be there for you
Ishani Ranasinghe & Thiruni Kelegama
Stressed out day. Everything which possibly can go wrong,
has gone wrong. Bad luck seems to be hovering above you.
could change everything
It is not with
your girlfriend or your boyfriend. But it is with someone other
than that, who is 'very' close to you.
is nothing wrong with this picture, because everyone turns to their
closest friends in times of distress and need.
But what if
someone was to tell you that their closest friend was of the opposite
sex? Would you believe the fact that they were just friends? Or
would you think that they are trying to fool everyone around or
themselves by believing that they are 'just' friends.
attraction could be in different ways. So why can't two people of
the opposite sex be 'close' friends?
Some of you
would not have a problem with this. But then, many of you probably
brings something special to your life. A friend can dispel all doubt
and fear, share your joys and sorrows.
Women are best
friends with other women, men confer the title of 'best buddy' on
other men. That is the norm. Why is it that whenever anyone breaks
away from the norm, when their closest friend is of the opposite
sex, their intentions are suspected. Claims of "We are just
good friends" are always greeted with quiet sniggers or statements
like "Ha, we know what that means!"
belief is that it is simply impossible for a girl and boy to be
friends. Whenever a friendship between two people of opposite sexes
exists, society tends to make predictions. How come boys and girls
are never shown to share any positive friendships? The social scene
is no longer what it was and, this changing scenario proves that
youngsters are capable of forming lasting relationships with members
of the opposite sex.
the genders have now begun to rely more and more on respect and
achieve a very real purpose. Ironically, it is in an era of increasing
promiscuity and loose morals that the need for platonic relationships
stands out. A boy who shares a healthy friendship with a girl is
more likely to have a greater respect for the fairer sex and vice
is single, and says that she has several close friends who are guys,
whom she hangs out with. In this group however, Dushani says she
is particularly close to one. "He is the one I will call when
things go wrong for me, even late in the night. I can be sure that
he will be there, willing to listen to me." She does admit
that it took some time for her other friends to get used to it.
"Everyone just assumed that we were hiding something, but then
after some time... and after a lot of convincing, they just got
used to it." Does she foresee anything developing in the near
future? "I doubt it," she laughs. "It would be like
going out with my own brother!"
One thing is
certain; platonic friendships are not easy, which probably explains
why many people keep their distance from friends of the opposite
sex. Although, Gihan says that "there is nothing wrong with
having a girl as your best friend," Rehana disagrees. She doesn't
believe that a girl and a boy can just be friends. She says that
men tend to develop an attraction for their female friends. She
adds that, "spending time with a man, and sharing your life
with him, is background enough for romantic feelings to develop."
Of course, there is always the possibility that these relationships
will evolve into something more. But relationships that begin with
friendship as their base are always far more stable. Then there
are unlikely to be any pretences in the relationship.
We need to
see a friendship as a friendship - one of the most beautiful and
enduring relationships we as human beings can enjoy and cherish.
The players concerned are incidental; they could be a woman and
a woman, or a man and a woman. We need to understand that the beauty
of it remains the same.
great relationships aren't accidental.
will be friends
'Keep smiling, knowing you can always count on me, for
sure, that's what friends are for, la la dum dee daaaa...' That's
one of my all time favourites; one of those songs you just can't
help humming and the words (at least the little you know) kinda
warm you up inside because you're reminded of all the lovely people
you consider friends. I even see little 'special moments' with my
friends in slow motion, just like in the movies!
such funny people and funny people can turn out to be such good
friends. It's amazing what friendship can mean to different people.
"It's all about acceptance," says one of my friends, "being
able to live with your friend's quirks is very important".
Well, that we do - especially when around him. Understanding, loyalty,
support, dependability etc., the list goes on. That's the kind of
things everyone wants out of a friendship - and of course the overall
'being there for each other'. (Trust me on that one, everyone I
spoke to said that...though the type of 'being there' had many shades
Like the time
when this guy friend was going through a crisis - he actually didn't
want me to 'be there' for him. Can you imagine that! He'd rather
sit with a bunch of guys watching TV or discussing what went wrong
in a recently played rugby match rather than talk about his 'crisis'
and work things out. I couldn't comprehend how on earth he, and
his friends, could just sit around pretending things were okay when
they were obviously not. "You're not being there for him!"
