I started writing this more than an year ago. Remember a friendship of mine was ruined and I cried and cried and cried? Through tears and through posts. Booohooo! If I get 1 buck for each time I wrote about that dead friendship, I will probably not even make 10. Well, well. I am not disregarding or downplaying how I felt. Hell, I was heartbroken and devastated and that’s when I started writing this. During that period and after that when I went through some more hardships, I realized who my real friends were. I had to question what was the meaning of friendship, who were my friends, what were my expectations from such a relationship and what was I getting in return? But, somewhere and somehow I abandoned writing it. In the current lockdown situation I was reminded of this again. Being suddenly physically cut off from the world, who did I miss, who did I call and who were the ones I spent my time conversing with?
The highlighted section below was written 9 months ago. A lot has changed since then, including my age. 🙂
A while ago, a very dear friendship of mine came to an end! Ugh! I cried and lamented. Months of trauma and therapy. Oh! The pain, the betrayal, the abandonment! Very few know the whole story. Most don’t. Well, this post isn’t about that. The pain isn’t there anymore. The anger, hell it’s me!! It will always be there. Forgive and forget isn’t exactly my forte. 😛 (You would agree if you knew the story yourself!) And, I don’t think it’s a bad quality. Ok, that’s a topic for another day. But, that whole experience opened my eyes to the friendships I had and the ones I could strengthen and cherish. Like Frank Underwood says in House of Cards, “There are two kinds of pain. One that makes you stronger and the other… is useless.” Luckily, this was the pain that made me stronger. Let’s also thank my therapist. My bank account wasn’t happy but I am. And that’s all that matters!
So, here is my take on the types of friendships we should have. A little mix of popsugar-esque and my own “I am so knowledgeable” rant. But, before we begin, I want you to know that friendship is a two way street. Not my definition! It’s common sense. A relationship where you are not appreciated, loved or even respected isn’t a friendship. No matter what YOU feel about the other or how much fun you have had. No matter how casual the relationship, you aren’t supposed to feel put down, ignored, used, abused etc. No pride, no malice. You get the gist.
Friends are supposed to build you up. We are all made up of white, a lot of grey and little bit of black too. A friend helps us grow emotionally and socially, encouraging the whites, helping the greys and keeps down the blacks. People who bring out the negatives in you are not your friends. Not for long. Not if you want to live a happy and loving life. And honestly, if they were really your friend they wouldn’t encourage what isn’t good for you.
Friends are one of the most important part of our lives. Like they say, you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends, and then some friends are like family. In this day and age, they are becoming one of the most important support system. The shallow and busy lives we all live and the high prominence of nuclear and small families make good friends almost indispensable.
In our lifetime we go through multiple friends. Some stick for life, some stay through specific stretches and some get lost, forgotten or excluded on the way. But no matter what, all of them become a part of our memories. This process doesn’t ever stop. And why should it? At 36 I have made and gone through innumerable friends. Schools, colleges, work spaces and then the big horde of people we meet through our friends. In my case, it’s also people I meet through my travels.
I am living in a city where I didn’t grow up. So, no childhood friends, no family friends, no school buddies, none of that. Of course I have come across and made some great friends, but somewhere the fear still stays. That I don’t have my closest pals with me and someday I will be left with no friends around me.
There will be some unexpected wonderful friendships and some unexpected fall outs. People you never thought to be friends with, might become a huge part of your life and people you thought you were friends for life, will turn into strangers. Most of us have a varied set of friends. One thing common between all is mutual respect. Love and commonality don’t mean much if there isn’t respect. And how can you love someone if you can’t respect them? And how can you not love your friend in some way or another? Here is my list of the types of friends we do and should all have!
- The BFF: I have always shied away from calling anyone my best friend. When I finally took the courage and did so in my 30s, those friendships turned into train wrecks. Clearly, I was having a mid life crisis! 😛 Jokes apart, even if those relationships derailed they showed me who my real friends were. You see, I wrongly believed best friend meant sharing all your secrets. And, I am someone who is very private when it comes to my dreams, desires and feelings. But, that’s not what it is! Best friends are people who love you and accept you for exactly who you are. Someone you can share not just your secrets with, but also your pain. You know, you have to and should share this. It is important for your emotional and mental well being, which in turn affects your physical well being too. Someone who hears you out but doesn’t judge you. That doesn’t mean they are ok with all the stunts you pull! Wrong is wrong and they should tell you that on your face. People unfortunately read loyalty as a support for all that they do. It doesn’t work like that. If you are being an A******, your BFF is supposed to tell you that.
