Updated: Apr 5
My friends have always been a very integral part of my life. Over the years, the numbers have dwindled but the ones left are friends for life.
As a kid, I was able to make friends with ease. Maybe, because I had less inhibitions and insecurities. I remember making 5 friends in prep-school when I was about 4 years old. It is not a surprise that I am still friends with all of them but I do not really
remember the last time I spoke to them. This got me thinking, what actually made many of my friendships distant and some redundant. (Fun Fact: one among those 5 people is my best friend today and over all these years we have never for once lost touch despite of studying in different schools, colleges and now living in different cities.)
I think adult life, ambitions and dreams take us to places where we end
up surviving on our own. At the same time, I think that this physical
distance should not come in the way of the friends that we make on our
I know a lot of people who tend to focus only on the people who are physically
around them. This does not mean that they have forgotten you, it is just that they’ve
been busy. I do not follow this notion but neither am I against it. You see, getting
old has broken a lot of my notions on how things should be and one of them is
relationships between friends.
This brings me to the most important part of of my thought. Sit back and think, how
many times have you really spoken to a friend who once was so close to you that you
would spend days with them. I know we cannot live off nostalgia but are you really that busy that you cannot pick up the phone and call them on their birthdays (I absolutely abhor birthday wishes on Whatsapp and social media).
Many a times we think about few of our friends but we hardly ever reach out to them.
Sure, we follow them on all available social media pages and like all of their pictures
and sometimes leave a comment. There is nothing wrong with that ! You know the
hard truth, that what we see on social media is also a lie. We lie to ourselves and we
lie to the world about our never ending happiness. This has forced me to think, how I
have failed to reach out to my friends and checking up to see if they are doing well.
Honestly, I hardly do this with about 3 friends right now but I intend to inculcate this
in my life.
You may have friends who you would think have a very strong personality, but they
may be in need of help. I have seen that the strongest people are the ones that do not
speak up about their emotional needs.
Do not exhaust yourself : I am well aware how difficult adulting can be. Living
away from family, building a home and social circle and up-keeping takes a lot of
time. Besides, we all have our own problems to take care of. Please do not try to
exhaust yourself trying to take care of others.
Do not shy away from reaching out: I think social media has made it that much
more easier for us to know what is the probable state of mind your friend may have.
If you see someone who matters to you a bit off than their natural self, please do not
shy away from asking them if they are doing fine. Many times we may think and
easily term such outbursts as “drama” but that my friend, could be a cry for help. I
do not see any harm if you spend 5 minutes of your day trying to reach out to
someone you know who may or may not need help. I strongly feel this is the way to
make this world a kind place.
Start with small things: If you know someone has lost a family member, ended a relationship or lost their job, please pick up the phone and call them. Do not leave a comment, or scroll up without extending your help. Mental health is real people, as much as you may think it’s a state of mind that people pretend to be in. It is not possible for a human to remain calm and joyous at all times. If you know someone who has not been doing well in ways of their lives, please reach out.
There is this food blogger that I follow on Instagram. I recently read a story where
she claimed to have panic attacks and not do well. She was not a friend; in fact she
did not even know I exist. I liked her work and she was a stranger to me. Yet, I chose
to take time out to speak with her. Imagine what I would be willing to do for a friend
Listen and acknowledge without judgement: I am guessing this can be a bit
difficult for few. We hardly ever listen, we listen to respond. I feel like non-
judgmental friendship is the only way there is. I have been proved wrong time and
again. I have friends who judge me for my life choices and at the same time I have
friends who have helped me understand my pattern of life choices and the potential
that I may have. If you have come this far, and taken the time to pick up the phone to
listen to your friend the least you can do is have an open mind about what they are
saying instead of pointing fingers at who is at fault.
Offer to help with daily chores: This obviously applies if your friend is
physically near you. If you know someone who is having a hard time and refuses to
even step out, I think it is a kind gesture to help them do their chores. Ask them if
they need some grocery or better still invite them over for food. Kindness knows no
single way and you will be awed at how much your little gestures can make a
difference to someone’s life.
Help them find themselves: By this I do not mean, that you deep dive into their
problems. Sometimes you may realize that a friend might need professional help and
I cannot emphasize more that mental health crisis is real. It can happen to you, me,
the person sitting next to you right now might have it, your flatmate may have it. It is
common and it is okay to ask for help. Please do not shy away from asking for
professional help. It is okay to let your friend know that what they suffer from is real
and they need professional help for the same. The best you can do is offer to visit a
specialist with them or help them find one.
You can make a difference in someone’s life and you would be surprised at how little
you have to do to achieve that. Send a quick text to let them know you are thinking
about them. Call your friends if they come across your mind often. Even if they do
not feel comfortable in sharing their story, I am sure they will feel better just to know
you care. Do not just give them advice but try to understand their insecurities and
fears. Take initiative to start a conversation.
In the process, please do not exhaust yourself or make it an agenda of your life that
you have to get all your friends back to their self. I am aware that reaching out to
everyone in need is not possible, but in your lifetime even if you are able to reach out
to just one person, you have done your part.
If you are someone who needs support, please know that there is no shame in asking
for help. Do not try to go through things alone. You know deep down the people who
would be there for you, who share a non-judgmental relationship with you. Please
do not shy away from reaching out to them. Mental health, just like friendship has no
age or time. It is perfectly natural to feel weak and lost. Know that your weakness
does not define you and you will make it out of this dark place.
Invest your time in identifying people who would hold your hand during
tough times instead of the ones who would only want to be a part of you
for the good times.
Here’s hoping you are doing well.
- Poushali Saha