We all love “Sex and the City” for its ravishing protagonists, their chic wardrobes and dainty sandals, the high life, not to mention Mr Big who makes many of us go weak in the knees, but above all what’s appealing is how these 4 women manage to keep their friendship alive and not just “manage”but make efforts to reach out to each other in times of need, or good times, in times of despair, in celebrations and every small event in their lives. 2 of them Miranda and Charlotte become Mommies in the later seasons but that doesn’t act as a deterrent in their friendship. Watching the 4 of them share that Saturday brunch which is like a weekend ritual as they pour out their hearts content, chat about the men in their life, share their dreams and fears- makes me sometimes wish I had a super duper girly gang like that.
I know it’s just a soap and looking at real life, everything is not so hunky dory. As much we all would love to maintain such friendships, it is practically quite difficult especially for women. And once you become a Mommy, getting some “me time” to even visit a beauty salon is a challenge, let alone going for a leisurely lunch with friends. I once read an article which said that though women pride themselves as having outsmarted men in almost everything, when it comes to friendships they are found lagging behind.
So what are the reasons driving this?
First and foremost is as we grow older- transition from college to jobs, grow more senior then get married and have babies- the change in our life is profound. It demands more time and attention and we often end up neglecting ourselves, so where’s the time for friends ?
Also as women get older they find it more difficult to make new friends, reasons could be many. Maybe life’s experiences have made us more cautious or it’s just that “I have my family which keeps me so busy I really don’t even need a friend. If you give me a few extra hours all to myself, I would rather spend them snuggling in bed cuddling up with a book or pamper myself with a facial”
Then at times with old friends as time passes you loose the “connect” factor. For instance if you became friends working in the same organisation – chances are when one of you moves out there will soon be little to talk. All those times you spent gossiping about the boss or bitching about that annoying colleague will hold little or no amusement once one of you is not even in the picture.
Or if you were childhood or college friends and though you spent endless hours chatting and giggling , as time passes and you moved on – one of you got married settled down with the responsibility of a home and kids and other became the career woman who’s life centered around boardrooms and deadlines, you realise there is so little in common. You fall short of topics to discuss. After the initial round of enquiries and talking about some common people, there is an air of awkwardness and we think we are better of just sending a whatsapp message.
Social media is to blame in some ways for this- while its a boon, it’s also a curse. Instead of meeting or wishing the person on phone, we prefer a FB Bday post or a whatsapp message , an e card or Myntra ordered gift is an easy substitute rather than showing up and surprising the bday girl with a bouquet of flowers.
Also, as women being extra sensitive and over analysing beings that we are, we tend to take too much to heart, over interpret and brood over things for too long. A friend seemed disinterested when we are talking something important or cracked a joke making a fool of us in front of a group or forgot our bday/anniversary, we take it a tad too seriously. Unlike men who shake it off and move on, it takes longer for us.”Who does she think she is, I have better work to do than spend time with her”. I am guilty of this many times but over time I have realised its not worth sulking over these petty matters. If someone is a true friend, then one day I would repent letting her/him walk out of my life and then it would be too late, so let me not take these miniscule matters to my heart.
Also in case of a friendship among opposite sexes, once either of the 2 or both get married, they are a bit hesitant in maintaining the relationship with the same vigour as earlier. Of course times are changing and I firmly believe a man and woman can have a platonic relationship. In fact I have some amazing male friends who are my best friends but however liberal we proclaim ourselves to be, the truth is- the spouse would often not be comfortable with the 2 meeting all by themselves and if as couples they all get along well, that would be great else its always an effort maintaining that friendship.
Then again comes those category of friends who are not our soul mates to whom we pour our heart out but just a hi bye friend whom we may like to hang out in a group- go for a movie, shopping, or drinks in a big group, let your hair down in a disc or have a potluck with. Here again, if women do hang out for long away from home, you will see the uneasiness, a crease appear on the forehead, frantic calls to the maid or husband to check if the child is allright, has he had his lunch? Though each of us would have made arrangements for food, for the kids to be taken care of, we still can’t seem to let go of that worry factor which keeps haunting us. Its like Cinderella at at Royal Ball. The clock strikes 12 and off she runs, before any untoward incident occurs. We really need to relax, we hardly get such times together and the sole purpose is to have a few hours of fun, but if we are constantly worried about home, then the whole purpose of such outings is defeated.
Everyone needs friends- your kids, husband, busy schedule, being a working mom, having a host of hobbies, nothing can make up for it. Be it a soul sister whom you share all your dreams and fears with or that crazy friend who makes you go equally crazy with her funny antics or that friends whom you turn to when you need some professional advice or opinion on handling a situation, a girl gang or group where you may not be particularly close to anyone but collectively as a group you end up spending some good time together which makes you feel fresh and energetic, could be many different kind of people. You may or may not love everyone to the core and even those whom you are really close to may end up saying something which may not appeal to you at times or may fail to keep in touch for numerous reasons. Based on my life’s experiences I have realised one cannot undermine the place of friends. Maybe at this juncture my work life coupled with taking out time for my little one, the household chores, having my best friends in my family members make me feel I am self sufficient and a few not so good experiences with people who were once so close moving away and not keeping in touch, plus a bitter taste of friendships in the corporate world make me feel wary. However,there are a few awesome friends who reinstill my faith in this bond and make me re evaluate my thinking.
A fair bit of effort is required in maintaining old friendships and the amount of effort goes up as we get busier catering to the demands of our children and family, but its also important not to forget our well being. Its good to be a bit selfish sometimes.
I am sure there are a couple of you who still maintain great friendships, hang out with your pals more frequently than others and you may not agree to this, that case you deserve at pat on your back for managing it so well. For the rest us, probably now is the time to “action” that dinner date, or surprise that old friend with an impromptu visit to her home, or just make a phone call to that gang of college friends and call them to Starbucks for a coffee, I bet they wont say no! Now is the time to go and rekindle that old bond and bring back that feel good factor.
Reminds me of the evergreen Jai Veeru “ye dosti hum nahi todenge”