- The any season friends: These are the ones you can lean on at any time. They are usually in your city and you can hang out with them whenever you want. They are great company for when you are happy, sad or need a pick me up. Want to cry? Go drinking? Holiday? Try a new skill? Experiment new skills? Goof around? Rant about work? Ask advice? They are the ones you go to. You can have intelligent conversations with them, your principles and ideologies are almost in sync. Even if you have some differences, they don’t affect your relationship. You can have heart to hearts or even act foolish around each other!
- The old friends: You don’t mind them seeing you in your bed head, pajama clad avatar. These oldies are definitely the good-ies! There is a lot of commonality which breeds comfort. You can revert back to your old simple self and leave behind all the other trauma and tricks you have picked along in later life.
- The “special connection” friends: Sometimes you just make a connection with some. They aren’t your oldest friends, you might or might not have a common circle, but you have a bond that keeps you together and connects you with each other. Usually it’s shared moments, similar life altering, challenging or traumatic experiences that build that bridge. Or just the fact that they were there for you when you had no one else. They are a huge support system and can be the “go to” when you can’t or don’t want to reach out to your usual circle.
- The fun friends: These are exactly that. Fun! Dinners, movies, bars. Go out, have a good time and come back in. No other frills and attachments. You don’t need to spill your heart out. Sometimes, that’s the only thing you have in common. The fun factor. A great outlet for some light hearted moments.
- The younger friend: I have quite a few! They help you with a fresh perspective of things. Your door to new music, art, movies, technology and lingo! It also helps you to learn that you couldn’t have known better, life is a process and everyone learns when it’s the right time for them. How? You advise and try to help but they choose to do the same foolishness you did. 😛
- The older friend: Having an older friend is like having a mentor. Older friends have already ‘been there, done that’, meaning they have plenty of useful knowledge and experience you can tap into. Older friends can help you navigate work life, financial or family difficulties, break-ups and other major life issues because – more likely than not – they’ve already experienced them. Again, it’s a great new way to widen your horizon and interests, observing life from a different point of view. The best part? They aren’t your parents or older siblings so you can share intimate details that you can’t with others!
- The workplace buddies: These are absolutely a boon! One of the main reasons, I lasted as long as I did at my last place of work. Colleagues who eventually become a big part of your daily life and not just because you spend 9 hours and sometimes more together. This leads to increased emotional well being, decreased stress (the post working hours drinks and dinner help), more effective teams, increased productivity, learning new skills. They are still my sounding board when I am trying something new. I learnt so much about technology and other skills that I never had access to before. The workplace friends have been one of the biggest source of my growth and support.
- The ones you can travel with: Ok, these are hard to find. I have loads of friends in every category mentioned above and more. But, travelling for me is almost sacred and there are very few am comfortable doing that with. You should have shared interests and should be comfortable with letting each other do what they want. I follow quite a tight schedule in my daily life. 4 am mornings and 8 p.m. bedtimes, and this is difficult to shake off even when I am on a holiday. So having someone who isn’t waking up till 10 is an absolute no no. Wanting to drink or party every night is a big red flag! It works when they meet me in the middle. Someone who can relax (make me sit down too) and at the same time not be absolutely lazy. Someone who is open to adventures and new experiences. The perfect balance! I am lucky to have found a few.
- The Casual friends: These are all those people you meet at different points in life. You know each other, you clearly don’t hate each other but you don’t exactly keep in touch. In this day and age, you are probably liking and maybe sometimes commenting on each other’s social media posts. They can be a big source of help and access to a wider range of connections when you need. It’s great to once in a while catch up with them, they provide a fresh experience, conversations and a break from the same old scene with your regular group.
No matter the classification, a friend is someone who is loyal, someone who is honest and trustworthy. A true friend is a friend when it is convenient and when it is not. They standby you consistently both when you are present and when you are not. They’re authentic and honest with You. Friends aren’t phony with you. Friends are loyal and accept you for who you are during the good and bad times. Good friends are also honest — honest enough to tell you when you’re not being a good friend yourself.
In the last few years my dynamics with a lot of friendships has changes. Some for the better and some for the worst. But, isn’t the worst also maybe something better for you? The main factor for these changes was honesty and trust. If you can’t trust someone you can’t call them your friends. You might still meet them, care about them when there is need but they cease to be your friend. How can someone who doesn’t have your well being at heart be a friend?
More than trying to figure out if you have the right friends for you, take a look if you are being one yourself.