Invest carefully in friendships after checking credentials and avoid getting lured into a shallow transactional equation.
At the dinner table I voiced a concern about a certain someone’s upwardly mobile attitude to friendship and an acquaintance piped in with what was to her mind a great qualification in friendship — “But she’s rich.” I nearly choked! I mean is this is the qualification in a friendship today?
My ideas of a friend reverie around aspects of bonding, love and care... one with whom you can share all be it thoughts, experiences, joys, or sorrows. There is an understanding both mental and emotional and a sense of support. Where on earth does the social pecking order or bank balance come into the reckoning? Friendship is an alluring drug — comforting, fun and exciting. A different kind of romance, heady and happening, especially through the ‘honeymoon’ period like when you are enjoying movies, coffee, parties, exchanged confidences together. Then suddenly the not-so-attractive agendas come pouring out. You see the chinks in the armour and the intentions behind the friendship. You were hasty in believing the best and assuming some angel has arrived. We all fall into the alluring trap of a friendship that was never about friendship. It was always about something else. I am often asked if friendship does not exist anymore. That would be a pity, because friendships are more valuable than all the wealth one acquires in life. Indeed, some life stories show that with a true friend by one’s side, whatever tribulations and trials that come by in one’s path, the boat crosses the choppy waters to the other side. A friend would take you for you, with less judgementalism but the ability to give and receive open opinions.
And one day, there comes this person and you bond well. There are all things that make-up friendship and you want to share the moments of joyful bonding. So when does this joyful milk begin souring? When and how did Dr Jekyll change to Mr Hyde? When did the envy, snide remarks and competitiveness that you were in denial of, becomes clear? Why did you begin to feel discomfort and a sense of let-down? You think and go over everything. And then you hit the ‘Eureka’ moment. You saw her as this great friend without going through credentials. This is when you realise that you should have invested carefully avoiding to get lured into a shallow transactional equation. You should have evaluated the friendship before going into it and stayed away from a ‘party friend’ who never ‘dives deep’ because she is only about the ‘good times’. And anyway it is unrealistic to expect friendships that have longevity and integrity to pop up out of the woodwork too often. Some give and take is normal in friendship but when it is all about transaction then you need to stop and take stock of the situation. It is important to take your time and tread with care before getting into intense friendships, because nine times out of ten in our current scenario of pecking orders, it would have been for all the wrong reasons.
The real relationships are when there is nothing to be gained. It is rare and consider yourself lucky if you stumble into a few. Most friendships are about a friend calling in favours, asking for help in your company, asking for an introduction, asking for a job for his friend because he wants to score with a girl. Giving affection, care and love when a person is not rich or famous is rare and special.
If most human beings crave integrity, love, being loved for what you are rather than what you bring to the table then how about working at being a better friend? How about calling a friend without an agenda? Help people more and expect less. Let go of friends who only seek benefits from the association. Very few people are true friends and yes — you are a real and true friend to fewer people than you believe yourself to be. Maybe the world would be less hurtful if people worked at being better friends?
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org