Free Ka Gyaan: What No Woman Wants From Her Friends

Unsolicited Advice, Naina and Aditi
Unsolicited advice from friends: When it comes to friendship, each one of us seeks different things from this relationship. Some seek comfort, companionship, guidance or just a solid shoulder to cry on, while others see friends as a board to bounce off their ideas, who will always have a tip or two to offer, when presented with a problem. Most friendships are a mix and match or more things than one mentioned here. But what happens when the trait that defines your friendship becomes a knife that threatens to cut it short?

Now, I have a handful friends to begin with, and yet, there have been times when I have pulled the plug on a friendship or two, because the relationship felt more like a coaching class that I didn’t sign up for. There were endless lectures and scrutiny on what I could do better. There was a better way to wear my hair, dress up, clean up my home, raise my kid and even reorganise my cupboard. These were friendships that I had forged in the earlier part of my life. When friendship was all we had, apart from our parents and siblings to care about. I guess that changes once you start adulting.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that marriage and starting my own family changed my perspective on friendships. During our teens and 20s, we have more stamina and patience for people. We are willing to tolerate the bothersome traits of our friends because the thought of losing a friendship seems gutting. The rose-tinted glasses of dosti prevent us from seeing how things being said for our “betterment” could just be a compulsion on a person’s part to mould us to their liking, or just a way for them to have more control over us, or to make us realise how their advise makes us and our lives better.

But once you get married, hold a job and have kids, you honestly just lose the bandwidth. In your thirties and onwards, life is one big blur of chores, responsibilities and EMIs. During these exhaustive years, what we want from a friendship changes too. In fact, a recent study claims that communication with friends helps women reduce levels of cortisol- a hormone associated with stress. So you may choose to agree, or disagree, when I write that in these times we need a friend who would just let us vent it out, have a drink with us in silence, or simply laugh at nonsensical Instagram reels over a cup of coffee.

Do we want them to disapprove of our messy drawers and uncared for skin? Do we want them to remind us that we desperately need to lose some weight or, wear clothes that are appropriate for our body type? Do we want friends who will judge us for that occasional third glass of wine on a night out, instead of ensuring that they have our back? Most married women with families are surrounded by people who love to tell them how they can do their chores better, so why would they want their friends to pile up more on that front?

Do I miss my lost friendships? Yes. Do I regret cutting off my friends? No. I have realised that no friendship is worth the effort if it makes you miserable, sad and cranky or requires a superhuman effort to maintain. There are other relationships in our life for this job profile and some of them are forged in blood or legal documents.

So don’t feel guilty if you cut off a friend who can’t stop offering unsolicited advice to you, even when you drop ample hints that this behaviour makes you unhappy. Yes, friendships forged in the early years of your life are special. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make new friends later in life. What matters is surrounding yourself with people who make you feel happier and at peace.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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Do Friendships Become Exhausting After A Certain Age?