Intoduction A very close friend of this author, now living in Chennai, narrated his experience recently. He had been living for almost a decade in Mumbai, working as a Senior Manager in Mumbai. His wife was also a teacher. He had taken VRS and wanted to come back to Chennai, where he had his own flat. His son was also into engineering in a deemed University near Tanjore and he would like to drop in at least once in a way. And his daughter would enter into Arts education in the next two years. Everything was fine. He had very good friendships in Mumbai and had not been in touch with them as often as he would have liked too. Yet, a few dropped in and stayed with him when they wanted to visit Ooty or Kodaikanal, once in a way. This friend was happy with each of his friends, all of whom had lived in Mumbai for decades. He was in fact far better. Many, including this author, do not maintain such friendships. It is never deliberate. The " will call up tomorrow" attitude and mind-set happens and we are lose friends and good relatives as well. Five common mistakes are: a) Not keeping in touch when we migrate to a new city b) Terminating friendships on assumptions/ wrong information c) Fighting with friends on silly issues d) Never acting selflessly but on commercial basis and e) Disrespecting poor relatives.
Not keeping in touch when we migrate to a new city We have good friends and even some relatives in a big city where we live. As already narrated above, when we go to another place, we always forget old friends. The new task of settling down becomes very difficult. We tend to relate more to new friends and neighbours. Only what s up calls and messages follow, as far as old friends are concerned. As early as fifteen years ago, even Facebook was not that famous as it is today. We must really call each friend at least once a week. We must take part in family functions like marriages of their sons and daughters and help them to the extent we can. We never do all this. After a decade, we tend to regret for the loss of all good friends who would have either forgot us or would have easily migrated to other cities too. Sometimes they would be living in the very same city that we live in. Since they would be in some remote corner, and we were not in touch, around four years would just pass by. And when we meet them in a marriage, we would be embarrassed that we did not say hello or even bother to know about their welfare.
These days, Facebook is a big plus. We can easily get across to people and get things done in a flash. Even Skype is a good vehicle. We need to find out various ways and means to devote a few minutes every week to at least stay in touch. Even missing a thirty minutes of a particular TV serial is enough to get this done.After all, YouTube is always there and we can watch the episode later.
Terminating friendships on assumptions/wrong information This is another very big mistake. It happened to a friend years ago. His son got married to a girl from a very rich family. The marriage reception itself was so grand. Most of the girl's relatives were based abroad. They were very fashionably dressed. On the reception day, the girl insisted that she visit the best beauty parlour in the city to get groomed. She wore a stunning Kanchipuram sari and a highly fashionable sleeveless blouse. The mother of the girl and six of other aunts and neighbours wore such dresses and everything resembled a fashion parade. The lavish spread of too many vegetarian dishes even made everything so grand.
The father of the boy had never asked for so much luxury. Neither did he know that the girl and her relatives would put up such a grand show. A mutual friend, who had literally been instrumental in getting the marriage finalized even started feeling guilty that he had not obtained full information about the girl 's family. As it often happens, we jump to conclusions based on what we immediately see. In spite of such a grand show, it later became known that the girl's father, who was very rich, had actually executed a grand plan to serve the same food to three hundred orphan children on the same night, without any fuss. However, the mutual friend started withdrawing from the boy 's parents. The boy went to the USA, did some further course there, and stayed back. He never returned. The boy's parents were so sorry that the mutual friend had totally misunderstood the situation. He had imagined that the gentleman would also migrate to the USA within one year. And he had thought that since he had very rich new relatives, he would not respect anyone. It took hours and days of explanation to make this mutual friend understand his folly. The orphanage donation came as a shock to him. Within four days, the girl's father, a senior official in the Ministry of Defense from New Delhi, came down to Chennai and invited the boy s parents for dinner at a very famous vegetarian restaurant. This mutual friend was invited too. This changed everything. The cat came out of the bag. The gentleman still had agricultural income every year and this was not taxed. He just wanted to celebrate his girl's s wedding in a grand way. Otherwise, he and his wife were very simple people and deeply religious people as well. This mutual friend understood his wrong assumptions about something he thought was true of such a nice family. When there are so many relatives living abroad, it is but natural that some of them may be very fashionably dressed. This by itself never makes them bad people. One must go deeper to understand people. The mutual friend 's son had to visit New Delhi on some official work. The gentleman arranged to make his visit so comfortable. Gradually, the two families became so close and this boy, an MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Management went on to marry the daughter of the cousin of the very same gentleman!!
