Karan Johar taught us ‘Dosti mein sukoon hai’ but is it so? Bollywood made us ask ‘Mujhse dosti karoge’ but is it necessary? Maybe just saying “Main apni favourite hoon” is enough for some people.
Over the years, Bollywood has fed us a template for friendship and mostly the emphasis has always been on “dil” and “dosti” and if you grew up watching these Karan Johar-ish movies in your teenage years, your adulthood must have been pretty messed up. As everyone is celebrating Friendship Day today, we thought of asking some people about their idea of friendship and if it’s really necessary to have a best friend in life.
Roshani Shinde who is an RJ in Mumbai feels that if one wants to make life peaceful and for personal growth, keeping a distance from toxic or so-called friends is necessary. “A friend is someone who is non-judgemental. Who claps loudest for you on your victory and sits beside you when you are low. I believe in a few friends, instead of speaking to lots of people. But a friend to die for, that kind of friendship I don’t have,” she maintains.
The dissolution of some of these friendships gnaws on you incessantly, as you realise gradually that finding people with similar interests and taste is rare. Recalling her teenage years, she shared, “Back then, I gave way too importance to my friends. Not realising that 70 per cent of efforts came from my end. Looking back, I feel it wasn’t worth it. But in a way, maybe it a lesson learnt. All these experiences have eventually helped to be my own best friend. And am thoroughly enjoying this phase of life too.”
The popular saying ‘Keep your admirers away and critics closer’ has less significance today, as people increasingly don’t want you to speak your mind if it’s not in their favour. Unfortunately, no Bollywood film teaches us how to make up to your friends when things get sour nor did it show how just twinning in similar outfits and spending a couple of hours in a cafe is not all it takes to build bonds.
Rajul Varma, a resident from Lucknow, says that although she has friends in different cities, she doesn’t have anyone in the city where she lives with her husband and kids. “Having friends of your choice is a boon. I love to be in the company of friends but nevertheless, I enjoy solitude too. It’s a win-win for me,” she says.
Friendship is just another relationship and requires hard work. Usually, people don’t put in quality time with their close buddies, which eventually leads to a rift. And that’s okay, too, since it’s human to have disagreements and not find like-minded people to spend time with.
Dr Praveen, a MBBS graduate who is currently preparing for IAS exams in Delhi, remembers being quite genial during his hostel days, even offering lifts on his bike to “random people”. “Moreover, I have done free treatments for friends’ relatives, but if you ask me about my best friend, I can’t come up with a name. It was perhaps because, most people around enjoyed hanging out drinking and smoking, unlike me, so I didn’t fit in beyond a point,” he confesses. “Of course, this was good me for me career-wise, as I luckily cleared all my medical papers in one go,” he quips.
Alok, a teenager from Mumbai, recalls how he felt unappreciated by his school friends despite going out of his way to help them. “It’s not like I wanted credit, but they would just move on, without thinking that even I might need them in some way,” he said. Calling himself “totally filmy”, he cites one of Badshah’s rap lyrics, which go, ‘Main sabke kam aaya par mere kam koi na aaye‘, commenting that people look out for their self-interest. “Friendship is demanding and tiring; I enjoy my company and love driving my bike when I am bored,” he added.
Similarly, Mohit who is also a teenager and an engineering student thinks that that friendship is demanding. “I have altered myself a lot for my friends. But yeah pretending like that hasn’t helped me in any case and has made me feel worthless. So now I love who I am no matter what people say I don’t chase people for the sake of friendship, rather I stay in my comfort zone and enjoy other’s company as and when it happens”.
However, it is not always the other person’s fault. Your friends don’t owe you their friendship; one has to earn it. Friendship is a two-way street where both have to pause and think of each other’s needs. And while you can’t expect someone to be totally forgiving of your mistakes, it’s also perfectly normal to make mistakes in a relationship.
Aman, a 29-year-old who works in Mumbai, says friendship to him is a relationship that you choose, born purely out of mutual liking without any agenda. “It’s not important to have a best friend, but it can be quite a luxury to have one. Not having friends does make life less fun, even though it frees up time to invest in your career.”
Asked why he doesn’t have a best friend, he remarks, “I don’t believe it’s worth the effort. I love my own company, I don’t have to explain to myself what I’m thinking or feeling, I always know it beforehand…isn’t that true friendship?”
A lot of people are living life on their own terms, without a best friend or BFF and it’s pretty normal. So, if you’re one of those people, remember not to judge yourself as it’s not a life crisis. Moreover, give yourself a pat on the back for being able to handle life on your own.