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We all have friends – school friends, college friends, neighbourhood friends, friends at work, shopping friends, exercise / walking friends, social media (Twitter, Blog, etc.) friends, mummy friends, cribbing friends, laughing friends.. and so on. There are just so many different opportunities for anyone to make friends, and just so many kinds of possible friends. And so is the case for women.
But increasingly, as I converse with my immediate network of women colleagues/acquaintances and friends, I observe a few trends:
(1) Many women don’t really know who their “FRIENDS” are
(2) Many women don’t have anyone whom they can call out as “GOOD FRIENDS”
(3) Many women well into their 30s/40s look back (rather regretfully) at their own life, and say that they’re to blame for friendships falling apart simply because they did not give it the required time, attention and effort
– My discussions / interactions are with women between the age of 25 years to 65 years
– By many, I mean more than 65%
Anyone who had / has good friends will vouch for the fact that friends can make all the difference in your life. Good friends can provide that much needed ear, hand, shoulder, hug, laugh, time, advice and support during the highs and lows of what life has to offer. Friends can sometimes be the only ones who listen to you, who can sympathize with you, who can empathize with you, who believe in you (even when everyone else has given up), who ask the right questions, who don’t expect answers when you don’t want to answer and those who can see you through the stormy and rough tides.
And yet, I can’t help but wonder why women stop investing in friendships after a point.
I don’t know if it is conscious or unconscious
I don’t know if it is by choice or lack of choice
I don’t know if it is circumstantial or not
I don’t know if it is time-bound or forever
But I do know that it is real..
And the fact is many women stop investing in friendships
Personally, I think a woman’s friendships depend on
* Age : It is easier to make friends when you are younger than as you get old
* Your upbringing : In some houses, families are so close knit that there is no need for friendships or friendships are not encouraged (especially with the opposite sex)
* Personality: whether you are an extrovert / introvert, talkative / not-so-talkative, etc.
* Critical life milestones: For e.g.: Especially after marriage a lot of women let-go of old friends (male and female) either by choice or compulsion ; After you become a mother purely for lack of time
* The phase of life you are in. For e.g.: Parent, Grandparent, etc.
* Your life priorities : Many times, women let-go of friendships, especially if they are taking you away from where you are headed
* Your living environment
* Your family
The first truth is this | Increasingly, many women don’t have the time to invest in friendships after an age or phase of life – In most cases, the intent is there; but there are so many things to do on a daily basis that friendships take a back-seat!
The second truth is this | I do know that it is worthwhile for women to invest in friendships – especially if you have common values or interests or a common thought process. It can do wonders to how much you learn from the interactions, how your perspectives can change and how much exposure you get to the world outside your own world!
The beauty of friendship is that it is your choice on who you want to be-friend, how close you want to be with your friend(s), how you develop and nurture the friendship, how much time you invest and how far you are willing to go for the cause of friendship.
The last truth is this | After a point in life, it is hard for anyone, especially women to make new friends. It is a lot easier to re-connect with old friends. You have a history, existing foundation with old friends – And they are open and willing to accept you, and pick up from where you left off. Thanks to technology and Social media, it is easier to revive old friendships than it was decades ago. All that is required is a little time, effort and genuine good-will from your end.
So make the time and effort to revive old friendships
Make the time and effort to build new friendships if that’s a possibility
And most importantly, invest in meaningful friendships
In the long run, your life will be more meaningful, rewarding, richer and fulfilling if you can share it with a few good friend!
What’s your view on this subject? Leave a comment to let me know
Pic credit: Melilab (Used under a Creative Commons license)