Anita sat in quiet contemplation. After a while, she turned to me with a stern look on her face and said: “I don’t have friends.” I asked, “What do you mean?” She replied, “It has just occurred to me that I have only two friends in my entire life.”
It was confusing to hear this from one of the friendliest and most charismatic people I know.
I mean if she goes offline for a few hours, she will find her phone flooding with messages from the numerous WhatsApp groups that she is part of. Her phone is always buzzing with calls from people asking where she is and telling her that she is “lost.”
But being actively involved in various WhatsApp groups, she says, is not an indicator of having many friends. Because it is rare that any of them will think of having a private conversation with you.
If they do, it is to flirt (usually men) or to pry (usually women: “Mmmm…who is that guy on your display picture?”) They always, always have ulterior motives.
So you could be on your death bed and none of them would know. But as soon as you die, they will use your death to bring attention to themselves.
You can rest (in peace) assured that they will grieve for all of social media to see, claiming to have been close to you, claiming to have had a heart-to-heart in the recent past without knowing that it would be the last.
But to have a true friend, a friend who loves you for who you are and calls you to check up on you instead of calling only when they need something, that’s rare.
In the age of screenshots, it is rare to find a true friend who defends your honour even in your absence instead of using information obtained from you in confidence to be the centre of attention.
In your adulthood, you will be hard-pressed for friends who genuinely celebrate your milestones without inwardly resenting you if you are doing better than they are.
It’s not that you didn’t have any friends in the beginning. No. Throughout your childhood and in your early twenties, you had people from whom you were inseparable.
But what adulthood does is that it takes away time and separates people. They get married. They move to other parts of the world so that you can no longer physically access them. They change their behaviour to fit the new challenges and tasks that adulthood has presented to them. You grow apart.
You try to make new friends but making genuine friends requires spending enough time with people until they truly understand your soul. And because you spend 90% of your time at the workplace, your workmates are your best bet.
But between trying to beat deadlines, competing for promotions and taking care of children, there is very little time to hang out. It’s even harder if you are an introvert.
In a nutshell, true friends in adulthood are as rare as waterfalls in the desert. If you have them, hold onto them for dear life.