[[http://home.iitk.ac.in/student/abhayag/|Abhaga]] recently made a [[http://abhaga.blogspot.com/2004/08/one-year-21-days.html|post discussing friendship]] and friends. Friendship and relationships in general have always fascinated me. However, in this post I’ll just restrict myself to friendship. BTW, I’m supposed to be working on the camera ready version of my paper right now, but since our NFS server has crashed, I’m forced to do “timepass”.
Anyways, coming back to friends. I won’t waste time trying to define friendship. Its like defining love, perhaps worse. Its like trying to tighten ur fist around grains of sand and they just slip out, or like Heisenberg’s uncertainly principle :D See, there I’m almost trying to define it now :) I could never grasp the concept of a best friend. Not when I was a kid, and certainly not know.
My take is that when we’re young and as all children are, imaginative and more creative… at that age, the notion of a “best friend” is simply symbolic. Symbolic in terms of denoting your “experience” in the society if you will. If a 3rd grader doesn’t have a best friends, he’d probably feel “inferior” or even “outcast”. However, people stick to this notion even as they grow old.
I can understand having a lot of good friends. But I can never understanding having one best friend. Needless to add, having “many” best friends is just syntactically incorrect, so I won’t even go there. But think about it. Here’s this person you call your best friend. What does that mean? Is this person your most trust worthy confidant? Sharing, caring and looking after you? Or doing all that by your definition a friendship entails, and doing it better than anyone else? What do YOU feel towards him? Do you feel this relation should be symmetric? What does it mean to have a best friend who doesnt consider you as a best friend? Do you trust your best friend? What is so “best” about him/her?
To me, the concept just doesn’t make sense. I can proudly say that I’m fortunate enough to have known a lot of wonderful people in my life so far, and I’m really glad in my heart for the friends I have. Like I said before, I have a lot of really great friends, but I would never dare label a “best” friend, because implicitly it implies a comparison among friends. And that, is a concept that I absolutely loathe.
My model of friendship is based on what I like to call the circle of trust. My relationships all fall in different circles of trust. In the innermost circle, the center, its just me. I don’t trust any one more than or even as much as I trust myself. But that is the nature of the thinking being, I guess. I mean, if you believe the “I think, therefore I am” philosophy. In any case, for whatever reasons, I don’t think there will ever be anyone inside that innermost circle of trust. There are some things, which I wouldn’t like to share with anyone, ever. And AFAIK, almost everyone has such secrets — they might be silly, but they do exist.
Then comes the next circle — for me, this would consist of your family, your spouse and maybe some very very close friends. From this point onwards, the circles are very very subjective. As you go farther out from the center, the trust level decreases. The outermost circle is for just connections and acquaintences. Now you might ask, am I not contradicting myself by “comparing” friends when I put them into different circles of trust?
But look at it this way, I can put a person in a circle of trust independently of where everyone else is placed. So its not really a “comparison” in the strict sense. It is a kind of evaluation, if you will, but we all do that naturally, so I think its okay. However, in labeling a “best friend” you have to do an implicit comparison of one friend against another, because an independent evaluation doesn’t make sense.
As Abhaga says, sometimes we should just stop and think and be grateful for the wonderful people in our lives. Cheers to all friends, and friendship! :)