There always comes a point, whether some time in a week or a month or a year, when we shut off the noise around us and introspect. Introspect about one particular social aspect of our average human lives. We count our friends. Let us not decorate this statement to suit our stature on the stage of real life. Let us not complicate it. We all do it. We count our friends…
I recently saw this movie starring Ben Stiller called “Brad’s Status” and this movie shows Ben Stiller as a dad to a son who is giving interviews to get admitted to a college. Ben is haunted by the worldly success of his friends from college and he feels like he is the only loser who could not make it big. There are some very interesting conversations Ben has over the course of the movie with his friends, his son as well as a complete stranger who is his son’s friend, which really put things in perspective.
This movie got me thinking along a line of thought which might not have been the original intention of the movie. Friend is a title bestowed upon those people who we share an obscene amount of comfort level with. They are closer than family as they are not stuck with you by blood but by choice. They are the ones who know more about you than your family and their love is true as it not because they have to. Friends are not college mates who you catch up with after years. Friends are not your colleagues or classmates just because you happened to have to spend majority of your time with them at the moment. Friends are not the strangers who you meet for the first time and share a conversation, a drink or a wild memorable night with. The person you’re dating currently is not your friend. They are just people. They are just chapters in your lives and photo albums in your timeline. They are not friends because they don’t stay.
When I really rack my brain, I’m not able to bring myself to accept even the girl I have been seeing for over a year as my friend. It is because just when we begin to get comfortable, that heavy hand from the past in our life grabs us and holds us back. We have seen too many of them come and go. Our best mates from school to our partners in crime from college. The colleague who suffered the same atrocities with you on your past job to the girls you dreamed to spend your life with. All of them are like characters in your life’s play that give their performances, make memories and ultimately leave you in the state you began before they happened…
When we have these reunions after ages, it simply comes down to being a dry recitation of our personal summary, to showboat our accomplishments or avoid attracting too much attention, depending upon the case. This, followed by laughter over a series of limited experiences shared together. Then what? Then the conversation runs dry as we stopped sharing a life after that. These occasions are nothing but us giving way to our rudimentary primal need and instinct to look for social acceptance.
I believe it is difficult to have more than a handful real friends in one’s life. These people may or may not be related by blood or state records but they are the only ones who innately acknowledge and accept you as a part of their personal life. They never had to take the decision to stick with you. It just happened. They just accept it as a given in their life. It can be your child, your father, your neighbour or your high school buddy. The nature of relation does not matter.
There is a very slight distinction between family and friend. Family is just a bureaucratic term coined for the benefit of the public records. It just denotes being related by blood and I find it almost offensive and discriminatory. I prefer to call the people who matter to me and to whom I matter, as friends. My simple definition of a Friend is anyone who is just always there. The frequency of conversations does not really matter. When I say they are always there, I mean they are always there as your favourite family. The possibility of them ceasing to play a role at any point in the rest of your life never occurs to you.