Notion of friendship

Living every day with a belief that there might be no one to genuinely think or care about you is not easy.

I recall those childhood memories of playing together in an open farm field until the sun sinks; there were no boundaries, no obligations, and no limitations. We felt free to share our dreams, to test our curiosities about the world, to bounce our ideas together, and to help each other in all circumstances. We didn’t expect anything in return. It was a happy and satisfying experience. We, perhaps, call it friendship.

I became younger and realized that the meaning of friendship has changed. There came rules, expectations, agreements, and reminders. Finding a real friend within the social boundaries became harder, and developing a genuine friendship was even tougher. We had to be conscious of not turning the friendship into a socially unacceptable relationship. Some kinds of friendship didn’t last long as they became self-centric and competitive, instead of supportive and understanding. Some friends choose a different direction in life and were no longer able to stay connected. I moved on while losing some “real” friends – real, in the sense, friends who share similar thoughts, understanding, and support. I think this is how life unfolds onwards.

I grew older and felt the need of real friends, like the ones I had during my childhood days – no boundaries, no limitations, no rules to be friends. That was indeed a trusted relationship.

The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about my feelings of not having real friends since I moved to Australia, she gave a look of surprise.

The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about my feelings of not having real friends since I moved to Australia, she gave a look of surprise. Perhaps, she felt distrusted or not respected regarding her friendship with me, but I was telling her my truth. After I explained to her the nature of friendship I am looking for, she agreed that we weren’t in the same zone. A true friend to me is someone that I can call at any time to talk about my ups and downs, that I can ask for help when needed, that I can expect them to understand me and my circumstances and be there for each other. I want my friends to expect the same from me. I see the value of this kind of friendship in life. There are certain emotions that we cannot share with our family, but with our friends. I struggle to find this level of friendship that I have been looking for nearly two decades now.

Over the years, I reflect whether it is a different culture I am in and that frames the meaning of friendship that I struggle to achieve in a new place. I find it easy to have friends to go out for a drink together or to meet for a cup of coffee and talk over it about children or to go for a hike together. I really don’t have a lack of such friends if this is how the western culture frames and defines the meaning and value of friendship. For me, it feels shallow, superficial, and selfish, and I wouldn’t call this a genuine friendship.

A question emerges. Am I being exceptionally difficult to myself? I don’t think that I am that difficult. I am open to be a friend of someone who shares my notion of friendship. In the last two years, the search for a true friend has become a real need to me, as the time went tough. When my parents passed away, I felt lonely and empty. I felt like the whole world broke into pieces and I have no one to talk to about my daily chores, mundane thoughts, and the frustrations a human being may go through. Living every day with a belief that there might be no one to genuinely think or care about you is not easy. I, at times, have a feeling of missing those random phone calls, open laughter, free walks, and long and miscellaneous talks.

I believe on passion, purpose, and persistence as my primary values in life. I may sound exhausted for trying to experience the true meaning of friendship, but I am not tired yet. People say that having a dream is a starting point to achieve success and I am living with that dream with a hope to make it real one day. I hope my experience helps new generation reframe the meaning of friendship and share the sense of collegiality to understand and help each other. I do not want anyone to change the way who we are and how we operate in our life. I am wondering if we all can acknowledge the differences while finding things in common to develop stronger and better relationship of friendship.

Author’s bio: Dr. Sabitra Kaphle is a Public Health Lecturer at CQUniversity in Melbourne, with more than 20 years’ experience in the health sector in Australia and internationally. Twitter – @KaphleSabitra; LinkedIn – Dr. Sabi Kaphle

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