Friends With Benefits, But Not Just In The Way You’re Thinking
Friends are the extended family we choose for ourselves, let’s embrace their existence this Friendship Day.
Har ek friend zaroori hota hai, went the jingle for a tele-provider advertisement. Lately I’ve found myself anxious being the only unmarried friend in my circle might slowly alienate me from the others, not having much to offer when they discuss kids’ teething problems. At best I’d be the cool single aunt. Will having progeny in common make me trivial in their eyes?
Good news is: we can’t do without friends. The passionate responses I got while scouting anecdotes for this article is testimony. But often these friendships are born from convenience or a common thread. Adult friendships can take a turn for the good, the bad or the wild. Carrie Bradshaw can vouch for that.
The Monterey Five from Big Little Lies: The Most Convenient Option
It was a dark secret that held the threads of friendship between moms of upscale Monterey Bay. But as time went by it was the secret that got them closer and more protective about each other.
While adult friendships don’t have to have be so dramatic, it isn’t a secret that they’re hard. Now throw in the hurdles of work and physical distance. Says Arundhuti, 26, social media expert,
“I know someone for the past 10 years. Every time I think she’s a friend, she does something obnoxious. As you’re aware of the brain drain in Calcutta, most of my friends have moved. Hence, we’ve remained in touch. We sit at a cafe, smoking our stresses away. I’m worried she’s going to remain my Friend with Benefits in ways I can never understand.”
Meredith and Cristina from Grey’s Anatomy: The Work Wife
This is the Meredith to your Cristina, the one who always knows when you need a drink, and the only one who knows how you truly feel about your boss. Reveals 29-year-old designer Aditi from Bhopal, of an office friend –
“Her mom used to send food for me because she knew I wasn’t from the city. I’d even bunk lunches with the rest of the team and send her mom thank you notes for Mother’s Day. Things suddenly changed after her marriage. Of course, her mom wasn’t sending her lunch anymore, but it was as if she didn’t expect me to spend time with her anymore. As if her purpose had been served.”
Mila Kunis from Friends with Benefits: Internet Friends
When I moved to Mumbai, I was slightly unnerved at how easily people did networking. A WhatsApp message a week to keep you interested, cold and impersonal. But how different is it from having Facebook friends for birthday wishes? At least a good contact can prove beneficial. Says Sumyth, 30, copywriter,
“When your day turns as flat as a tire, you do what most millennials do in this age - Scroll through memes and laugh aloud inside your head. Except, I don’t take the efforts in searching for the best quality dankest memes. Shivam does it for me. He sweeps the darkest corners of the web and curates the best rib-tickling memes. My last 4 months of chat is 2 words repeated 219 times. SEND MEMES.”
Samantha from SATC: Friends with No Benefits
The best part about adult friendships? Cutting out toxic ones doesn’t feel so bad. Says Rohan, 35, scriptwriter,
“I realised too late into a friendship that she only called me when she wanted to vent. Or when she had bad news. She really wasn’t interested in anything about my life. I didn’t want to cut her off, so I decided to show her a mirror.”
Afreen, 32, beauty expert says,
“An ex-colleague now only texts me when she needs a quick-fix for a zit or which green tea to have. I don’t mind helping her out, but I feel upset that she only gets in touch when she needs something. Not even once to just say hi.”
Rachel and Monica from FRIENDS: Friends Like Family
We have always been told a friend in need is a friend indeed. So why malign the concept of convenience-based friends? Says Sakshi, 28, fashion designer, from Delhi.
“We have expectations from family members, so why not from our friends? I would say adult friendships stand the test of time because our requirements from them are clear. I have an old friend and we spend our evenings together after work. She’s my family in this city. I would expect her to be there for me in times of need just as I would from her. Now that she’s leaving, this place wouldn’t be the same.”
Robin and Lily from HIMYM: Hand-Picked Friends
“Adulthood friendships are far pickier. At my first workplace, I was surrounded by a mix from different fields - IT, Ecom, Sales. Within a week three of us went from complete strangers to non-judgemental comfort zones,” says Tumpa, mother, 53, Bangalore.
“We meet once a month for brunch. In the last 15 years a lot has changed for us- motherhood, divorce, ageing parents and new career. During brunch, we let our proverbial hair down, talk about kids, our significant others, discuss the current affairs, seek advice – how to deal with that jerk at work, support a child who is coming out of the closet. We joke about our ageing bodies and gossip about affairs and divorces. We call it our monthly dose of fresh air!”
So don't feel bad about the unopened notifications on your Whatsapp groups. Everyone's busy, your friends will understand. Make up for it with a SATC-esque romp around town next weekend.
The author is a fashion designer and pens the blog, ‘A Girl Named Romita’ about millennial lifestyle, fashion and pop culture. In her words, it’s judgement free, hate free and gluten free. Follow her on @agirlnamedromita on Instagram for more.)
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