Friendship Talkies

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Anna Garlin Spencer who was an American feminist, speaking about man/women friendship, once quoted saying “The friendship between a man and a woman which does not lead to marriage or desire for marriage may be a life long experience of the greatest value to themselves and to all their circle of acquaintance and of activity; but for this type of friendship both a rare man and a rare woman are needed“. What I recently discovered not only rare men and women are needed for that kind of a friendship, but even rare people needed to understand one such friendship.

I generally don’t believe in keeping contact with people, whose views I cannot appreciate, or rather cannot stand. Unfortunately when they become a business liability, you end up keeping interface with them, even though you hate their presence. “Falling in my eyes” was an instance of such horrible person, with whom I still have to interact.

When you meet a person, you really can’t know his/her real attitude, and thus may sometimes end up being friends with people whom you later discover, to be really bad, or incompatible with your ideologies. I generally distance from them slowly, just hoping that they don’t feel totally left out suddenly. Still over the years I have maintained contacts with all such one time good friends. Recently, on the occasion of the new years, I pinged a one old friend on gtalk, mainly to wish him a happy new year. Its been almost more than 6/7 months since I had talked with him, or emailed. After the pleasantry exchanges, the usual hows work stuff, he started to loosen up, and things which I hated started to come up. Its surprising how people keep track of what you are upto, even without talking to you directly, he seem to know whom I am spending time what, whats happening at my workplace, and with whom I was generally in good terms with.

When you are not aware of a relationship, I guess the best thing you can do is not to talk about it, because you never know how you are affecting the other person. He started commenting about a nice friendship I have developed over the recent times. I could not stand it. He had absolutely no right to talk about a friendship, in such a bad taste. Firstly I doubt if he has ever understood how a friendship can exist between opposite sex. More importantly I don’t think he understood what friendship means in general. I gave an excuse and logged off the gtak, but I was pretty pissed the whole day.

The next day my reader showed up this post from a friend No place for friendship.
Its strange how often the friendship gets misunderstood, sometimes from the people involved and many times from people outside. When there are sentiments involved, it makes it all the more sensitive topic to be dealt with.

As I do not have much insight about how women misunderstand the friendship, I will chose to write my views from the male perspective. People always accuse of the men to misinterpret friendship to a relation of romantic interest. I think I agree to this partially. I do not know if it only happens wrt males, but in some cases, I have seen myself, and felt in a odd occasion, that I misinterpreted the intention in a friendship. I guess this is inevitable in a non established relationship, when each have their own agenda, or probably they haven’t even set up their minds as to what to expect in the friendship. Do you think the one who misunderstood is guilty?, I am not so sure on that one. One thing is for sure, when the misunderstanding comes out, in most of the cases, thats the end of the friendship.

Talking about the more damaging part, people not knowing anything about the relation, people who see that from a distance, many times have something nasty to say, hurting the sentiments of the people involved, especially if it is about a person whose friendship you really care about. As it happened in my case, my respect for the person further deteriorated, more importantly put in a doubt in my mind, what if all people are looking at the friendship with a bad perspective?, more importantly what if the other person has other ideas more than friendship. Basically ruined something which was doubtless.

I agree this does indicate a weak friendship, what some one says or does should not have any effect on your strong friendship, thats ideal situation we are talking about, and it takes time for all friendship to reach that stage, and in the mean while, someone makes such a comment, and it really effects you.

For a long long time, I did not believe in pure friendship, not with the same sex, specially not with the opposite sex, but perceptions do change, for some sooner and for less fortunate ones like me later. Why is it that common a notion that “Man and a woman cannot be just friends”.

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7 responses »

  1. I’ve had a lot of great male friends. I get along with guys moreso with girls…but even then, there’s this underlying feeling intertwined with the friendship that just isn’t present in the friendships I’ve had with other females. Most of the time I can put those feelings aside, but in some cases it’s just too strong and it causes a breakdown of the friendship.

    When I feel as though I can no longer be friends with a person due to conflict of interest, I don’t bother trying to distance myself from them gradually…I just cut them off as much as I can. It’s easier that way.

    Silver..
    Really?. I somehow don’t develop these underlying feelings at all. I do admit, that in few cases, the underlying feeling has lead to a friendship, but eversince then I seem to seperate the two feelings easily.
    I really don’t like to distance people, that too in cases, where I have a misunderstanding, its very easy to correct I feel or may be I have never had a strong feeling which I haven’t been able to correct.
    -Rambler

  2. I have some guys who are very good friends of mine.. I have been married 5 years.. and still am very good friends with these guys..and apparently we are “just friends”.. I think its all in the mind.. however if someone had told me/ suspected the real nature of the friendship, would I have cared? No!! Why should that bother you?? Unfortunately despite all talk of Open mindedness we live in a very narrow/close minded society (and this has nothing to do with India/West.. I feel this is the case everywhere)..there will always be the hypocrites.. What I usually do is chalk it down to their immaturity and get on with life!!

