The better friend

Friends of Women:
A wife was not at home for a whole night. So she tells her husband, the very next morning, that she stayed at her (girl) friend’s apartment overnight. So the husband calls 10 of her best (girl) friends and none of them confirm that she was with them.

Friends of Men:
A husband was not at home for a whole night. So he tells his wife the very next morning, that he stayed at his friend’s apartment over night. So the wife calls 10 of his best friends and 5 of them confirm that he stayed at their apartments that night and another 5 are claiming that he is still with them!!

There are two types of people in the world.
Those who think, “For caring and understanding and empathy, you need a woman”
and,
Those who believe that “A guy makes the best friend”

What do I believe? Let’s see….
‘Friendship’ is a loaded term. It carries the weight of shared wavelength, support, caring, adjustment, loyalty and a zillion other things. Friends are people I’ve laughed with….a whole lot…since I enjoy laughing. Friends are also people who have the ability to make me cry…and they have.

There are people who have made me think and shaped the direction of my thoughts.
There are people who have stood by me in difficult times.
There are people who have been a part of my life simply because they needed me so much.
There are people who have cared….openly and silently.
There are people I can spend years talking to and never run out to things to talk about.
There are people with whom no words are necessary.

They were male. And female.

Who has been a better listener?
I think of my best friend who has spent years now listening to my raving and crazy ideas and silly jokes and doomsday predictions and still continues to say “Yes…go on…” I think of the many women who’ve occupied the position of ‘best friend’ in all these years….really, through all those childhood capers and teenage traumas and even most of life’s battles now, another woman truly understands what it feels like.
I also think of a certain guy who stays unshaken through my fiery declarations and my mood swings and who knows miraculously when to make me laugh and when to take me seriously.

Friendship is about fun in good measure.
Oh yes…..and I have a treasure-trove of memories of conversations and adventures and laughter. Admittedly the guys win over on this front. Right from my kiddie days when I came up with the idea of playing football on bicycles and only the guys took me up on the challenge (*sob* my sore ankles!)….the men I’ve known were definitely more open to new ideas. It has made conversations a hundred times more interesting. Then again, in this sea of male faces, I can think of two people who will be rocking, long past grandparenthood….both female. I would rather spend an hour talking to one of them than date a hot new guy.

If I were to share an apartment with someone, who would I choose? Two people come to mind…one male, one female. Damn….there goes another theory. Neither one of them cooks (which is a pity) but each of them is balanced and self-composed….an ideal counterfoil to my chaotic self.

Who do I go to, when I’m in trouble?
This really depends on what kind of trouble it is. I have spent hours talking to and listening to women friends, about problems. It is back-and-forth, dissecting to minute degrees, discussing emotions in great detail. It is not conclusive. Its not meant to be. There are so many things that don’t have straight answers, that just need to be experienced to be dealt with. Someone who helps you view such things in perspective is a good friend and for some reason women really are better at this. I talk to my guy friends when I want to be prodded out of my inertia, when I want to forget about my troubles and just focus on other stuff. Men are better at providing distractions and alternatives, women help me focus and clean-up messes.

I’ve been told quite often that I’d make a difficult girlfriend because my partner would feel threatened by the sheer number of men in my life. Yes, that is true….a bit. The men I’ve been close to certainly have displayed a definite tinge of green….right along to downright jealousy and control games. And then again, the one person who has been most insanely possessive of me was a woman.

This analysis is going nowhere. Whatever parameter I pick, it seems like one gender wins on quantity and the other on intensity.

Soumabh introduced me to a nice thought. How about redefining ‘masculinity’ and ‘feminity’ from meaning ‘behaviour exhibited by that sex’ to ‘aggressive, focussed, determined, active’ and ‘passive, creative, abstract, meditative’. Thus each trait may be displayed to some extent and in some combination by either gender.

I like that thought a lot. Except it doesn’t explain why I invariably have a horde of guy friends and few select women friends.
Maybe men just are a lot easier to get along with. And to get to know.
Maybe friendship with a woman requires more effort and is more fulfiling which explains why you don’t need too many.

