September 10, 2009

Not single, hence not ready to mingle?

I had a rather interesting discussion with a friend yesterday. Whilst talking about something else, he pointed out that I had no real friends in Paris... as in, none that were my own. I'd just walked into S' friend's circle and sort of adopted them. Of course, that was true. And I started thinking about it a bit myself. True, I didn't have any chaddi-buddies here... add to it that I walked into a country with as less Indians as I've seen (btw none in S' close circle has taken a wife yet). So make that no girls in the hang-out gang. And my PhD isn't exactly conducive to making a tonne of friends either. With no classes, I have no purpose to hang around with everyone else after school hours - no assingments, nothing to study for, nothing. And the main thing is that all my colleagues (and me) have lives to go back to and this isn't like grad school where most people were yet unattached, all alone in the country and had time to kill in the evenings. Then of course, there's the mild language barrier and yes, so that makes it no real friends here.

Once I began thinking of it obsessively I started panicking a bit. Could it be really that because I was now married and had a husband to go home to, I was no longer new-friend material? Then I started talking to VR and SM about it. We concurred that after marriage our friend expansion had dwindled. But there was something else. Now that we were in couples, we looked forward to making new friends together. That restricted the number of interactions. But the biggest epiphany was this - I was content with the friends that I already had. It didn't matter that they were in the US or in India. I already had a certain number of absolutely tight friends with whom I shared everything no matter what their location geographically and I realized that at this stage in life I wasn't going to make any new friends who would eventually match up to the ones I already had. As VR pointed out, we were past the stage where all the life-altering changes had taken place- living alone, getting married, blah and we'd shared each of these experiences in parallel with one another and the bond that held us together was very strong. I was just happy with the chance encounters with a few and became friends with a handful whom I only met where we first met. Though probably vaguely related, marriage wasn't the real culprit. Maybe I'd just maxed out after the trillion friends' circle over the years. Or maybe the two were related. That was the epiphany.


krish said...

Wow that's an insightful post. But it's sad that you've concluded you have no friends out there. This may be redundant.. but now aren't your husband's friends your friends too? I mean you wouldn't be comfortable hanging out with them otherwise. In case, even though I haven't met you, from everything you've written, I'd figure you would have no problems dealing with anyone new. So if you have no new friends, it's their fault and not yours. Great thought and fantastic post.

Radhika said...

I think it's true that we don' tmake new friends after we are married. It is not because of us. It is a lot because the people meeting us think we have a family to deal with and so they don't give us their 100%. And because of that we are not able to reflect it very well too. It's a repetitive thing. But it's nice that you are content with every friend you have. Maybe it makes them all more special to be cherished. Superb post, Jaya.

tipsybetsy said...

Actually it's not restricted to being married alone. Once you are a couple also, people tend to think you won't want to do anything individualistically and as Radhika pointed out, they do'nt give it their all. that sorta makes it harder for you to connect with them. And as you've written, you're suddenly looking for couple things to do and the normal single life may not appeal a lot more to you as it may have in the past. Good insight into the post, yo.

Musing Gal said...

I dont think it is the marriage or the couple thing. I do not have my own friends where I stay too, my friends are either in a different country or a far away state with in US. The only friends I have here are friends of my friends say borrowed friends :), same way how you migled with your S's friends. Somehow it does not feel like my own. But then it is just a different flavour of friendship!

Jaya said...

Krish-> Thanks.. yes, yes of course my husband's friends are my friends too... The point of course was that they weren't friends I made myself. Ironically, it's one of my husband's friends who brought this up with me. So tells you what he thinks of me as ;). Thanks for the comment n keep visiting, of course!

Radhika-> You are right! Marriage is sort of viewed as an extra baggage and many people assume you are unwilling to mingle as free as you might when you were single. Sometimes, they may even be right! We don't always give our 100% till everyone is involved. I think you know exactly what I mean. thanks for the comment n keep visiting!

Tipsybetsy-> Well yes, you touched upon another point of the post - the need to do "couple" things. Even if not, people think that's the way it is. And to be completely honest, I don't think that you are as open to doing anything and everything all by yourself as you were when you were single and had all the time to mingle. It's related in a vague manner I guess. Thanks for visiting n commenting! Do visit again :)

Musinggal-> Thanks! Actually back when I used to be single, I can name a handful of "borrowed" friends with whom I've become rather close with. In fact a couple of them share the esteemed high circle ;). But like I have mentioned in the post, I've maxed out a bit. Considering that I if I made newer friends, i doubt I'd be able to devote all the time that goes into nurturing it. Indeed my closest friendships are formed on insurmountable bonds of first days in college and first days of living alone n what not... and we went through life's important lessons in parallel. And that isn't going to match any time soon. :). Thanks a bunch for visiting and commenting. do come back!

Vidhya said...

I agree with you completely on the lack of time devoted that will go into nurturing a new friendship.
Am glad that I am a part of your "high circle" and that you are a part of mine :D

U Know Me By The Words said...

Jaya, somebody says there issues internally with ur ability to address ur hubs frnds as urs, somebody says its their fault, somebody says its coz u r married, u say some, and VR says its coz married ppl dont give a 100% :)

Nuts that I am, always been, the crux is the ability to define a friend. A friendship comes from mutual knowledge of each other and a basic trust n earnest. Lots to do with inner confidence as well, the ability to trust others is directly proportional to the ability to trust urself. Somebody who's good company for ur persona and mutual value addition, marriage has nothing to do with it. Be there when u need them.. will tell u when u r stupid or bumming without the fear of losing ur friendship.. loyal based on mutuality (everybody's human) and can genuinely value the relationship else it wont last, know and cherish the relationship and are not into it coz they don't have any better.

So essentially, I dont agree with any of what's said, its just about meeting the right people and talking from the heart without being conscious and scared and hitting the right yet unselfish notes. If it works u have a friend, if not, good conversation anyways.. Awesome post either ways. I like all ur posts :) Cheers !!

Jaya said...

Vidhya_> Thanks di and you know it's mutual. :)
Sameer-> I completely agree with your definition of the "friendship" part. But I completely disagree that circumstances have nothing to do with it. Obviously once you are married and have other commitments to take care of, you are not able to devote as much time and effort to a new person that you meet. The other thing is that at this stage, circumstantially or not, the people I have met are all in relationships. And when only 1 person each of 2 relationships are friends, the opportunities to meet as 2 couples is as less as the opportunity for the 2 individual people to hang out a whole lot. And the whole working out a solution becomes tiring business. Surely you'll see what I mean once you get married. The other thing is again what I said in the post - the most important events that shapes friendships - call me shallow - but college was the time we got interested in gossip, in clothes, in boys, in style and what not and that was part of the hardcore bonding that we had with our peers which moulded our friendships into something deeper. That sort of frivolity which entails a super bonding isn't going to happen any time soon with anyone new that you meet.

Thanks for the lengthy comment... needless to say, keep visiting. :)

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