    Preeti, Its all in the mind, I totally agree, and I do have a decent number of good friends from the opposite sex. However personally, when people do comment on such friendship, I will be lying if I say I am nto bothered, because it does matter to me, that the other person, in this case a girl might be in trouble as well. not just that, sometimes people do make me disgust. Guess its a nice quality to get on with life. I eventually do that, but after a day of pissed off, and couple of days of cribbing mentally 😀
    -Rambler

  3. I’m with preethi here…blame it on immaturity…why would you want to bother about what others think?

    sometimes when my son says i hate girls, whatever i think i think to myself(be it a smile or whatever) but there are others who smirk and say accha, lets’s wait a few more years and see what you have to say …they say this to him…and i hate that, cos its going to put a wrong notion in his mind..that having friendship with girls is something romantic….

    TA.
    I guess I do get bothered, I am not sure why, but when people talk about some people who are really important to me, I do tend to care about what others think. You totally got me, when parents/grown ups do tend to make fun of a kid, who has friend of opposite sex, I simply hate that. Good to see nice parents like you around 🙂
    -Rambler

  4. Distancing yourself from unwanted people slowly may not really help if you try to ‘keep in touch’.
    I agree with silverneurotic here, it is better to let go of than put yourself into such pain..

    Rusty,
    This was not about letting go people, I would prefer to let go ones who really dont understand such friendships 🙂
    -Rambler

    .

  5. Rambler:

    The word ‘friend’ is increasingly used so loosely that I think most people do not even know what it means. The biggest test I have used is the test of silence. Silence that is not uncomfortable where none compels to talk to fill the gap.

    I totally agree with you, people do not understand the meaning of “Friend”, and I am surprised that you too use silense test, I really take a long time to see if I can really open up to them. and if they are willing to open up to me. In between the silense does talk. Thats when I realize friendship

    As you get older, you will see that we have just 4 or 5 such friends, who pass this test. The rest are passing acquaintances on this journey to earth, who will come and go, usually filling the air with their chatter and noise which we may take for entertainment, socialising etc.

    I am fortunate to have some “friends”, and I am not that big on having passing acquaintances, they usually end up as people I know

    I have 3 such friends – two are guys – and the longest friendship is about 15 years.

    I do not notice their genders and by all counts, they do not notice mine. Once one of these male friends said to me – why are you behaving like a girl? I said – oye ullu, I AM a girl. He said – what? yes yes, whatever, oh never mind, just stop nagging me.

    In inter-gender friendships, longevity is sometimes the only thing that shuts other people up. And time is the only investment one needs in these relationships.

    I think you are right about longevity. But even with time, people do not understand how beautiful a friendship can be, even with the opposite gender. All they can think about is Romantic love, and even worst cases lust.

    PS – Do you remember a post over on Nita’s blog about emotional and physical affairs the discussion on which went into friendships and why they do not last after people get married?

    I totally remember Nita’s post. I did have a good long discussion with her through comments on that post. I was kinda hoping she does stop over for a comment on this one 🙂

  6. the word friendship means a lot to me and I am not comfortable with it being used loosely, not while referring to myself. as shefaly said a lot of people use it loosely and sometimes I catch myself at it too, because the word good acquaintence seems to distant. but that aside, I believe in the strong bonds of friendship. however it takes a long time for anyone to cross that laxman rekha! once they do, friends are family.
    but yes some kind of people make me uncomfortable and I too distance myself from them slowly so as not to hurt them. but i always find it a problem if there is a group and I like everyone except for one. in this case, one has to just ignore that person.

    Nita,
    I think agree with you, not many people use “acquaintance” in India, however I think I always refer to people as he/she is my colleague, or I say I know him/her.. and very rarely I use the word “friend” loosely, even as a kid my parents always cribber that I do not have many friends. People whom you play with is not a friend, is what I used to tell them back then. I agree that friends do become a part of family, and my parents have acknowledged my friendship in the same way. But some idiots unnecessarily try to poke their nose in, generally I cut the conversation short when that happens.
    -Rambler

  7. know what, you need to learn to care less n think less abt such things. somethings just cant be changed. If anyone has a prob, its their prob !

    shilps.
    I know I got to care less, but some how I can’t.. I don’t understand why people are so insensitive when they remark something.
    -Rambler

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