Friendship Matters

Friendship used to be such a powerful word that calling someone ‘My friend’ meant there flourished a very strong personal bond between the two. It meant that the other person was so reliable that one could comfortably peel off all the veils of the heart and share & discuss about even the most intimate of secrets, without an iota of a doubt about the other person’s capacity to keep those shared secrets safely in the lockers of his/her mind & heart. One could be absolutely sure that next morning every third person would not be privy to the exchange of secret details between ‘friends’. That meant that one could honestly seek sincere advice & valuable suggestions from the friend without in any way losing one’s face & self esteem. It also meant that in the event of a bad patch in life one could lean on someone’s shoulders to shed a tear or two to unburden oneself without appearing weak & silly. One could bare one’s weakness to the other without the faintest of feelings of shame. This helped one get a sufficiently active recharge to face the world with renewed vigor.

In our school days, the popular expressions symbolizing the true bond of friendship read like “A true friend multiplies your joys & divides your sorrows”. It was an apt description summing up the level of intimacy & concern for each other’s welfare between the two. One wonders whether, with the irreversible change that this world & its people have undergone, we can still boast of having the company of true friends! Whether, with the beating the ethics & morals have taken over the years, people have the confidence to call any of their friends a ‘true friend’!

Friendship used to be a lovely bond on a platonic level without any clauses or preconditions. Both individuals would understand the strengths & limitations of each other so as not to have any unreasonable expectations from the other. Even with limited resources friends were prepared to go all out to help the one in need with full available might of moral, physical, emotional & other necessary support.

True friendship meant one could ask for favours without any hesitation & inhibition. It also meant that the other would similarly respond if the roles ever get reversed. In times of crisis, the true friend would stand by you even without asking for, and do his/her best to smoothen your ride through the rough patch. In case of a heavy work load, the other would chip in with bits of assistance to ensure that one sailed out of deep waters without any hiccups. It also meant that in case one’s family faced any hardship, the other would garner full support from his/her family to multiply the comforting effort, even if there was no social interaction at the familial level.

Although true friendship has always been a two-way affair, in good old days that never had to be matched drop by drop. It was only that the gestures of support were reciprocated as per the strengths & resources of the other. The reciprocity was neither measured with any yardstick, nor weighed in a balance. If one could not provide any meaningful assistance ‘demanded’ by the other, one would truly explain so without incurring any souring of friendly ties. The understanding between the two continued to be superb.

In this age of faltering relationships, the existence of an unbreakable bond of true friendship seems to be on the decline. The reliability has lost some of its dependability; the anatomical constitution of friends has so degenerated that it can no longer digest the secrets of the other; the worldly demands on the time & energy of all are so high that inventing a good, trustworthy pretext to keep away from the other’s emergency situation seems more practical; revealing inner most secrets can mean inviting trouble at some point of time in the future, as such confidential details can somehow find their way to many unintended recipients. “A friend in need is no friend of mine’’ seems to be a more pragmatic approach. Expectations of a voluntary support can prove to be futile as even with so many advanced modes of communications one can still be ‘not aware’ of other’s plight.

‘Being friends’ has given way to ‘appearing to be friends’. That gives the flexibility to choose one’s line of action in case one is called for help by the other in a pressing situation. ‘He is like that only’ is another common refrain to hide behind a smokescreen of inaction, when required to bail the other out of any seemingly self- inflicted trouble.

The competition to stay ahead has also given rise to a new species of friends known as ‘frenemies’. They thrive on the gullibility of people who innocently take them as friends and fail to recognize their prowling instincts. Their charm & charisma are so overwhelming that they can cleverly hide their foe-like acts behind the veneer of their ‘honey-laced’ words. They tend to exploit the friendly trust of their ‘targets’ with so much of impunity that they can cleverly pass off even their ‘blood soaked’ hands as the ones which were simply helping the ‘victim’.

Understandably, life has a roller-coaster track. It always sees many highs & lows. With each passing day, the love-hate relationship of present day friends keeps changing its hues with one aspect becoming brighter or darker in tune with the rotation of the wheel of time. Keeping expectations low from friends is the key to maintaining unruffled emotions & sentiments. Having a true friend, conforming to historical & holistic definition, would seem to be a true luxury in these times where many are living a bigger part of their lives in the ‘virtual world’.

However, this does not mean that all is lost. The tribe of true friends has not completely vanished from earth. Overshadowed by the dazzle of swanky, fly-by-night fun-loving associations, a ‘true friend’ may be hovering just round the corner. It only needs your sixth sense to recognize the one who is not wearing that invisible mask.

One Response to “Friendship Matters”

  1. ErnestoGOren says:

    Good post! We are going to be linking to this particular great article on our website.
    Continue the great writing.

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