image by sandeepachetan
What is friendship?
Friends are a family we choose is a well-known cliché. It is however not strictly true. Most of us don’t set out to become friends with someone particular. In my experience, all the valuable friendships I have, were not the ones I set out to cultivate. They just happened. It’s not even that they are with the same type of people, from the same type of background and interest. My friends are spread across continents, across languages, and across age-groups. They are the culmination of all my experiences, yet they are not the definition of it, but an enhancement.
Because to put it simply – friends make the world a better place. When you go somewhere new, whether a new school or a job or a country, life becomes so much more enjoyable when you make friends to share it with. Seneca said:
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.
Don’t we all crave to be understood? I am sure there has been at least once in your life when you have felt lonely in the midst of people, because you felt that no one understands what you are going through. And yet, isn’t that exactly the reverse when you are with your true friends? Friends know us. They know who we are, and love us regardless. They don’t try to change us, or mould us into an image of what we should be – and yet they do push us – they push to be our maximum potential. True friends give both solace and a slap (hopefully metaphorical) as required.
Every friendship is different. It brings its own value to our life. Each friendship also has its duration. Some may last a lifetime, and others may only be for a brief period in your life, but that doesn’t lessen their value.
My very first best friend was a girl I went to school with. We lived in the same area, and went to school in the same rickshaw. That was the basis of our friendship. We were inseparable then, and yet there came a time when we just naturally drifted apart. There was no fight. Nothing significant happened. Our circles changed, and we went off in different directions. I have a sigh of regret at times wishing what if we had never grown apart. Yet, I know that our friendship lasted for as long as it was meant to. Because then, there came new friends, new experiences, new mysteries.
I still have other friends from my young days. Particularly best friends from teenage years. We have been friends now for about 17-18 years. Considering we are all in different countries, and meet infrequently, it is a significant achievement. Whenever I see them, it’s as if we have never been apart. We know one another, and have known one another from teenage years to adulthood, from school to colleges to marriages. Through breakups and falling in love. Through motherhood and divorce. We know each other right at the core, even if we are not often apprised of minute details of one another’s lives.
There are others. Friends who serve different purpose – and yet they did not become a friend for a purpose.They simply became friends because in my life there was a need for them, a void that only they could fill at the time, and perhaps in their life a void that I could fill.
It is not easy to describe any relationship, nor what it means. All I know is that friendship is a mysterious joy. Friends are a treasure, and like all treasures they deserve time and attention. Friendships don’t survive unless both sides make an effort, even if it’s something as small as a letter or a phone call. People often forget to give importance to their friends, when they are busy with their life – with work, spouse and children – and only realise what they have lost, once they have lost it.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
– C. S. Lewis
So today’s post is for friendship and friends. Reach out to friends who mean something to you. Remind them that you care.
What do you think? How valuable is friendship in your life?