I'd scream at the rest of them, itching to break into this little
circle of theirs and put things right, but they'd just look at me
as if I were the daft one (!) and say, "Of course, we're there
for him and he knows it." "Then just say it, say it!"
(Please note the tone of desperation.) "We'll handle it our
way, okay." And, with that, I was gently brushed out of the
I was reminded of a time when another friend of mine went through
a similar crisis, she called me and sobbed the whole story to me.
I went over to her place, she cried, I cried, we both cried, but
within a night we talked about the whole thing and sorted things
out (at least as much as we could, under the circumstances), instead
of days and days of 'let's just meet up, machang'.
just the way it is for some of us," says Romesh, who thinks
a sense of humour is an essential ingredient in friendship because,
according to him, laughing is the base of a healthy relationship.
"When I know someone's having a problem, I drive over, or a
couple of guys get together. We don't discuss the issue, unless
the person concerned wants to discuss it." "But what's
the point of that exercise," I wonder out aloud. The point,
he says with sage like insight (with a nod of the head and a patient
smile for effect), is that we let the guy know we are there for
him. And when he's ready to talk to us, he will. And if he doesn't,
I ask? He won't and that's perfectly okay with them (hmm, if it
works for them...). "The best part however is being there when
they don't want you around, now that's a lot of fun," he says
with a grin.
fun, there's my neighbour Melani, who's always one for a laugh.
And just as I guessed, for her too, humour is an essential in a
friendship. "Like the time a good friend of mine bugged me
in the bus, I ignored him and when he tapped me on the shoulder
I pretended he was just another pervert on the bus. Boy, did he
get a lot of stares and glares that day. But we both laughed about
it later on, and that was the important thing." A friend, for
her, is a person who brings out the best in you and is there for
you at all times! Not enjoying being preached to, however, Melani
steers clear of judging people. "Being there is one thing,
but crowding in on a person is not healthy either. I, for one, wait
till there's a 'need' for me and then hop in!"
normal people you know are the ones you don't know," she quips,
obviously something she's read and latched on to. But she's right,
almost everyone has his or her own idiosyncrasies or peculiarities
and the sooner we get used to that, the better. Like Romesh says,
"It's best not to have expectations of people, as long as they
are overall decent guys that's all that matters." Charith,
in agreement, says that he sets high standards for himself as a
friend, but his expectations are not as high. "Oh, but I use
the friend term very selectively." (Well, in that case I'm
honoured...I think he considers me a friend). "With my friends
I am very vulnerable, because they know 'me', whereas an acquaintance
would only see a particular side of me like 'the funny guy', 'or
the intelligent guy', or 'the bright guy'." - Okay, okay, I
think it's best I stop here, after all, this isn't a PR stunt for
to think I'm the person people can be absolutely themselves with
and play the support role in a friendship," says Charith, "But
how I would be a friend to a person depends on the person in question
and of course, the circumstance." One policy he follows is
one-hundred per cent objectivity, which means he would, at all times,
give a person the other side of the story even if it's at the risk
of losing the friendship. "I have to be true to myself as a
friend and just as much as it's important to be there for a person,
if I have done everything possible and they still insist on doing
something self destructive that's where I back off. But I must be
convinced I've done everything possible before I do that!"
perfect understanding," says Lara. "In a friendship I'd
give of myself unconditionally, you can't be on 'switch off' mode
with a friend. And, for me, it's not just about being physically
'there' for a person. You have to give the other person the reassurance
of your friendship; that, no matter what, the friendship will be
always there." Renowned for her role as an 'Accident Sam' in
our circle of friends, Lara's one requirement of a friend is that
with that person you don't have to go home and think 'why did I
do that', and constantly make excuses for yourself. "All you
have to be is - 'you'."
friendship, like the one I have, is a lifetime of moments. I can't
single out one particular moment, every moment, even the dumbest
is an integral part of our friendship and so qualifies as a great
You know the
best part, she's my friend and I just know she's talking about me!
Dee, dee, dee, dum, de, dum, and friends will be freh-ends, right
till the end..