Now that’s a dilemma I have been facing for a while now – perhaps since I left college! Yeah its been that long. While in school and college I had a ‘gang of girlfriends’ and yes like all others we did things together – the occasional movie, stay over, birthday celebrations etc. In between of course it also included having heart to heart talks about life, boys, parents, careers, future, sex and marriage.

Then I met my man, fell in love and everything changed. For better or worse, isn’t what concerns me anymore. We got married and built a life together. We have a beautiful daughter who has made our lives complete.

But in the process, I lost the friends I had. Or did I? I don’t know. My man was my friend. A good friend, one with whom I could share everything – say anything and knew that it would be accepted at face value. It wouldn’t be flung across at each other during a fight or spilled to others. Here was someone who heard me and therefore knew me – the vulnerable me, the me who was scared of the world, who had insecurities that stretched a mile. A friend who finished my sentences and could read me like a book – knew how I would react or what I would say in certain situations. A friend who made my day complete, whose presence protected my sanity and I, of course, depended on him completely.

Then we fell in love and got married! The friendship continued but its status changed. The new relationship we shared suddenly meant that we could no longer say the things we wanted to say just like we wanted to say them. They had to be worded differently, their rippling effects impacted other areas of our lives and relations. My one and only friend was a close friend but not a friend anymore. Does that make sense?

In the interim, I forgot about the world at large and didn’t keep tabs on my childhood and college friends. They each went their own ways and perhaps with some, I can re-start where we’d left off but not the others. I didn’t make new friends either.

Life in general, marriage, work, hopping cities to make a new life all added up till I suddenly realised I had no friends! Alone, I had no one to talk to, share my innermost thoughts, bounce off ideas, vent out emotions. I began writing again but of course, that meant that I was conversing with myself. Well, it wasn’t anything new considering I’ve always been an introvert. It helped at times but then I wasn’t able to move on – everything in my head and heart just kept going round in circles.

Then I found a friend – one who reached out to me and made me open up. We spoke, emailed and texted every moment of every day. I felt free and expressed whatever there was in my heart. I shared the good, bad and ugly. Every experience had to be shared – we questioned life and its offerings. We spoke about religion and faith. We made ourselves better human beings just by being there. But then, things got complicated. We’re still friends but in our minds, I think we moved on. We know we can still pick up where we’d left off but perhaps it’s too late for that now.

So I did what came to me as the next most convenient thing to do. I befriended my husband’s friends. In the midst of that clutter, I found a few people I could relate to, share my inner turmoil with – they understood me. Yet sometimes I just couldn’t still be as brutally honest with them about me and my emotions as I would have liked to or wanted to – why? I think it was because they were also my husband’s friends and therefore I drew an invisible boundary – which I rarely crossed.

Friendships need to be nurtured and when you find the right person, one shouldn’t let go. Friendships change over time and experiences. The need of the hour to changes the requirement and specifics of a friend. There are times when I’m lonely and just need someone to talk to – I don’t need advice, I don’t need counselling, I don’t need to be told about my options, I don’t need support – I just need to be heard.

I know I’m responsible for the friends I have and those I don’t have. I’m responsible for the friends I lost on the way. I’m responsible for making new ones. Yet sometimes I feel its too much work and investment. Life’s good just as it is. If I miss it, I just write about it. If I don’t then life just carries on.

(Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash)