Keep your friends close

Keep your friends close

On my blog here, I generally haven’t been very forthcoming with my opinions on happenings around me in the country or the world. All I talk about is my small little universe here with the twins and the Husband. It does take up most of my thoughts (I am obsessivemom, remember?).
That’s not to say I don’t have opinions. How can I not, living in this age of information overload? We have unlimited access to news 24X7 and yet the truth remains ever more elusive. How weird is that! It might have to do with the fact that our media is so highly polarised. We get umpteen versions of the same truth. No matter what side we’re on we find more than enough information to sustain our point of view.
And so we end up believing what we want to and can continue to stick with it and argue about it without even considering that a different viewpoint might exist.
Many times when I’ve been reading a piece that doesn’t resonate with me I’ve shut it down in disgust because it made me so very frustrated and angry. I’ve unfollowed and unfriended for my peace of mind simply because some points of view unsettle me so.
However, there’s a bit of a danger in that, a danger of the formation of an ‘us’ and a ‘they’ – people who think what I think and those who don’t. That certainly cannot be healthy.
So how then do I get a reality check?
I get mine through friends. Friends who come from different backgrounds, belong to different parts of the country, friends who think differently, who support different parties, who come up with arguments different from mine and who argue vociferously.
I keep them close.
You should too.
The other day I was out for dinner with a bunch of them. Between spoonfuls of cheesy pasta and some first class biryani our conversation veered towards a recent political development. Before we knew it we were in the middle of an argument, a rather heated one. Ten minutes later we were back to the biryani and the baby potatoes and all was well with the world.
And that is how it should be.
As long as you don’t make each argument a point of prestige, as long as it’s not about winning or losing, as long as you’re willing to be convinced, to admit you didn’t see it like that, that you didn’t know a certain fact. It will be fine.
There will be times of course when you won’t agree at all and days when you won’t part on a happy note. But that’s fine too because you’re friends and you bond on many many levels not just on that one political or social point. And so you will come back to each other sharing exam woes and teen troubles while laughing over ‘fat’ jokes even as you plan breakfast outings or lunch dates.
Just as pasta and biryani share my plate happily making it richer for the difference, so can different thinking friends stay together and make your life that much richer, make your viewpoint broader, more tolerant.
Keep your friends close and your ‘different thinking’ friends even closer.
End note: If you find me getting into an argument with you it means I consider you a dear friend, a very dear one.


40 Replies to “Keep your friends close”

  1. I completely agree with you and am quite like you in having learned from shutting myself up from the people who disagreed with me (though that was me in my teens) to learning to listen everyone's side of the story with an open mind.
    Differences of opinion inspiring friends to part ways is indeed a sad reality which can often be avoided with an open mind, of course on both sides.
    Your post reminded me of one of my all time favorite quotes by Evelyn Beatrice Hall:
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

  2. We are all different people and we are bound to have different views and opinions. I believe it's best to smile and agree to disagree. Confronting and then looking the other way, all because of a view which is in contrast to yours is sad.

  3. Yes, to all of this. Personally, I'm a little non-confrontational, so don't tend to actively argue. But lately, it's true that I've seen friendships being torn apart due to different viewpoints. Sad what we allow to affect us so much.

    1. I totally understand where you're coming from. I am non-confrontational too but sometimes it helps to talk and debate and argue. It prints perspective and clarity.

  4. My introverted nature makes it difficult to talk to people, let alone argue. But there is one thing I'd argue about anytime: Harry Potter references. If anyone misquotes them, gives some stupid suggestion of alternate scenes/couples, all hell will break loose, as I manage to show them exactly why I think otherwise.

    In any other case, I'm more of an active listener, giving my opinion in a balanced manner, and generally playing devil's advocate whenever possible.

    As always, your post helped me understand a new perspective, this time about friendships and opinions! 🙂

    1. Ha ha… Harry Potter – well we all have people we feel strongly about!! As an introvert one may not always put across a point but that doesn't mean he or she or you don't have opinions. If you close your mind to ideas that don't agree with you how do find a balance? I too open up only with close friends. More often, I dismiss or agree with opinions, mentally.

  5. How beautifully said Tulika. I would like to re-quote the same thing that Sid said, a friendship is such a beautiful and simple concept. Why do people spoil it?

    True friends need to be kept very close. They are the only ones who will stand by you in terms of need and yes, offer you that much needed reality check at all times.

    1. Glad you agree Soumya. We perhaps listen more to friends rather than dismissing them outright, even if they say something that doesn't agree with out thought process.

