During my junior school days in India, a popular saying was “A friend in need is a friend indeed”! Well, what was friendship to me at that time? Study together, catch the same bus to school, share lunch, go swimming, attend the same art class, take dance classes, celebrate birthdays and of course do a little chit chat about who did not do well in school, which teacher acted funny, which kid forgot to do homework..etc etc. This was ideal friendship till my early teens! We were probably about 4 or 5 of us who were part of this awesome “we will go everywhere together” group! But the other kids at schools or in the neighborhood were friends too. Just not best friends. In all, life was simple. Period.
Education became a priority in mid and late teens..parents kind of took more control. Meaning of friendship changed. It was no longer about doing fun things together, simply because there was not enough time after coming back from school. Public exams, home-works, coaching classes and career counseling stole most of my time. Art classes, piano lessons, swimming were all luxury now. Another change occurred. The word “competition” was introduced. Did she do better than me? Are her scores higher in literature? Am i lagging behind in science? Will parents be happy with my grades? Friend list shortened. Priorities changed.
Transition: Friends, love and laughter!
First movie with friends. Excitement. Night-outs. First crush. Phone calls, more phone calls. Eyes met. First date. First gown. First dance. First love. First peck on the cheek. First heart break. Tears. First ragging. First lie. First craze. First wine. Dorm life. Engineer. Tons of friends. Still 5 or 6 best friends but many more just friends!
Transition: Career, responsibilities, caring friends, love and Facebook!
Love. Late night talks. Likes and Dislikes. Families. Siblings. Fun. Matured. Marriage. More friends – but less in common. Much less. More “in-need” friends. More acquaintances. More short talks. Less personal.
Its amazing that at any point in time if someone asks me how many real good friends I can count on, I think I will still name the 3 or 4 friends from school days, 5-6 from undergrad days and a couple from post grad days. I believe I lose the personal touch in a relation when I have to interact with more than 20 people on a regular basis! How can I be close to all? But I have seen people or rather, I have friends who can maintain a huge number of friends..I just can’t. I don’t think any social network is a judge of good friends or even friendship..you add every other person you meet ..but how many do you really know and care for?