Friends are our chosen family, our home away from home, and oftentimes our confidants. They embody the essence of connection, strength, adaptability, and resilience, but despite the simplicity surrounding it, the concept of friendship has always been complex for me. But I am not here to discuss the complexity, but maybe the probable reason behind it.
Growing up, we moved around a lot and I kept leaving friends behind even though we promised each other we would keep in touch. For a long time, I wondered why I could not make my friendships last until very recently it struck me that I was forcing something to happen which for all practical reasons was not possible. The only thing that remained common with every new set of friends I made was the competition, “How many friendship bracelets did you get?”. I even remember a barter system where we were willing to exchange bracelets with the person we talked to the least, just to elongate the length of the bands on our forearms. Looking back it all seems silly, the lengths that we would go to, to show how many friends we had, but all we were trying to show was that we belonged.
Whether it's better to have a small number of intimate, meaningful friendships or a huge number of acquaintances and casual friendships is at the center of the age-old argument. I say, why debate? Why not let people choose what they want for themselves and flow with their experiences? The debate explores the idea of the pros and cons of both, but who’s to say that one wins and the other loses? Many articles will claim the superiority of one over the other, but they forget to focus on choice. One can choose to have a big group of friends, and one can choose to have a few friends. One can choose where they feel they belong.
With the growing influence of social media and the abundance of ‘how to make your life fruitful’ reels, there seems to be an increasing pressure to lead a certain kind of life, an ideal life filled with ‘meaningful’ experiences. These reels also do not leave the chance to define that meaning for us and unfortunately, we end up adopting that meaning as ours instead of looking for our own. So in this month of friendship day, I leave you with just one question, What is your meaning of friendship for you?