Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On best-friendship

I’ve read various articles – written by women – saying that women can be each other’s worst enemies (this I believe); but there are also those who say that women can never truly be best friends. And by “best friends” what do they mean? To never feel a moment’s jealousy, envy or irritation, to always provide support no matter if the best friend is in the wrong, to never grudge them any success, to always tell the truth no matter how hurtful, and so on? Are these some of the criteria for women-as-best-friends? If yes, I have to concede truthfully that I’m probably the worst best friend a woman could ever have.

Not that I’ve ever wished any of my friends, best or second-best (to coin a term), ill. But I cannot deny that I’ve felt/thought, even if fleetingly, things like “Why can’t I be that lucky/talented/beautiful/rich/interesting/flirty/loved/(insert-envy-of-the-moment)”. I’m assuming that the various negative emotions which one experiences as a human with other humans are not magically bypassed by everyone else merely by dint of being a best friend. If that is NOT the case, I'm not just a bad best friend, I'm also a bad human being. I don't mind being one or the other, but not both at the same time. So, I prefer to believe that anybody who denies those negative feelings – no matter what gives rise to those feelings – is telling big fat porky-pies. Call me cynical, if you like. It’s no less than what I call myself.

There’s another assumption I’ve taken as universal – irritation or annoyance, at some point, for however short a time, even with the most beloved of people, even by the saintliest and gentlest of people. Since I am not saintly or gentle by a long chalk, and have a hair-trigger temper at times, these moments of annoyance and/or irritation are very much more frequent than, I imagine, they would be in persons with higher patience and tolerance levels.

Whatever. The point is, despite what I’ve said, I don’t get irritated ALL the time with everybody – it depends on the circumstances and my mood. And simply because I feel a moment of envy or despondence or annoyance with even my best friend doesn’t make me a bad best friend, in my books. I fully expect that other people find things in me that irritate them. I defy my best friends to deny this, up to and including my husband.

I figure that if you continue to want to be friends with the friends with whom you're annoyed in passing, that's a best-friendship, right there. Luckily, there are lots of people about whom I feel that way, and hopefully they feel the same about me. Again, up to and including my husband. (And those people with whom I don't feel like pursuing a friendship-after-irritation - well, they might not know who they are, but I sure do!)


Hema said...

Love the post..and agree 100% :)

Shyam said...

Thanks, Ema, if it IS Ema. If not - Thanks, Hema! :)

Anonymous said...

I would call someone a best friend if I can feel comfortable enough to open up to her/him. All others are good friends. And, there can be more than one best friend, each one each aspect! I do have friends like that though I am not sure they think of me the same way :-)

What I have seen from your comments and fb posts/comments, you are not what you claim in this post. you are far too nicer to everyone imo. :-) And, I am sure you have seen how blunt I am!

How do you know what I have been thinking? ;-) the last para sounds like an answer to my thoughts. thanks. :-)


Anu said...

Saw a quote on a cofee cup:

"To err is human to forgive means you are a good friend!"

Sort of ties in with what you are trying to say :-)

Shyam said...

Prema: You've hit the nail on the head - you certainly can have more than one best friend, each one for a different aspect. Absolutely spot on! And PS. I really am not nice all the time :)

Anu: Darn it, a one-liner that pretty much encapsulates what I've been saying in many many many words! :)

Anonymous said...

ok, getting overly philosophical or something like that in this topic:

Wouldn't "To err" mean one or two incidents? what if one forgives, once, twice, thrice.... then finds out it is the personality and then have doubts that may be they mean what they say? still forgive? what is that "forgive" means? "accept"? Accepting means what, let them do that mistake over and over? may be they are oblivious to their own certain personality and wouldn't it be right thing to point out? the thirukkural (திருக்குறள்) says,
"nahuthar poruttandru nattal, mihuthikkan
mersendru idiththar poruttu"

நகுதற் பொருட்டன்று நட்டல் மிகுதிக்கண்
மேற்சென்று இடித்தற் பொறுட்டு

friendship is not about laughing (or having nice time) together, but going a little bit further by pointing out when they err!

(isn't that (this comment) what they call going overboard? :-D )

- Premalatha

Anonymous said...

BANG ON. You just made everything clearer in my head. loved this post.

Shyam said...

Thanks, V :)

(you-know-who) said...

'Ema it was! :)