The moral of the aforesaid true life story is that we should never jump to conclusions. We need to understand people far better. Only if people are unethical, we need to keep away. Otherwise, we should never have wrong perceptions about anyone.
Fighting with friends on silly issues This is another problem. If our son does not find our friend s son helpful on a particular issue, we are so upset and pick up silly fights. Or if some relative is not able to attend our family wedding for some reason, we become so angry and even abuse such relatives. All such behaviour should be totally avoided.
Never acting selflessly but on commercial basis With friends and relatives, we often talk on commercial terms. We talk to them on conditional basis. The " what is there for it for me?" question becomes so obvious. To some extent, since the whole world is now so commercial, we get away with a feeling that everything is okay. It is not so. Our friends and relatives are immediately put off. They may not show it on their faces. They will share their agony or bad feeling with someone and we would learn about their feelings, we later become very sad. By then, the damage would have already been done. We should never talk to anyone on a commercial basis. Irrespective of whether they are very rich or middle class or poor people.
Disrespecting poor relatives This is another big mistake. In weddings, we tend to give the poor relatives a big cold shoulder. We do not think twice before insulting such people. Such behaviour is not only not desirable, but also unethical. Only we are above sixty five years old, we realize how stupid we had been. This regret can be totally avoided if we are a bit careful and kind towards our poor relatives. We should never disrespect poor friends too.
Conclusion Our life is often a mirror of all things, good and bad. The more we learn from such life experiences, the better. We need to be very careful not to commit the five mistakes discussed above.
The author has very well described five common mistakes that an individual commits to weaken the bond in his friendships and other relationships.
For any relationship to work, it is important to embrace vulnerability. Though for some of us it may seem really difficult and we do not feel like letting our guards down. However, unless we chose to do so, we will have very superficial relations in our lives. In friendships as well as in other relationships, we need to deepen the bonds. We often hide our difficult times and struggles from our near and dear ones including our friends. We hide our weaknesses. Even our best friends are not aware of what we are going through in our lives. We hide as we do not want to show our weak side and this is where the bond weakens. Distance between friends does not widen when they move to different places but when they stop interacting with each other the way they used to do earlier. When we talk freely, we are enabling the other person to be more vulnerable and open in the interaction. Vulnerability eases out trust. The intimacy and respect will follow trust.
Most of us don't apologize sincerely. That is our apology do not come from our heart and most of the times while we are doing it, we lay the complete responsibility on the shoulder of another person. We make the other person feel that he was responsible to a large extent for our wrongdoing. It is okay to commit mistakes but it is important to realize what went wrong and try to correct it at the earliest. Thus, if we want our friendships and relationships to last for a lifetime then we need to take complete responsibility for everything and not shy ourselves from apologizing when it is necessary.
The author has given a very good write up on the mistakes people generally do which weakens the friendship. When a friendship is without any selfish motto it will last for long. But if there is any reason for the friendship we will forget the friendship once the work is done.
When we change our place of residence we will be busy establishing ourselves in the new place and we will be concentrating on the priorities there. Hence for some time, we may not able to communicate with our friends of the earlier place. Meanwhile, we will make new friendships in the new area and old friends will take a back seat. This is a big mistake many of us do. We should take out some time and be in communication with old friends also which will make our friendship live longer.