Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Best Friend Trouble?


How Do You Handle A Painful Friend?

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How do we handle a good friend who  often pokes us and pricks our self esteem and prods us to confront ourselves in a manner that we would rather not. Do we do away with the friend or how do we handle it all was a question my friend Bingo posted on her facebook status. 

-She seemed to suggest the friend becomes a pain in the neck that we're better off without because she was at a stage in life when she is fairly attuned to what she wants and has chosen to be. To the many responses she elicited on her ‘wall’ the most balanced ones echoed my belief strongly.

My life has been about friends who have been part of my growth and metamorphosis, who have kept me firmly grounded in a world where it is easy to fly away with your fabulous fantasy of yourself. A best friend becomes like a spouse, whom we have to navigate and grow with. People are not like toilet tissue- you don't 'discard' them- you  also allow them to know when they're being a pain in the neck. You know, I've actually enjoyed the meanderings of understanding the ups and downs of relationships. You begin to take the good with the bad, as my good friend Tanaz so wisely said just yesterday!

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If a friend makes you confront yourself in a manner you'd rather not, but which is helpful in the long run, perhaps you need to tell them to work out a way not to prick your self esteem or poke you. That is if you are unable to take a little candid feedback. 

Few people make you confront yourself; the service and benefit may well be worth the discomfiture if done in an appropriate manner. I look to close friends for feedback and guidance.  How strange if you're walking around in a bubble of sycophants thinking you're perfect and someone so close will not tell you that it’s not okay?

The trick is to replace a person getting to you, from best friend to good friend. Happiness in profusion is something to celebrate. The more the merrier concept works for me. Dependencies are debilitating and 'bests' create the irksomeness.  Better to have a garden than a bouquet?The 'best' concept is best relegated to a Bollywood movie where Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan Khan play Karan Arjun.  "Dost dost na raha" is an extreme stand, and nearly always I've managed to handle a sticky situation by moving away for a bit of breathing space, taking a 'chill pill' and going back to it happier and able to work it happily for both me and the friend.

Serendipitously, that same afternoon, another friend was most distressed. From the other side of the fence, she didn’t know how to convey some unpleasant home truths to her friend that she felt obliged to open her friends eyes about. She had received some disturbing information that her friend was having a torrid affair while pretending to be in a secure marriage, and was keen to apprise her friend about the rumors that were being spread and if it was true, to reprimand her friend.  

The thing is, you have to do your best about being a sincere friend, but play the balance carefully. Each of us makes choices and we live life basis the set of specific conditions unique to us. So it is really not fair to judge unilaterally choices your near and dear ones have made, in accordance to their circumstances, beyond a point. So criticism must be given thoughtfully and not spurted out without care. If it doesn't suit you, I’d say, distance yourself a little bit until you've weighed the pros and cons than jump into a situation of being the odious do-gooder. 

You may be a good friend, but you are not her conscience  she has to make her choices and live by them, good or bad, because that's all about the learning curve. Sure give her advise if she seeks it, but you are not her moral gate keeper just because she chose you for a friend?

Distance! This is really my favorite solution to both the similar situations put to me this week. It buys you time to come up with solutions, it makes you  understand the consequences of your actions, and it makes your friend also work her head better so that you might not have to go through with the ordeal of apprising her of her issues.
The other hot favourite with me is to have many dear friends, but the kindergarten concept of ‘best friend’ is something we really must outgrow. 

Written for & Published by Asian Age & Deccan Chronicle worldwide
By Nisha JamVwal 
nishajamvwal@gmail.com







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