Yoohoo, the festival season is here. Oh, sorry. For those who only whine about everything on God’s earth - alas! The festival season is here. By the way, talking of whiners, there’s no one who quite beats Mrs Chaddha. I’m certain that she must have cribbed about the non functional AC and the stain on the nurse’s uniform right after she was born. Anyway, this one time when she whined and whined in front of me (yes, I have nothing better to do), I actually ended up sympathising with her. When I’ll tell you why, I’m sure a lot of you would relate to what she was harping about.
“Chaddha ji ne dukhi kar maara hai. All he understands by ‘enjoyment’ is the company of his friends. If we have to watch a film, it has to be with his best friend and his wife. If it is our anniversary and we go out for dinner, his friend and his wife have to accompany. Now, in the festival holidays, I’m asking him to take me on a vacation, but he says we’ll go only if his friend and his family would also go along. “Friend se hi shaadi kar lete woh,” she cried.
Ab this problem of Mrs Chaddha is nothing new, but is very real at the same time. An undue obsession with friends takes the couple-time away from many, whether married or dating. This stress is gender independent, though I’ve mostly seen girls crib about their boyfriends or husbands insisting that every plan of outing includes their friend and his partner. So here’s what I feel like telling Mr Chaddha… and all such FOPs. Friend-Obsessed-Persons, yaar. Aur kya?
1) Notice the warning signals: Whether you are careful enough to notice or not, there are always subtle warning signals of your partner’s displeasure if you are an FOP. Before, of course, these subtle signals blow up into full-fledged war horns. It’s another thing that you may have an objection to your partner’s objection of your obsession (word play, ha ha!), but that’s something that you can correct only by trying to convince your wife or girlfriend politely. If you’ll be dheeth enough to ignore her cribbing and keep converting all your evenings into partying with your friends (focus on the word ‘your’), she won’t be wrong in suggesting ki shaadi bhi unhi se kar lete!
2) Respect your partner always, especially in front of your friends: This is truly a golden rule, and I’m saying this after a lot of experience on dispensing gyaan on relationships. No matter what mood you’re in, no matter how irritatingly your partner is behaving, never make the mistake of insulting her or him in front of your friends. Friends may derive pleasure in provoking you or teasing you with titles liked hen-pecked or biwi ka chamcha, but deep inside, they will also judge you right and respect you if you behold your spouse’s dignity. Because, trust me, that’s the only way to be.
3) Learn to define-and divide-your free time: Enjoyment can never only have one meaning, or one derivative. You may be truly enjoying your outings more when your best friend comes along, but not at the cost of not getting any private time with your own partner. In an ideal world, your partner also loves your friend’s company as much as you do, or maybe your partner IS your best friend, but you know what, aise chamatkaar real life mein kam hi hote hain. So do the next best thing, divide the time between group outings, and your personal ones. And, as much as possible, avoid forcing your partner to accompany you for all the former, unless he/she wants to. There’s no bigger mood spoiler than a sulking partner. You do your thing, and let her have her own peace. This way she’ll value and cherish the moments that the two of you spend alone, much more.
Finally, a word to partners like Mrs Chaddha who have gotten into the habit of cribbing about the FOPs in their lives. See, hand on heart, it’s not that big a deal if your partner hopes and expects you to enjoy the company of his friends as much as he does. If you’ll not be too hung-up and uptight, you may just start enjoying group outings more than you currently do. That smile of acceptance on your face would mean the world to your partner. And whatever said and done, the real worth of a relationship is how happily we accept the way our partner is. Try it, and watch the magic.
Maa Sonal gives lectures on happiness and calmness on appropriate payment. In cash. Oh what the heck, it was worth a try. Mail your feedback (and just that) at email@example.com or facebook.com/sonalkalra13. Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.