16.7.08

There's nothing as interesting or satisfying as discussing the nuances of a subject that is currently occupying your attention. Also, yes, potentially highly boring to others. But we'll ignore that. Which is why we continue wondering about friends and friendship.

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In the last post, when KM commented that "there's also some who make you go "huh? why the hell was I hanging out with this guy in college?", it touched on something I've been thinking about a lot recently.

Namely, how do we form friendships with certain people?

A simple answer is this. But that's a little too simple. After much pondering, the conclusion I've reached to the above answer is this -

1) Proximity
2) Chance
3) Compatibility

How so? Thus so.

Your oldest...your first friends are likely to be people who lived nearby. They would then be followed by friends from school, then college, then work. And other places you might have lived through your life. 'Tis human nature. You see someone day after day after boring day, and you eventually strike up a conversation, and it goes from there. It's the sheer regular presence of someone that eventually makes you get along with them. And it's only when you have time away from them that you really that, in many cases, you don't really know them, and that you're not really friends, just friendly*.

Then there's chance (and circumstance). Meeting friends of friends. Children of your parents' friends. Relatives of your neighbours. Being introduced to someone at a party. Striking up conversations in a train. At a bus-stop. In the supermarket queue. At a bar. Random, unforeseeable meetings where you realise that the person across/besides/on top of you** is actually worth keeping in touch with.

And there's compatibility. Where you choose the friends you make on the basis of a mutual interest in something. Cricket. Quizzes. Pratchett. Indie-rockers. Food-blogging. Alcohol-photography (heh). Where you decide to go to clubs/forums/meetings where you know there will be others of a similar bent of mind to yours, and you select to become closer to some of them.

Of course, whether these friendships last, or how deep they are, is a different matter altogether.

So. Now you know. Today's "Gosh! That was obvious" session is now over. Please deposit dakshina in the room to your left marked 'Give as much as you can'. Thank you, and many papayas to you.


* Which is why if you no longer live where you used to, and happen to go back, and bump into somebody you spent months and years playing alongside, especially in the long summer days, you sometimes realise you have nothing in common - had nothing in common - except the fact that you could see each other's windows.
** Whaaaat? It happens.

14 comments:

spark said...

so true.....many of my first friends who i know for like 12-14 years now......god we are so so so different....just dat we started off together....... dats it all y we are still in touch!!

shyam said...

Why are you a purveyor of such apt gyaan, huh? I feel so predictable (even to myself) when I keep nodding my head in agreement with whatever you write!

Re ** - you forgot "below you" - that happens too :D

shyam said...

Er, I think I meant "under you". But whatevah.

Lekhni said...

Agreed. And since most of us don't try too hard to seek out people with common interests (like joining Pratchett fan clubs or tennis clubs) we are stuck with proximity and chance. Sometimes chance leads us to people with common interests.

??! said...

spark:
Ah, so you do know the feeling. And hello.

Shyam:
One states the obvious. It is one's mission. Also, one's curse.

And there were other options too...

lekhni:
Ah yes. I forgot to mention this. But so true.

Metrosexual Monk said...

have you started a new 'self realisation' series? whatever it may be, you seem to be churning out nothing but truth.
you should probably rename your blog "this is a mirror"

*bookmarked as 'real-world bible'

km said...

You know, this topic can provide enough fodder for an entire blog. (there's an idea.)

The question is, are those three factors (that you mentioned) sufficient or necessary conditions for friendship?

I think there's some other intangible factor at play that decides who we get to be friends with. No, not "chance", but really a connection that runs deeper than merely shared tastes in rock music or a love for Proust or red wine.

??! said...

MetMo:
Oh we do exposition quite a bit on this here place. You should see some of the earlier stuff. Used to keep Flaffy quite amused.

KM:
this topic can provide enough fodder for an entire blog
Which is why you can expect a post or two more on the same topic in the next few days ;)

Now you're getting mystical. Which is good. I get what you're saying though - the post started off with "how do form friendships", then got altered. You got more ideas on theory?

dipali said...

So true, so true,??!

Shefaly said...

Next month, I shall meet a friend again for the first time after 1980. I shall have to think after the meeting if we had more than 'our moms are close friends, we live close to each other and can walk to each other's in 3 minutes' in common.

I do think however we have a lot of good acquaintances and few close friends, where 'friend' is used in the pre-Facebook. non-verb-able sense.

Acquaintances should fulfil 2 of your 3 criteria to continue to be acquaintances; friends usually last without criteria. My closest friends live far away, and are very different from me in all possible ways so 2 of 3 do not work.

??! said...

dipali:
Glad you think so.

Shefaly:
That meeting sounds very interesting. And I agree with what you said about acquaintances and friends. You realise who's what type over time and events.

unpredictable said...

Uncanny, but i was thinking this on my way home from work yest. Hey wait, I once wrote a post on the role of context in meeting and sustaining friendships!!! Oh well.

DewdropDream said...

Actually, I do ave two friends with whom I have only one connection: Chance.

They're my childhood friends and I met the recently, after a gap of 18 years. And yeah you'd think that's cause enough for awkward pauses, silences and 'wthell am I doing here' type introspection... but it wasn't. It was sweet how 18 years fells away and didn't seem to matter one bit. We're neither in any proximity to each other, nor have any sort of compatibility... nothing except vague memories of a long-gone childhood... and surprisingly, that has been enough for us. Or maybe, it seems so great because we've managed to not go deep into who we actually are and are simply enjoying the surface-personalities of each other.

I have no idea why I just wrote all this.

??! said...

unpredictable:
I have a theory on the convergence of ideas and posts. Must remember to write it.

DD:
Who knows why we do anything?

But that's true too. Sometimes we do reconnect with people we've lost touch with. Or even those we couldn't stand in the first place.