Harbouring close bonds of friendship as an adult ‘cause it’s not just about school days
What if I told you a story? There were two girls who met in their school days, and remained friends ‘forever’. Life seemed to have gone swimmingly for them, just like a fairytale. But that was the catch - it was a fairytale. It’s easy to keep those rose-hued glasses on till you stumble upon reality, before long realising that this was a falsified story. The concept of forever also seems to come with a measuring tape, a scale and a time limit. We’re all impatient to have the perfect everything - perfect parents, siblings, friends, meals, boyfriends, husbands and so on. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t exactly ‘knowing what you want’. Unfortunately we lose out on important moments in not knowing which we think we know and act upon it accordingly.
Back in school, when you couldn’t wait to grow up and start working and have all those things you thought you wanted to own, to achieve, were you also working on keeping your relationships close? It’s always said that the best friends you can have are the ones you find at school. School for me was more about proving something to those four people my parents and relatives told me about who I’ve never met, but distinctly remember judging me from afar. Like Phoebe Buffay said in F.R.I.E.N.D.S, “I love the second grade... It’s so much better than first grade when you don’t know what’s going on and definitely better than third grade. Y’know with all the politics and mind games.” What mind games could they be exactly? What I got in my tiffin today and who ate how much from it and where we need to balance this out?
Here are two angles that might help you, Dear Reader, to understand where this conversation is heading. One, as you leave school, enter college and eventually begin working, a phase I’m going to term as ‘growing up’, there’s a lot that changes and most of it has no similarity to a fairytale that you may know of. It’s disappointing because adulting is like that. No one will ever seem to match up to those expectations you have, sometimes that person will be you too. So much so that your own diva-esque attitude might give you a reality check you are so in need of. Second, during this phase I’d now like to term ‘growing out’, you’ll understand a lot about human behaviour patterns in general. Things that you wouldn’t stop to consider back in school will dawn on you, further amplified.
You’ll know that a lot of reactions and behaviour has little to do with you. It’ll also tell you loads about where someone might come from. This ‘growing out’ phase is adulting Part 2. It usually arrives as you approach your thirties or if you’re a slow learner like yours truly, then definitely past your thirties. This is also the time when you learn a little more about yourself and actually begin growing out of older habits and sometimes, even people. So what makes adult friendships thrive, if there is a concept like that? It usually comes to you when you’re all-set to be more accepting of spaces and of people with their quirks. Everyone has their own. It’s just how well you and how soon you embrace these additional ones along with your own. And no, this is far different than burdening yourself with additional baggage - no one wants that, not even the airlines or the porters (if you continue to use them).
The best example that comes to mind when referring to adult friendships is the one Candace Bushnell wrote for all her girl fans which became one of the most-talked-about TV show followed by successful films called Sex and the City. It’s wonderful how Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte always made time for their breakfast dates to talk about the night before with the same man or a different man and discuss their experiences and always enjoyed hearing each other out, being the agony aunt if needed, yet giving each other what kept them close - the much-needed space which might roughly translate into mutual respect for one another. The best part... they were always there for each other - through relationships, broken hearts, marriage, children, jobs and fashion, because there are never enough dresses, shoes and bags you can own. I’d throw in a lot of books into that equation too.
Let’s take a bit of a detour now and explore the relationship that the six F.R.I.E.N.D.S shared for ten years. Save for Joey and Phoebe, the other four had known each other or known of one another before they came to share their lives together. Everyone loves believing in the weirdness of Phoebe. Have you, however, thought that she was probably the most evolved of the lot and the struggles that she sometimes slipped into everyday conversations helped her discern how she wanted this weirdness to overpower any negative spaces in her mind? It is also probably what made her five friends respect her differently. They knew she’d had a different and definitely non-privileged life, yet there was no judgement. Once again, mutual respect for one another. However, we don’t know much about where and how they figured out the remainder fifteen years once the show ended in their early-thirties. Let’s hope they still meet over coffee every once in a while with kids or dogs or cats in tow. I do believe Phoebe had all traits to be a crazy-dog lady (or maybe a cat-lady, but she didn’t come across as much of a cat person, don’t you think?)
The Monterey Five started out as enemies living their secret lives and ended up becoming close friends, but as Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) tells Celeste (Nicole Kidman) in an episode, their friendship is based on a lie they’re all protecting. What becomes of them when the truth unravels itself. There won’t be any lies of any degree left then.
The adults in every family or every relationship will say you can’t be friends with your colleagues and that’s why your closest friends are the ones from school. In real-life though, it’s how you are able to anchor your feelings and your learnings from all the phases that will either guide you like a lodestar henceforth or be yet another lesson.
Here’s wishing you a very happy friendship day! Hope this year onwards, you keep your friends close and your learnings closer.