Hello people! I miss blogging. Miss my blog. Miss the discussions with my readers. But that ‘zing’ I need to blog has hardly been there. Today for some reason, the ‘zing’ is back with a bang. So here I am with thoughts about friendship…having just passed another Friendship Day last week.
I make no secret of the fact that I get more strength from my women friends, than I do from family. But connecting with my girl friends is so so tough. Virtually, I’m on Whatsapp and FB…some groups from which I do get strength. But often there’s no time to type out detailed replies…and conversations peter out in various threads. Meeting personally is happening oftener as we’re all growing older and freer from the kids, and marking out ‘me’ time with our families. All the same these f2f meets are rare and far spaced. Phone conversations are tough; everyone’s got their own routines and constraints. For me, the silliest constraint is not having a good signal inside my home. I have to go out for a walk for my long convos with friends. And of course, getting the privacy to talk freely is also hard.
But I wanted to ask one question. Because I’m in a situation where I have been reaching out to friends…whom I sense will have no judgment and understand totally. I don’t want my friends’ opinions. I just want to be listened to, to know there’s someone who cares. It’s funny, as we grow older, how many judgments we lose. I’ve crossed some no-return points…and it’s startling how many opinionated judgments I’ve let go of. When you’re in those shoes you’ve always turned your nose up at, saying, “you’ll never catch me doing that”…you often find that there’s a legitimate reason why people do what they do. It’s not black and white. At all. The greys are of so many shades, everyone knits the greys into their own color palettes of justification of why they do what they do. The grey is also hard to deal with…everyone’s talking about Robin Williams depression…and many of us are wondering if that sinking feeling, if the unreasonable sadness in the face of pretty perfect situations is depression or a sign that something isn’t so perfect about that situation…the good thing is many of us are listening now more to our friends.
Because we don’t need judgment. We need understanding and someone standing by our sides. Not someone taking sides.
There’s nothing more aggravating than someone telling you to look on the bright side of things. Yes, there are plenty of bright sides. But when someone is in the doldrums, when someone is struggling with the right choice vs the comfortable choice…it’s the dark side that’s coloring their view. And you can’t take the dark side away. It’s there for each one of us.
As 40 comes closer…I want to know. Do you listen, really listen? Or advise. Or diagnose. Or dismiss. Or avoid. Or cut off. Do you check in again? What kind of friend are you? Are there some non-negotiables in which you WILL not support your friend…where you will say, “this goes against my principles, so I really don’t want to be involved in this conversation about your choices.”