Yesterday I read a heart-warming story about seven Chinese girlfriends who bought a mansion to retire and die together. It was all over social media. I smiled, felt warm from inside. This is our childhood dream right? And this group of friends go ahead and bring this dream to life. How wonderful is that!
- Some of our best memories are with friends in school and college.
- Yet we all drift away to build a career or settle down in marital bliss and move cities even countries.
- For women, in the hierarchy of relationships, friendships are listed way below others.
- But after having lived through all responsibilities, women realise that they want back the bond called ‘friendship’.
Despite that, after college I remember drifting away, all of us moved away to build careers or settled down in marital bliss and moved cities, even countries. Even these seven Chinese friends did.
The best memories of my life comprise of the time I spent with my friends in school and college. I am still in touch with some those childhood friends (technology has helped, Facebook and WhatsApp groups have made sure I am never out of touch), yet, I am not able to be in touch personally as much as I would like to be, but once in a while I do meet them. When we finished school and got into college I realised what friendship means. Those were the best days! Despite that, after college I remember drifting away, all of us moved away to build careers or settled down in marital bliss and moved cities, even countries. Even these seven Chinese friends did.
One of the drawbacks of this bond is that we are not obligated to our friends the way we are to our spouses, our jobs, or our families. We will be sad to go, but go we will. This is one of the inherent hitches in this bond called friendship.
I was lucky I am married to a man who has a transferable job, so we could move back to Bhopal, where I studied, nurtured lifelong bonds, as a result I have friends who come visit the city as most of their parents are still settled here and as a bonus I get to meet them too.
I am sure you will not go months without speaking to or seeing your spouse or your children or parents, but you might go that long without getting in touch with a friend. Yet, when you do, you start as if that ‘gap’ did not exist. That’s the magic of this bond.
I have realised first hand that for women, in the hierarchy of relationships, friendship is listed way below others. Partners, parents, children—all these come before friendship. This is true in life, and as far as science is concerned, relationship researches and surveys tend to focus more on couples and families and less on that all that important bond. This, despite the fact that friendship is a unique relationship because unlike a family relationship we willingly enter into it. And unlike other bonds, like marriages, romantic relationships and families they lack a formal structure. I am sure you will not go months without speaking to or seeing your spouse or your children or parents, but you might go that long without getting in touch with a friend. Yet, when you do, you start as if that ‘gap’ did not exist. That’s the magic of this bond. I hear the seven Chinese friends at this point!
Surveys and researches show us how important friendships are to people and to their happiness. We all know, I know now, that though friendships tend to change as we age, there is some consistency in what we expect from friends. For us friends mean — someone to talk to, someone to depend on, and someone to enjoy with, but will vary in importance depending on our situations. You’ll agree with me here I am sure.
Because friendship is a voluntary bond, in our process of growing up and aging, this bond gets hit the most due to life’s whims. We are stuck with our family and give importance to our spouse but when it comes to friendship where once we would just drop in at any time of the day at our friend’s house, to cry over a broken heart, or to tell how cruel our parents and siblings are, but now we kind of seek an appointment to meet up. Also, once married, when it comes to friendship, hell, even your spouse’s friends come before your own.
This is where I admire this group of Chinese friends, even though they are fulfilling their obligatory roles as wives and mothers they have had the vision to think ahead and take concrete steps to seal their friendship forever.
This is why I admire this group of Chinese friends, even though they are fulfilling their obligatory roles as wives and mothers they have had the vision to think ahead and take concrete steps to seal their friendship forever. They are waiting for their children to grow up, to become independent before they shift into this dream villa with each other. And here I am struggling to plan a trip, go out together and even meet up my friends.
Now, as I am approaching middle-age, having lived through all my responsibilities, I am realising that I am drifting back to the bond called ‘friendship’. I see my friends making time for their friends too which includes me. Even I would like to grow old with my friends, have fun, go out, or just sit on the banks of the Upper Lake in Bhopal, like we did when we were in college. What say friends!
Smita Singh is an editor with the SheThePeople team. The views expressed are her own.