Tuesday, December 9, 2008

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

At a house party recently, I ran into someone I kind of knew a few years ago, at best as a work colleague, although there was a fair bit of random socializing involved. Since I don’t believe in making friends at work, and since our sensibilities were as different as chalk and cheese, I had unwittingly checked her off my list thereafter. However when we met this time, there still was residual warmth, and we kind of bonded. The husband asked me if we were friends, and I didn’t quite know the answer to that. “Not really,” I said. He was perplexed.

The problem with women—at least most of the ones I know, is that we have higher benchmarks in friendships compared to our male counterparts. The transition from acquaintance to friend takes a while, that from friend to close friend, or someone that forms part of your inner circle takes even longer, and that from close friend to best friend takes a lifetime, and usually never happens.

Men on the other hand have very low expectations. In fact they don’t even care if the friends never show up, except when it is convenient to them. Notice how easily they use the term “best friend” while you analyse to death even before you use it for someone you’ve known over two decades?

It’s quite simple for them:

Anybody you drinks the same beer as you is your friend.

Anyone who smses you is your friend.

Anyone who answers your sms is your friend.

Anyone who supports the same football team as you is your friend.

Anyone who loves making tequila shots is your friend.

Anyone who plays pool with you is your friend.

Anyone who shows up… anywhere is your friend.

It doesn’t matter if they never showed up at your wedding.

It doesn’t matter if they never called when your mother was in hospital.

It doesn’t matter if all they did was freeload off you, and never delivered when it came to their turn.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t know where you live.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t know your cat’s name. Or the fact that you have one.

It doesn’t matter if they got you into a financial mess and then threw their hands up.

It must be truly liberating to be a man.

I have several male friends who are never sure who will show up at their parties, so just to add numbers, they invite absolute randoms. On the contrary there are others who only hang with one or two select friends for years, decades, and are not embarrassed having a birthday party for four people. I totally get that.

Which is why, whenever there is talk of inviting people over, and we are down to a list, and the husband says, “Lets invite four or five extras in case people don’t show up,” I am amused. If you are a friend, you show up, there is no two ways about it, at least in my book.

May be if men invested as much emotion in their friendships as they did in their beers or football, they’d end up not so poor after all.

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