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on November 2, 2005, in Battle of the sexes, On a lighter note.. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. This post has been removed by the author.

  2. Except it doesn’t explain why I invariably have a horde of guy friends and few select women friends

    That, because time didn’t allow me to take up the other aspect in our discussion.Can’t see mumbai in immediate future 🙂 so will touch a bit on that here.
    Since you like mathematics, let’s do it that way 🙂

    If A:(agressive,focussed,determined,active)
    and
    B:(passive, creative, abstract, meditative)
    Then quantifiably, an individual would be represented by a ratio A:B Let’s call this unique ratio, “(R)i”
    Right? 🙂
    Then for two persons “1” and “2”, we can have a difference parameter
    D = |(R1 – R2)|
    ( he he, i can see some people tearing their hair right now 😉 )
    So, the deciding factor is “D”
    Now,it all depends upon whether a person
    [a] wants to acquaint with/feels more interested in people who have a greater “D” value w.r.t himself/herself.Perhaps on the lines of things-distinctively-different-catch-my-attention
    OR
    [b] wants to acquaint with/feels more comfortable with people who have a low “D” value w.r.t. him/her.You know, that more-on-the-same-wavelength thing.

    The choice between [a] and [b] , and how sharp a choice it is, will vary from person to person.As will it on the temporal lines, for a particular person under consideration.Right now you choose [a], 15 years later you might go in for [b], meaning you’ve *attained and are satisfied with* or *on digging further you realise you really don’t like* that “different” set which amused/interested you earlier.

    And whenever one chooses [a] , it might be cuz he/she yearns to changeover to the “(R)i” value of that *different* set or else cuz being surrounded, throughout time , by a set of different “(R)i” value would make one appreciate his/her uniqueness aptly.

    Which was your case, now you guess 🙂
    And if you feel a temporal change progressively taking place in your choice between [a] and [b], you might well be able to guess at which stage of this change you are and predict where eventually you’ll like to anchor down in the present situation.

    Okay, enuff of my analysis……. btw smithy dear, this time for the Humanitarian/Social elective, I’ll be going in for Psychology….. dug enuff in the Feminist Theory that semester.Pity, now the psychology department 🙂
    And for all the people who hate me for this huge comment, at least feel grateful that it wasn’t at your blog 😉
    ciao

  3. friends are friends…

  4. Brilliant as you are, Soumabh! I admit I had to read the comment twice over to get it but its very well put. If I were you, I’d copy the whole thing and post it on your blog.

    I like the way you’ve explained the ‘opposites attract’ as well as ‘birds of a feather’ phenomena mathematically. Who says maths is dull??

  5. Idea:The thoughts do provoke some questions..The female male version of freinds .. Its all about the trust and knowing that they are there no matter what..

    But again .. feelings and emotions are interpreted differently by men and women.. sometimes talking to a guy makes it a lot more simpler ..other times its the girlfriends..

    But no matter the situation.. We love em all….

  6. i dont know why there is so much complication with the case of friends… i have good friends, both men and women… and they are a tad different…

    with one i can have tullee sessions more freely… and i have to be more careful with the other and that is the only difference i find between these two gender of friends

  7. Hmmm….. I’d thought of doing that but then didn’t.But now that you said and that i was also despo to end that rock frenzy on at my blog, i thought why not for once, dwell on the Feminism thing *in detail* on my blog finally…. had thinking of doing it since long.
    But…er…. as it has turned out, it is really not humanely possible to read that post now in one sitting.See for yourself, and get shocked at what i’ve ended up doing.Tears well up in my eyes for my blog’s readers right now 😛
    *sob*

  8. Ideasmith…I apologise.

    Check polioman to see why.

    -Luv
    Arundhati

  9. jeez woman i didnt even know about this blog!
    well i totally agree with u here..
    its the same for me..a few close female friends on i can count on till death do us part..and a lot more guy friends whom i know i can always call up and talk bs with.

    but i find however that the men in my life are more likely to go ‘mahi DO something, dont sit on ure ass and think’
    while the girls are more likely to examine every detail under the miscroscope..and do just that.

    ahh well..in the end..whoever matches your frequency, i suppose!–>

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