Friday, October 7, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends

A rather gregarious, albeit long-forgotten, school-mate called me up last night. It must have been six or seven years since we last spoke and I almost didn't recognise her voice. We hadn't been particularly close in school but we'd had some entertaining conversations over the years. She always hung around the school with a rather large and extremely loud gaggle of girls, while I had what she called a 'dedicated but small group of followers' which is for all intents and purposes, rather close to the truth. I had exactly three best friends then and I have exactly five best friends now, the latest two acquired in the first two years of college. The years haven't exactly made me any more of a friend-magnet than they have made her any less of a chatterbox.

So around an hour of filling-each-other-in-on-what's-happening-in-our-lives later, she suddenly piped up that she had this idea, for a school reunion. Just some old friends, not the whole class, she said. I told her that I thought that going by her social butterfly status, inviting her old friends wud be the same as inviting the whole class.

She quieted down perceptibly at that and I wondered if I'd hit a nerve without having realized it. I tried to placate her with, "Oh c'mon, you've always had a lot of friends. You can talk with pretty much anyone and be friends with them an hour later. I'm sure you have a thousand new friends in college by now."

At which point, she said, "No, but it's not the same. School friends are different. Besides, I cant really talk with these friends."

Why not, I asked her. Because they weren't all that close to her, she said. For someone who was as socially inept as I, this was a concept that didn't really get through to me right away. If somebody had a hundred friends, they must be close friends with atleast one or two of them.

She sighed at the other end of the phone line, and said, "Sometimes, people have to make new friends because they cant hold onto any old ones."

Then, of course, we made plans to meet up over the weekend and I realized how much I'd really missed her without knowing it, and that it wud be a real pity if we had to let each other ago.

14 comments:

ramya sriram said...

:)

What I have to say is from a different perspective. I have this theory that sometimes you don't realise the importance of friendships until you move on.

One of my friends is a pilot in the Air Force and she had a tough time (like everybody else does) during the initial stages. After getting out of a university, stayed with friends for four years, it's pretty hard to immediately find people you bond with once you're out. She held on so much to her old friends that it almost prevented her from making new ones (At this point, I have a sneaky feeling that this sentence actually is about me). But I kept telling her that she's gonna look back fondly at her AF days and friends later on the way she looks back at our uni days.

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On another note, it's wonderful to get back in touch with old friends. Magical, magical. Hope you have a great meeting! :)

Ice Maiden said...

Oh I am a lot like your friend I suppose.. I have always been the one with the most people around :P .. Though I found out, the hard way if I may add, that not everyone around you can be your "best friend". Infact, over the years that my personality has mellowed down, I have concluded that there is nothing like a "best friend". There are friends, and then there are close friends. I have 4 close friends from school, and we have always stayed in touch over the years, inspite of the fact that we all ended up choosing different streams for our respective careers. I have loads of friends from college who I regularly meet and have fun with, and some very close ones who know at any given point of time everything that is going on with me. Over the years, I have realized that not only do "best friends" don't exist, someday or the other you will get hurt by your friends, and to keep them, you will just have to forgive them. Because you make mistakes too. It is also true that people really do drift apart over the years, I have many school friends I would have loved to be in contact with right now, but just like any other relationship, even friendship needs work. :) Found that out, also the hard way. Ah well, love the friends I do have now to bits and would do anything to never let go. :)

Sakshi said...

You are right.
And so is your friend, because you lose the ability to hold on to old friends!
But I wish we had the ability to hold on!

Arumugam said...

I am beginning to realize another scary thing,sometimes I feel that friends I have known for a decade don't understand me.Nothing makes me feel more alone in the universe.

mgeek said...

Five best friends! WOW!

Riddhi G.D said...

Having moved around so much, I'd say I have 7. But the thing is you keep changing with the years, and sometimes your friends, as much as you love em, just don't get certain things after a point of time. That's what really sucks for me- the disconnect that can happen even with the people you love most. So outta these 7, I'm close to all but 2 of em are.. they're family. Ironically, they happen to be people I met in college in India for about 2 months before I moved to Canada.
It's really awesome that you have a circle you can count on no matter what :)

Jester said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jester said...

strange that i happened to read ur blog today when just in the morning while driving to work i was thinking whether ppl who need constant reassurance abt themselves have/make more friends while the ones with their identities on solid ground just have a few!!

~Serendipity~ said...

Your friend is right. Holding onto friends and understanding the change occurring in them over the years requires a big heart. Not everybody has that. People change and so do their counter-parts.

Gustaf Valstromm said...

One should probably have both old friends who've known you a long time so they know where you're coming from as well as new friends who can help you recognise where you want to be going. Also I do not think you are socially inept at all. I think you're a very warm person. But not an extrovert. It was three days in the ICU before we got talking. I had to ask Ramesh to introduce us because you didn't seem to take note of me. I thought it was Indian girl thing! :p But turns out it's a 'you' thing. ;D

Tangled up in blue... said...

Ramya, speaking for myself, I find it really hard at times to open up and start talking to people. So, while friends may be found, confidants are not. So, I end up sharing giggly secrets with pretty much the same group of people as a decade ago. And we had a really awesome meeting, at this cute lil coffee-shop near our old school building, and she ended up chatting with the people at the next table. Luckily, some people never change. :)

Sakshi, I know. As life-choices are made, paths diverge. But I somehow end up talking to the same people, at a lesser frequency but for greater duration. So, I suppose that's my way of holding on! :D

Tangled up in blue... said...

Ice Maiden, I agree. I guess, the idea of a 'best friend' started with school when you had this one girlfriend you always could share your dabba with, who you walked with to and from school. :D Of course, now it does feel a little juvenile, and it ultimately devolves into old best friends and new best friends. However, I have realized that the people who know me the longest, know me the best. So I simply cannot afford to lose touch with them. It would be like losing a bit of myself if I lost them. :) That makes me work hard at the friendship, I guess.

Arumugam, there are times when I have this feeling of intense loneliness, as if no one will ever really get me. But then, that's alright. We're a mystery to our own selves at times. And then, the feeling passes. :) Until the next time it shows up.

mgeek, :) Yeah, I'm a lucky, lucky girl!

Tangled up in blue... said...

Riddhi, I know. It's remarkable how some people inspire this much affection and devotion. And sometimes, it doesn't matter how long you've known them. One of my closest friends is a girl I was in college with for a year but she's incredibly close. Practically family, yes. :)

Jester, I suppose some people are just gregarious. And they are the kind of people who find a common topic of conversation with pretty much anyone. And they trust people easily. So, they tend to make a lot of friends. :)

Serendipity, I love your comment! Exactly! :) You're going to grow up. Sometimes, you grow apart, but sometimes you grow up together. :) And that is the beginning of a beautiful friendship! :D

Tangled up in blue... said...

Gustaf, I was just plain intimidated by you. If you hadn't walked up to me, I would never even have mustered up the courage to start a conversation with you and that's the truth. But I am ever so glad we did get a chance to talk. :)