The Balancing Act Of Friendship

Devika Pathak
May 20 · 4 min read

If you’ve read any of my last few posts, then you might know that I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship. We all handle our friendships differently and depend on them for different reasons.

I’m a very social person and will almost always choose to be around someone rather than be alone. It’s not that I mind being alone but I get bored easily and enjoy the connection that comes with spending time with a like-minded person. I’m also easily prone to loneliness because I work from home which means it’s me, my computer and myself for 6–8 hours a day.

This inclination of mine is always something I simply accepted, allowing myself to make decisions that would further my extroversion without really thinking about what I was doing. I reached a point where I was letting myself be defined by my socialising, versus what I actually wanted to be like. I would spend time with someone who I perhaps didn’t connect with or had to work hard to understand and be okay with that because it meant I got to spend time with someone rather than sit at home alone. I allowed myself to forgive our differences in values or their ill-treatment of others in the view of freedom and each to their own. By trying to cultivate all these relationships, I ended up losing sight of what each one was giving back to me and why I even wanted them in the first place. I allowed myself to be the person who always kept in touch and initiated plans, because that was the right thing to do but not because it’s what I wanted to do. What ends up happening here is that you push too hard, or expect too much. Both of which almost always end up with you feeling pretty disappointed (and stupid).

Trying to make multiple friendships work is especially troublesome for me because I’m quite adaptable, which is a polite way of saying that I tend to adjust myself to the person or people I’m with. Choosing jokes they will enjoy and topics I think they will find interesting. This is a good thing in a way but also means that you can sometimes find yourself changing beyond that point of comfort and interest, and suddenly you’re spending lots of time with people who aren’t helping you become the person you want to be. You may think that working on yourself is something that must come from within and while I agree with that, it’s also important to surround yourself with the kind of energy that pushes you and is conducive to your goals.

We are all born with many, many flaws and being aware of these is important. There are some people who will be able to accept who you are and understand why you do the things you do. There will be those who want to see you succeed and let you make the mistakes you need to get to your destination. You will say things you regret and do things you wish you never did, but those people who truly understand who you are, will not zoom their lens on these aspects of you. They will let those blur into the background and lift you up rather than pulling you down into bad memories and shame.

It’s easy to describe the perfect friend but hard to find someone like this. However, having spent some time examining my relationships and looking at why I was devoting time to people who were giving me much less, I realised that I couldn’t have everyone like me. It’s not possible to be friends with everyone and that is okay. It’s okay to keep your connections close and cut off those that don’t feel so great. It’s okay to give up on things that look good, for the sake of your own sanity. While studying the different relationships in my life, I was struck with the idea that at the end of the day, these things really should not impact my happiness the way I allowed them to. The most important goal for me is to reach a point where I am content and at peace with myself, so when I do spend time with someone, all I’m expecting is exactly what they can give me, and nothing more.

Devika Pathak

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Freelance writer based in Bombay. Passions include, but are not limited to, beagles, chocolate chip cookies, vinyasa yoga, pandas & track pants.