-
These are typically the people in our social circle. Whom we meet, interact with, exchange opinions with (strictly biased ones) and make plans with. These are mostly inherited set of people. Either through family relations or through our partners (husband’s friend’s wives, wife’s friend’s husbands) or our children (school moms/class moms). We could develop a true bond with 10-20% of them, but the rest are just to keep mobile phones buzzing and weekends busy.

3) Unconditionally friends- It’s humanly impossible to have more than 5 of these at any given point in life. I have 4. Not more, not less. These are the people who go beyond definitions and descriptions. In my opinion, they should be called something else because “friends” is an immensely over abused term which doesn’t do justice to this category of people. These kind of bonds and relationships are unconditional. There are so many out there who might never have experienced these kinds of bonds but trust me, they exist. You don’t talk about them, you don’t show off on them. You value them, protect them and nurture them. They are what you’ve earned as a human.

Apart from these three main categories, there’s also a fourth one. Toxic friends- yes, they are friends but they are not friends. They are toxic. They leave you feeling disturbed without fighting with you. They typically feel happy when you are sad and sad when you are happy. As you read this, you will visualise your set of Toxic friends. Everyone is surrounded by them.

Just when I was engrossed categorising my ‘friends’, my child disturbed my thought by showing me a small card she had made. It read, “Dear Mom, you are my best frend (friend)” it was full of pink and purple hearts and butterflies. Upon seeing it, I forgot all my wisdom, all the categorisation and all the solutions. I said, “you are my best friend too S” and hugged her tight. I was wrong, I don’t have just four, but five unconditional friends.

- Kalamwali

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Sunanda Kesavadas 27-Jul-2017 15:29

Very true. Nice categorization as well. I have a few friends and several acquaintances and then one or two people outside the family who, as you rightly say, should not be put into the friends bracket because they are way beyond that.

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