Who are your friends, really?

From the very beginning of our childhood, when we are introduced into the realm of social life so to speak, we tend to identify with certain people. When we are first dropped off by our parents to school at the tender age of two-and-a-half or three years, once we stop feeling hysterical at the thought of leaving the security found with our parents, we tend to start forming groups of friends with kids who at first seem as lost as we are. Back then our  thought processes didn’t work on overdrive to identify and label who would be good for you as a friend and who would not. We just tend to move around with the kid or kids who tend to do the things that we also like to do and who doesn’t make you feel left out.

Some might not be so lucky even at their tender age in making friends. Children who are brought up cosseted and loved to the extent that they feel smothered, tend to isolate themselves from forming these important social ties at the beginning of their lives. Others who may be facing some sort of abuse, whether it be verbal or physical, tend to keep to themselves or based on the amount of aggressive behavior they show, tend to be left alone.

Once we start to  grow up, the trend with the girls seem to be on forming emotional and deep bonds with their friends. A best friend is a must for each girl and these best friends tend to want to spend a lot of time with each other. Going for sleep overs or talking on the phone endlessly on mundane topics seem to bring the girls closer to one another. But as with everything else distinctive between men and women, boys do not seem to see it important that they have a ‘best friend’ so to speak, but rather hang out out in groups of boys who of course love nothing better  than terrorizing the girls in class.

However, as we grow older, friendship becomes something a  bit more important. Guys too start to have someone close, whom they consider to be someone they can share stuff with, and girls of course take it to a level further. There is nothing hidden from your best pal, nothing you both can’t talk about, whether it be boy trouble or woes at home. Few of these friendships survive once they part ways on their journeys towards adulthood. Furthermore, it takes a lot of effort to invest in building and maintaining this sort of friendship over the years.

One factor that would definitely cause problems would be the changes that each go through during their adulthood. Experiences that each individual goes through shapes them up, and in the end, someone whom you have considered to be the closest person to you on this earth might not appeal to you in the same way anymore. The relationships that we enter into, marriage and family life in the end interfere as well. Someone with whom you might have considered to be the best of your friend might now just be someone you pass on the road and nod a hello at.

I too have had my share of ‘best friends’ so to speak and faced my fair share of disappointments with them throughout my life. Expecting them to understand me, when I have grown in so many ways and spending a lot of time away from them have taken a toll on our friendships. At moments where I feel a profound sense of loss on not having someone close to share the mundane gossipy details of life with, I remember something my dad always admonished us with. Friends they come and go, but family they always stay with you. And I guess I have realized the truth of that statement time and time again, when time and time again, family always triumphs over those acquaintances I made throughout my school life and keep on making in my professional life by always being there for me at my times of need, to hold my hand at my times of grief, with a word of encouragement or two before I even realize I am in need of one, and to share the joys of my life no matter how far and in between they might come.