“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
‘ You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
~ E.B. White
If you are on LinkedIn, you would have noticed your LinkedIn network i.e. directly and indirectly connections. We are sort-of aware of people in our direct connection but do you ever wonder the huge network of people we are indirectly connected? Better still, do we wonder how did we become friends with the ones on our direct connections. We can categorize many of them as class-mates or colleagues or family/relatives but what about the rest?
Let me count the ways (few atleast)…
Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. You can continue to be stupid with them and have the privilege to talk nonsense. These are the ones in which you are bound to one another with hoops of steel.
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness. One who knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. They can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute.
They can be younger or older than you, not by few months, but by years…but you still want to spend time with them because they provide the fusion of both the worlds. While the younger ones fill you with information of the ever-changing world, the older generation provides you worldly advice on how to cope with it. You enjoy the broader perspective of the world from the younger ones with the narrowed vision of needs-versus-wants. Younger ones crack you up with their funny/witty jokes while Older ones make you laugh with their stories (which always have a moral).
You meet them at pet-clubs or parks or pet-friendly beaches. Conversations range from diets to tantrums (of pets, ofcourse!) and you end up setting up a play-date. A visit to the pet-salon is synced up to let the pets enjoy while the parents have a latte-time together.
You don’t remember how you happen to be friends – probably bumped in a party, or bus, or train, or car-pool or simply happens to be your-Friend’s-Cousin’s-Neighbor’s-Friend’s-Friend but are connected on Facebook.. You enjoy the updates, give a thumbs-up on their pics, respond on stupid wall posts wondering each time ‘how did we become friends?’.
You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby.