It was just another Saturday, when I was lazing around flipping channels on my TV. And I happened to hear this epic dialogue from the blockbuster ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. Though I ended up watching something else, Mohnish Bahl kept reciting this line in my head.
I thought to myself, “Seriously now, that’s not true. This film is more than 2 decades old (in fact precisely as old as me). Maybe it was true back then but now it’s not. Look at me; I have more male friends than females. And we’re only friends!”
Ideally it should have been over at that. But unconsciously it was running in my head. So I decided to sit and crack this! Was it true? Even 25 years later? In the 21st century? That too in a developing country like ours?
Ohh, yes! India. I got a starting point.
Point 1: We live in India
So we’re a developing country. A near decent no. of women in the urban areas now work neck to neck with the male counterparts. And hence, the interactions are much healthier and so they are bound to become friends. A boy and girl, man and woman become friends like just the rest.
Just when we apply this equation practically it doesn’t seem to work. People approve of a man and woman being together only if the ‘relationship’ is defined as either a brother or a lover. There’s no space for a friend. Never.
This can be tested with your interactions between your parents. For instance, you interact with a particular male colleague/ classmate more than the rest. A volley of questions about the history and geographical roots of the person shall be asked, and verified. You’d be indirectly asked why you’re meeting him more often.
Solution: Tell them he is seeing someone and treats you more like a friend to help him out.
They’d be a lot more relaxed. Because now your ‘friend’ is already see in the ‘bro-zone’ (in their heads, of course). And the faith in you shall be restored.
Which brings me to Point 2: A recently caught up word – friendzone
Your parents’ bro-zone in between friends is called friendzone. This is what happened between Rahul & Anjali in Kuch kuch hota hai. Kajol got friendzoned, because Shahrukh could only get “But she’s your best friend yaar” : )
Looking back at my experiences, I tried to identify this upcoming phenomenon called “friendzone”. And this is what it felt like in real life.
In most friendships between opposite sexes, over time either of the two develops feelings for the other. These feelings need not be “love” as largely assumed. These are just likings. Liking to spend time with the person; Going that extra mile for that person. Wanting to make sure the person is hale and hearty. These are the feelings. Sometimes though they are not only restricted to these. That’s where the ‘friendzone’ gets into the picture. One of the most influencing factors in this is the extras in your life who push you around into believing that spending time with a friend of the opposite sex is “love”. And that’s where we start to believe its love and complexities start. Because of course, being only friends for the basic reasons is ruled out.
And you get friendzoned. Your chances of a potential next step are ignored and you will be looked through. And of course as the term suggests, you’d be forever be stuck in the ‘friend’ ‘zone’
Why does it reach this stage? Because we complicate simple things. Only If Kajol would have mustered the courage to share her feelings, the movie could have been cut short and we would have been spared off many things!
Point 3: Friendship is the base of every other relationship.
Yes. Kuch kuch hota hai did help me through this also. Shahrukh’s “Agar vo meri sabse achi dost nahi ban sakti, toh vo mera pyar nahi ban sakti” did make a lot of sense.
This is my version of the whole thing. It may or may not be applicable to all. But I’m more than sure it’ll be applicable to most people in their mid-twenties’ who are facing these issues and understand its impacts much better.
Why do we make friends?
I remember the line from my sociology books “Man is a social animal”. And this animal needs animals like himself to survive. And so we make friends so that we belong to a certain ‘group’ and represent a certain set of thoughts endorsed by his/her fellow group mates who are called “Friends”
Basic criteria’s we generally have to make friends
Generally we make friend’s basis the kind of choices they have. Most of your friends will have atleast 3-4 strong common points and hence you guys mingle better.
Friendship is thus most definitely the base of every next step that needs to be taken – You make him a brother, boyfriend or just ignore the person. You need to be friends with him first.
So it’s just that. And most often should be only that. Between all kinds of people – be it any gender.
Point 4: The science behind it
Ah, this is the fun part. Like Rahul & Nisha from Dil toh Pagal hai. Shahrukh & Karishma’s tuning was pitch perfect. But even there poor Nisha got friendzoned.
Why is it that friendship between a guy and a girl is better? Obviously there’s a lot more to it than only the run of the mill theories like – Its lesser drama, less bitching and of course more fun (all of which is cent percent true). But there’s more to it than what meets the eye.
When it comes to friendship between a guy and a girl, all criteria’s to become friend remain the same. What changes but is the elicit response to the same things. If both of you like Bollywood films, you’ll have extreme set of reasoning to like the same thing. This extremeness is a fundamental difference between the way you are wired and way you think. History says, “Opposites attract” and yes they totally do. That’s why a boy & a girl connect much better on the same topics of liking despite strikingly opposite reasons. That’s where a bond is created and the friendship is set apart from the rest.
Apart from this, the tension of being judged is far less. As both of you know each other well enough and their choices. Unlike between girls, it’s far less complicated. You can call a spade a spade and be sure it wouldn’t be a topic of discussion once you leave. Of course, you’ll become one of them and at a lot of instances, feel the need to remind them about you being a girl.
Contrary to popular belief, the emotional impact is far greater than between girls. It is very simple, either you connect or you don’t. And if you don’t you don’t have to fake it. And so when you have a guy friend who is close to you, he’ll know exactly what must be disturbing you t what point because he can see what you cannot. He can look at things in ways you cannot. I can vouch for this, if you really need a person to stand by you through thick & thin. Make sure it’s of the opposite sex.
Like Aditi in Yeh Jawani hai Deewani said, “Kuch logo ke saath sirf waqt bitakar hi sab thik ho jata hai”. That’s where they fit in.
Point 5: So where’s the issue? And what’s the solution?
The solution is in one of my previous mentions. Nisha from Dil toh pagal hai is the solution. She faced the problem with all she had. And not only she saved a friend for life but also helped sort out Rahul’s life.
The issue is when the basic rules of friendship are compromised for. When the very reasons why it was fun to share your real feelings, your real problems becomes the real issue. When you start thinking before sharing, there’s a relationship you’ll compromise. This comes straight from personal experiences. You can save a friendship without being friendzoned or friendzoning somebody by just following one simple funda – Honesty & Transparency. If you trust the other person enough all you need is to be clear about everything you feel & think and life will be simpler. What is meant to be will anyway fall in place irrespective of what you want.
And one of the reasons is also our films – I do not have any Bollywood example to support my case here. All our films are about Love, none about friendship. The ones that come the closest are about Bro-mance and nothing else. Guess, it’s time we evolve.
Only if it was as simple to follow as it was to arrive at this, I would have far more friends than I currently have! Having made these mistakes over the last 20 odd years, I still have managed to have some friends with whom I can be myself – Needless to say they are mostly guys! And my buddies! And they are not FRIENDZONED. (Most of us are each others’ potential backups 😉 Officially!)