August 05, 2012

When Friends Become a Problem

'A friend is someone with whom you don't have to pretend to be somebody else, you don't require their approval for something, because you know that they will accept you howsoever weird you are or whatsoever weird stuffs you do.'
~RavS, 2012

I like to talk about my friends almost as much as I like to talk about myself. The 1 line intro about myself on the blog and the number of blogs tagged with the keyword 'friends' shows that.

In recent times some interesting situations related to friends have developed which I would discuss here.  Hopefully some of you would read this, and we can together brainstorm and find some viable solutions to these 'problems'.

I am a reserved person, and I take good amount of time opening up with somebody. As a result, I have had only a few (but very close) friends. I am not in touch with most of my school mates and unfortunately it's the same with college mates as well. But still all in all, I am contact with a lot of great persons. Which is one of the root causes of my troubles! I will come to that in a minute...

We all have friends, right. Some of us have only a few, while others have way too many to count. But   does it make sense to our Facebook friends as our real friends? I bet half of them are acquaintances at best. While it's coo! to say I have 459 friends, it just doesn't work that way. Yes, it sounds sweet to call ALL our school mates, college mates, or work colleagues as our friends, but if I apply my above stated definition, the number of persons who would qualify, would be just a fraction of whom one calls as ‘friends’. 

I would say, a better term to use for them would be 'contacts' or 'network'. Which means many of them will come in handy when you require something and you can in turn help them out when they need you. A strict give and take relationship supported by some old memories spent with them, and a few conversations here and there thrown in between. That, by the way, isn’t such a bad thing according to me.

My personal problem with too many friends arises when I consider them all as equal. When I say I am a friend with someone, it's my moral responsibility to be in touch with them, to know about their whereabouts, and to inform them what’s going on in my life. Now, if I do that with about 50 people, the only work I would be doing all the time, would be to ‘be friends’ with them.

So, somewhere a distinction has to be made about who among your contact list qualify as acquaintances, and who are close friends and a part of an extended family. I am trying to find that distinction and balance.

The second problem that I am having nowadays is being forced to choose between work and friends. Now friends are an integral part of life, almost as important as family. But for me, work is equally important because it defines who you are. In last one year, if I have learned something about myself, it's that being competent enough to do something useful, being able to contribute to some cause is essential for my very existence.

You only have 24 hours in your day, and there is only so much that a human can achieve within that time frame. It’s so easy to be in contact with friends when we are in school/college/workplace together because we see each other on a daily basis. We laugh, we joke, we help each other all the time. But when we have to part with them and other priorities come up, it starts getting incredibly difficult to keep up with the same people. Your schedule is no longer in sync with theirs.

So, the crux of the matter is the following questions, that I have been battling with, in recent times:
  1. How do you cope up when you have too many friends?
  2. How do you draw the line between 'friend', 'good friend' and 'my bro/sis'?
  3. How do you balance the time that you need to devote to work and the time you need to devote to friends?

If have any answers to them, please do comment.

And yes, if it makes you feel any better, Happy Friendship Day.