So, the day that fills up the pockets of the bosses at Archies and Hallmark is here. Today we are supposed to celebrate friendship, while on all other days it may be fine to rip our friends apart.
The papers today, as you can see, smell of sweet roses and are diabetically mushy on the importance of friends and friendship in our lives. So, I thought, why not
celebrate Friendship Day by also talking about the stress that friends give at times?
Now, why are you giving me that look? I know friends are the greatest assets in life, especially when it comes to unwinding and venting, but they do give stress sometimes… don’t they? Here… figure out how.
When they try to match your woes with theirs: ‘Talking to a friend’ is a big stress buster, say psychologists. What when the friend starts to add to the stress by recalling his own problems or advising you to act in a way they themselves won’t?
Minakshi in my team says she just has to seem remotely distressed and some of her friends nosedive into narrating their own problems, mostly related to messy love lives. The key to being a good friend, actually, is to be a good listener first.
Mostly, people who are upset about something need a shoulder or an ear from the friend to feel better, not a handful of ‘I’m-going-through-worse’ tales.
When they put you through a guilt trip: Forget a birthday and watch the fun especially if the friend happens to be of a certain gender. Between sobs and curses, you’ll be told in no uncertain terms what an undeserving moron you are.
When they borrow… and forget: We all have friends who have one disease in common -— amnesia — especially when it comes to returning money, clothes or CDs. And of course, books. Haven’t we all heard that woeful quote — “I’ve lost some friends I truly cherished, for whom I’m greatly sorrowed; these friends aren’t humans who have perished, they’re books that humans borrowed.”
When two of your friends can’t stand each other: “Two of my friends hate the sight of each other and that’s the most stressful thing ever,” Damini from my team tells me. And if, just for experimentation’s sake, you want to see how it feels to have your happiness screwed forever, call one of your friends ‘best friend’ when you have 3-4 close ones.
When they think they have the right to tell you mean things in the name of honesty: During my growing up years, I had a friend whose favourite conversation starter was, ‘Hey, that pimple on your face looks terrible’. She’d follow it up with sentences like ‘I’m telling you this because only friends can be this honest with each other’.
I always wanted to tell her that there’s this unique invention called ‘mirror’ at my home, which serves with similar honesty, but could never bring myself to be as rude as her. I did question my mental state, however, when I chose to call her a friend.
And finally, when they decide to act all touchy and cuddly, not realising that in the post-Dostana scenario, any display of affection, without the gender consideration, can put your orientation into a serious risk of misinterpretation. Howzzat?