Monday, November 8, 2010

The little things you do

"Dear God, please make me slim, fair and beautiful. And in case you can't, please make all my girl friends fat and ugly".
No, no, no...please don't get me wrong. This is not a wish from my side. It is a common joke on female friendship that floats about. Honestly, I could never laugh after reading this joke. It makes me stand in front of a very uncomfortable question: can girls really be friends to each other? Or to frame it little differently, do women really value friendship!

I think it is a pure social conditioning that, in our country when most girls are growing up, they are often taught separate set of values, separate set of priorities than the boys. Thus, it is taught to them, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly that her husband or husband's family has supreme priority over anything else in the world ! No,even she as a person do not generally feature in that priority list. And of course friends are never ever there in that list. In fact, the girl is considered quite dysfunctional, if she has too many friends that she cares about!

Now, fortunately or unfortunately I was brought up with "progressive ideologies" and always viewed friendship as something that too needs to be nurtured along with other relationships. As a result of this ideology and the resultant expectations, I have had plenty of experiences that shook my belief in friendship from my same gender time and again. And later on when I evaluated the situation, it somehow always boiled down to the social conditioning or insecurities of girls/women that actually make them selfish or even narrow. Let me share some examples.

It was a packed class room where an exam was supposed to begin in a few minutes. I reached the place
with one of my best friends in tow. There was only one coveted seat in the first row (yes we were the typical "first-benchers" ;-) ), but many in the last. I waited for my friend thinking we will sit together. But she dodged me in a mad rush to reach the place in the first row. She pretended complete unawarenes of the situation and I pretended the same and yes we are friends even today. But yes, I knew from that time onwards, how insecure she is as a person and how much she will give me her hand if I am sinking!
Examples like this can go on for pages. Friends completely forgetting the existence of their so-called "best friends" after getting married or friends shutting their doors on you during week ends as that's the "family time" etc etc!

There is one even funnier fact is that as a woman, if you believe in giving some priority to your friends you are considered to be one unhappy soul, who did not get enough attention from her male counterpart. I actually think it is the opposite. If you are a happy person, at ease with your relationships, you actually have more love to give, to share. It is not too tough to strike a balance only if you believe in yourself as a person.

Don't get me wrong, I still have girl friends who lend a shoulder to cry in times of need, or do fun things together (and some of them will be reading this blog too :-) ) but somehow that group feels to be a minority. I so wish, that we as women learn to strike a balance between our 'domestic lives" and everything else someday soon. We need to learn to live fully. Not just as someone's daughter, wife or mother but as a person and only then we will be able to appreciate the true meaning of friendship or any other relationship for that matter.

This post will remain incomplete if I do not acknowledge all my friends, who have proved much more beyond the social stereotypes. Who beyond being a mother, a wife or a daughter have proved to be an equally caring friend to all her female friends as well. They have proved that diamonds are not necessarily a girl's best friend.
And to tell them how much I value their friendship, I am simply going to copy from the recent Vodaphone advertisement, which I love so much.

Little things you do for me
and no body else makes me feel good
little things you do for me
making me smile and no one else could
that’s why I like to sit next to you
and hear your mad stories/ I know they are not true
and I like that we share a secret or two together
little things you do for me...


  1. I was thinking a lot about this....neutrally !

    Yes, I am fortunate to have friends throughout my life who are girls, though at any point, I never had many of them !

    I do not think girls are selfish or they can't value friendship but I think as the life progresses their priority change. However, by nature, girls are more adaptable and they adjust their priority with the changed life. And as they don’t prioritize themselves, they don’t prioritize there friendship also! Would you be angry with them ?? nah, I think !

    Yes, I do agree there are people (i wont say only girls, but boys also)who tend to forget you during crisis.....but then will u call them friends in first place ? I doubt ! I would say it is rather one'e mistake to consider them friends at all.

    When I was thinking of women friendship, the first example came to my mind was my mother and her friends….. a group of six or seven wives and school teachers...stood by each other through ups and downs for nearly about 25 years !!...As they go out for all ladies picnic once a year, latest movies or new restaurant in town, they also provide support to each other when one's son-in-law falls seriously sick in remote city, or one's husband undergoes major heart operation or at least one is unwell to cook, they send out dishes in turn. They never needed to show they care as they really care !!

    I believe this is not an exception..everyone has something to share like this…so the joke is actually a joke ! 

  2. A candid and insightful post - as always.
    It's sadly true, to a considerable extent, that women often find themselves displaying the crab-in-a-barrel syndrome, and spread a lot of negativity about each other, consciously or unconsciously. However, I can say that a lot of the common talk on malebonding is nothing less than a myth.

  3. @Moumita: Glad to see the positivism on this issue from you. I do agree that it is impossible to generalize and yes a lot depends on how your friends are as a person, irrespective of their gender. But I also feel that,women because of their social conditioning tend to score lower on an average in this issue of maintaining and nurturing friendship! It actually should have been opposite as by nature, women are more caring and sensitive souls. It is entirely my personal opinion that somewhere the chauvinistic social conditioning does come in the way of nurturing female friendship. Your mom's friends circle's example does seem like an exception to me but I am so happy to learn about it.

  4. I don't know exactly what to comment but I guess this is true. I have heard these kind of events from some of my friend during college life. Anyway keep up the good work dear.

  5. Dont know why, have often come across this overwhelming pangs of self-deprecation by women claiming that women cannot be good friends to each other.

    But your post has been extremely refreshing. Couldnt agree more as to how women are conditioned with different sets of priorities. Well penned! :)

  6. A wonderful writeup Arunima! Will be more regular here henceforth. And thanks for your warm and encouraging words. Am touched. :-)