If You Are Not A Diamond, Then Are You Really My friend?

Are diamonds super personified, probably due to their exorbitant, astonishing value with an ever luminescent sparkle and being a source of pleasure alongside being equally resilient for enduring pressure?

Dear William Shakespeare Sir,

Sincere apologies for merely mugging up your work — “Blow, blow, thou winter wind” for exams without understanding what you meant to say.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:

Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:

Then, heigh-ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.

Wondering how after so many years I suddenly remembered the lines and had a Eureka moment, when I could decipher the connotation of each word. The hullabaloo around the arrival of friendship day stirred my comatose memory after good twenty-two years.

That also somehow stimulated the echoing of a sentence probably read somewhere years back that ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friends.’

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The upbringing in a middle class household never led to giving too much of thought process to these un-relatable quotes.

However this sudden flashing left me gasping at the works and wonders of memory to bring out associations and connections so lucidly and aptly just when I was wondering how to celebrate friendship day.

Are diamonds really a girl’s best friends?

Suddenly these words left me wondering how the tagline is justified in the stereotypical characterization of a friend.

Are diamonds super personified, probably due to their exorbitant, astonishing value with an ever luminescent sparkle and being a source of pleasure alongside being equally resilient for enduring pressure?

Is this also defining the lens that we use to introspect and weigh friendships with? Is it that we are burdening the women to be preferring materialism over human form of friendship?

Critically feministic if one wants to get down to a core analysis. But on a lighter note for all of us who are not  making trips to tiffany, rejoice!  We have the most precious one safely harbored in our hearts —  the human forms whom we call as friends.

What does friendship symbolize?

Deliberating this friendship day on what does friendship symbolize for us? Hearty laughter, fun, feel good factor, emotional let outs and the perfect company for any occasion.

Oops! Well no… watch any Hindi film and they will shatter this simplistic conceptualization while putting you on a pedestal for demeaning their idealistic and superhumanly version of friendship.

They proclaim friendship means sacrifice and burden it with ‘I can die for you my friend.’ The sacrificial hero does die to drive this epitome version of friendship across.

Haven’t though in comparison come across many movies where the heroine is also burdened to carry the flagship of overly exaggerating what you mean to me my dear friend.’

On a blatant gender based comparative note — female protagonist and likewise in movies as compared to male counterparts are not  dying or going overboard with sacrifices.

Reason is simple, remember diamonds are their best friends? Phew and there we come back to feministic introspection.

Toxic friendships demand unrationality

Admit it, none of us in sane spaces with our rationality intact are dying for a friend. These kind of portrayals of relationships are toxic and rob it off its essence.

Seriously, I wouldn’t die for you my friend. Literally translating that to saying ‘I won’t just go too out of the way for you in the name of friendship.’ It is suffocating to be in relationship which put excessive demands on you and where you need to prove yourself each time.

We all have friends and surely agree that friendships are based on mutual benefits and also subject to risks.  Jealousy, competition, gossip, anger, confrontations and suffocation, all are there in a friendship.

Appears quite derogatory and deprecating to put these negative words and emotions in the web of friendship. Movie makers may take a serious offense.

These are not negative defining’s but rather the attributes of a normal progression in any relationship. Something all of us experience even in friendship but fail to openly acknowledge.

Time to throw away the rosy glasses

So there we are today, introspecting friendship but from a colored perspective which goes beyond the rainbow impression to also include shades of grey.

Friendship means I am there with you by default in all your good times and surface in your bad times when you call for me. However I do expect you to be there by default in all my bad times without me summoning for you.

Yes, I may also try to be there for you when needed but conditions apply.

I am human after all.  It means when I want to go out and have fun , and you come unconditionally with me. If you don’t, I secretly would harbor a grudge and will use it next time when you want me to be there. Remember in friendship we do believe in equality and use it to get even.

Dear friend, I continuously critically judge you for everything you say or do secretly but on face make statements ‘It’s okay you can tell me…I won’t judge you’.

Don’t frown, you judge me in the same ways. Reminds me of a scene from movie from 3 idiots which for probably the first time in Hindi cinema history said ‘You feel worst when your friends gets the top rank.’

Admit it we all laughed on this scene because somewhere it touched a chord and finally some offering of relief from the burden of idealism in friendship that we had carried so far.

The dialogue was actually so true and made us feel and realize we are not the only ones to have experienced this thought in friendship.