  6. So true: "We get umpteen versions of the same truth. No matter what side we’re on we find more than enough information to sustain our point of view." Though it depends on where you take your news. There are still some old school journalists just reporting the facts and letting you make of them what you will.

    1. In India of late even the national media in India has become so partisan that if you watch three different television channels you'll probably get three versions of the same incident. The truth is hidden somewhere within all of that.

  7. Hmm, okay, so when are we having that argument about ABC and XYZ? Hehehe
    You are so right, Tulika! We need friends who help us look at things from a different perspective; who argue with us and yet accept our points of view, maybe only to pacify us! For they are the ones who really care about us and our feelings. I so loved this post, Tulika!

  8. It is much easier for me to share my contradictory views with my close friends. Even when they don't agree and we get into argument, we listen to each other's views. I think that's why my husband and I argue all the time. 😉 Online, I tend to stay from discussions which I have a different opinion about. Recently in groups I stayed away just because I thought I was the only one with a different point of view and didn'to want to get in to an argument. Bang on, Tulika.

    1. Ha ha – arguments between spouses are the most common ones. It makes sense to stay away from arguments unless they're taken in the right spirit.

  9. I like to have my points of views across when I am with my close friends. As at other times, you never know what sort of psycho is listening to you and then will troll you and can do pretty much anything in this country. So, most of the times, my private thoughts and arguments are private. I don't want to talk about it on social media. See what happened to Gurmehr Kaur for her simple statement.

    1. Absolutely. Gurmehar remains a sore point for me. She is also a half written post in my drafts!! I ignore posts I don't agree with or I blog about them here where I can have my say. Different view points are welcome from people who give you a chance to speak and are open to being convinced.

  10. You echoed my thoughts on this. It's why I rarely ever argue online. Not worth my time and effort. Offline though, I'll give it all I've got because I have the verbal and visual cues plus the familiarity factor to help me out. Always a plus. But of course, some friends, like you, are beyond online/offline boundaries. And I just love that too.

    1. What we share Shailaja deserves a whole other post. There is a different kind of comfort in online friendships. The trouble is that we see just one side of people online – the side they want to show us – so we often don't know what their views and beliefs are and how strongly they adhere to them. Like you said, face to face we get way more cues to take a discussion forward and know when we should back off.

  11. I thought we were close 😛
    Loved that message and the way you wrote. It's right that opinions are not be taken too personally. It's not about the person but the varied thinking and very few people get that.

  12. I love this. I think it's so important that we surround ourselves with good friends, even if their opinions differ from our own. Me and my best friend argue things out quite often, but it is done with love and respect, and it's a healthy part of any relationship! #mg

  13. The line that pasta and the biryani share the same plate deserving equal love of the plate beholder has deeper meaning garbed in it. It is often that we settle that since we love pasta we will surround ourselves with pasta loving people only and it is the same for biryani. There is this saying which I have seen on many occasions causing the split "Hum sahi hain baaki sab galat hain". When people follow this, they leave no room for healthy discussion, leave alone arguments.

    1. Exactly. That's the danger in keeping only like-minded people around. People who don't think like us force us to consider another point of view and we need that to keep us tolerant, moreso in a diverse country like India.

  14. Bang on! With friends, especially those we meet face to face, it is easier to let go because we know them better and have a context of them separate from their views on one topic. On social media though, the people we call friends are often those we've had a few conversations with or had a few glimpses of their life through their writing. We really hardly know what kind of people they are. The bonds are not strong enough.

    And then you find them getting pigheaded and downright nasty because they hold on to a particular opinion, and it ticks you off. Like you, I've muted, unfriended, even blocked such people. Sometimes I don't have the strength to argue. At other times, I just want peace of mind. But, in real life, I want to be surrounded with people of all kinds of opinion. They make our lives richer.

    1. Oh yes. Some people are just not willing to listen to another point of view. Those need to be blocked simply because they make me so angry it's not worth it.

  15. Lovely post Tulika. We mustn't destroy friendships over matters of less significance. Striking the balance and knowing how to move on is important, as you've highlighted here.

    If we argue with friends, we must be mindful of what's more important. Winning the debate, or winning the friend.

    Happy Holi.

    1. That's there of course. Friends are important in that they can show you a different point of view which you perhaps wouldn't take from someone you don't much value.

  16. Damn! I wanna argue with you – you know, so you can consider me close 😛
    Jokes aside, these lines: (quoting you)

    As long as you don’t make each argument a point of prestige, as long as it’s not about winning or losing, as long as you’re willing to be convinced, to admit you didn’t see it like that, that you didn’t know a certain fact. It will be fine.

    Why don't people realise it at all? It's so simple – yet we let things like pride and ego get in the way so much.

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