There was a time when even an introvert like me used to make a lot of friends. Not that I was the most extroverted person out there. I mean no one ever saw me dancing madly in the middle of a big, fat Punjabi wedding, but I, like most teenagers out there, enjoyed getting along with people. I remember meeting a lot of people and making a lot of friends while roaming around aimlessly. Almost every single day, I used to bump into countless known faces. What followed those encounters were incredibly lengthy conversations that just refused to end.

I remember having a big bunch of friends who used to order my favorite food without having to recall it. There were those who understood silence. And then, there were those who organized last minute birthday parties full of fun and frolic.

Being someone’s friend and being friendly with people are two entirely different concepts. You can be friendly with your colleagues, but your colleagues might not be your friends.

In all fairness, life was much more exciting back in the days when we were teenagers, trying hard to complete our assignments well before the deadline. Teenage was quite tempting, I must confess. Back then, life was much simpler with a bunch of friends quarreling amongst themselves in order to get their hands on the latest Pokémon tazo. Some of you might disagree, but I strongly believe that, as teenagers, we were patient. That is exactly why we ended up making a lot of friends. As young adults, we’re a bit too impatient and reckless when it comes to adapting according to the situation’s requirement. Further, it goes without saying that as adults, we’ve lost our innocence.

Today, all we care about is making our presence felt. Competitiveness and rivalry seem to have overpowered our senses. As young adults, we have confined ourselves to our comfort zones. It is a shell wherein we pretend to be busy and engrossed. The truth, however, is that it’s all about prioritizing stuff. We spend time with people in order to fulfill our own selfish motives. The rest of them are left behind.

Back in the days when I was a kid, still cribbing and puking, liking or disliking something or somebody was quite simple. It could simply say “I really like that guy, he’s my best friend”. Back then, it was much easier for a person to like or dislike someone as there wasn’t a greater degree of insecurity in life. Moreover, as kids, we weren’t judged by anyone.

I remember having made a lot of friends when I was a schoolboy. Among best friends, there isn’t much to hide because as kids, we’re all on the same page. All of us are equally clueless, nervous, and ignorant. As far as the contemporary work-culture is concerned, the majority at the ground level tends to stick together as all of them are exploited to pretty much the same degree. As employees, we tend to work with a lot of people. There’s work and it’s never-ending. There are times when the multiple copies of the same project are submitted. There are times when multiple revisions are made to the same PowerPoint. There are times when success is just a distant memory, but all of us work without caring much about the consequences.

Fridays are the days when employees can be seen chilling out at bars and cafes. It’s that time of the week when everybody enjoys a drink or two, not because they’re the best of friends, but because the money is limited. Transient friendships like these keep us going throughout our 30s and 40s.

The reason we refrain ourselves from making friends is that we begin taking ourselves a bit too seriously. As adults, we’re a bit too insecure and stay away from those who smile and giggle too much. As professionals, there are far too many comparisons in life. We want to know what our best friends work and how much do they earn. We want to know which car they drive. To which school are they sending their children? There’s a mental confinement (quite similar to a list of clauses) that doesn’t let us trust someone with ease.

Friends spread far and wide owing to the nature of work they undertake and sometimes because of personal commitments. Frankly, there aren’t many which can be counted as ‘real’ friends. But despite everything, there are those who make an effort to stay in touch and keenly follow all our developments. We must really be thankful to all of them.

The rest of them, however, are nothing more than mere contacts that are categorized as friends, but may not necessarily be friendly when they actually meet.

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