‘Teri jeet meri jeet…teri haar meri haar.’

‘Your win is my win and your loss my loss!’ Is little too idealistic.

Should be teri jeet and also meri jeet alongside calls for celebration. And teri haar is not meri haar but yes meri haar can be yours too.

Let’s change the way we hummed it all along.

Celebrate this friendship day differently by being honest.

  • Having grown up with you, you are a habit and inevitably there.
  • I genuinely like you.
  • I have told you many secrets to the extent that I can’t afford to be in your bad books or annoy you! Too risky! So let’s maintain the guise of friendship.
  • You are successful and everyone likes you so I tag along, though I wish we could exchange the shoes.
  • You are useful; personally, professionally, socially, emotionally and of course financially! Though the last ones requires me to put extra efforts.
  • I can be myself with you. Not completely 100% though as that’s dark and you would run away. But yes to a large extent. That also means being myself is equally taxing on you but I pressurize you to bear it. After all we are friends! You owe me this much.
  • You are generous and I am always in need
  • You can solve all my problems, though I wish I could even listen with all my heart to some of yours.
  • I feel you are always one step or many behind me, so it boosts my ego, a bit.
  • I am confused if it’s friendship or something else. Before you conclude a crush or love interest! Let’s think beyond! It could be that I know you for so long that it’s been labeled friendship yet I think of you as one.
  • You were my crush or I was the poor soul in love triangle, quadrangle and so now so I buried the emotions under friendship umbrella.
  • You go Dutch. I like to then go out with you.
  • We share the same likes and tastes! And so it’s easy on my pocket to order the same dish from hotel or bargain unabashedly in front of you.
  • I am too lazy to look out for new friends.
  • I need you for I am a social bird. I need to have my Facebook, Instagram , Twitter with a big big list of friends. I can show it around.
  • You are free most of the time and available or make yourself available.
  • I can’t figure out what made us friends…
  • You called me a friend and I never gave a thought to it.

The list goes on! But on friendship day we acknowledge all these types in the list. It is a day that is supposed to overwhelm you with the number of people who send you wishes proclaiming you mean the world to them!

Do we read the messages before forwarding?

I bet most of us before forwarding these messages do not even read them well and connect them to the kind of bond we share with the person to whom we send.

Reciprocal response is that this person randomly selects one forward and sends it back to us. Friendship message account balance sheet okayed, account closed and reopens next year again on friendship day.

A reality check, therefore, is needed to analyze what does friendship means to us and who are the real friends.

No denying that the top on the list always happens to be someone from school usually. It is so easy to strike conversation with people from school and how often those whom we did not interact much in school later become the besties.

Friends, Enemies or Frenemies?

Reason — there is no much pretense even if you want to, as they have seen you in your ugly duckling phase and still cannot accept your transformation into the beautiful swan.

That is so comforting you largely remain etched into their memories as the same simple, naive, stupid, dumb etc and that really puts you at ease. The way this relationship is meant to be.

This also brings us to the common friend that all of us have but never acknowledged and completely faded in negligence. Yup that means my biggest friend is me to myself as that’s someone who knows me 100 percent.

As a women my best friend is also my education which has empowered me enough to contemplate the world from my own perspective.

Count the number friends on your fingers

This friendship day, filter out from the many people you send these forwards too.

Many of us would then be actually able to count on fingers who are really the ones to be getting these messages. Instead to randomly spamming each other with messages written by someone else, pen a simple line and send it those who really fall in your definition of friends.

Rest all are contacts and acquaintances who hold meanings and significance yet should not be promoted or rather pressurized to accommodate in our friendship zone.

Relax as there is no prize ever for forwarding same messages to all in contact list. It’s no shame either if you truly feel like sending it to only a few. Nothing to worry if you feel like there is no one you want to wish.

There is always this one person who is always a friend and that is YOU.

Be your own friend

On this friendship day, hug yourself and vow to remain friends with yourself through thick and thin.

On a lighter note, keep forwarding the friendship messages randomly to each and every one you know since you may have time. It’s a Sunday after all. If nothing else, these messages may acknowledge the creativity of the one who penned them.

Image Source: Still from Veere Di Wedding, via Canva Pro

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About the Author

Dr Pooja Birwatkar

I am a post doctorate in social sciences, specializing in education and a professor at Somaiya Vidyavihar University. My areas of expertise are Research , Life skills and Management of Education. I am a voracious reader read more...

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