The Adult Playground!

Beyond the be nice, be there & give love there are some friendship learning’s that I have gathered along the way. I share my top 5 here ..

“I am not going to be your friend because you are not nice to me” my 4-year-old promptly announced to his friend as they both continued to pout and play. Everyone there very well knew that indeed, they were going to be each other’s friends.

They will be friends as long as they are in the same class or until one of the parent, most likely non-verbally, communicates to the parent that “I am not going to be your friend because you are not nice to me” I mostly joke about the parental tiff, but you get the point.

We have ALL been there and sometimes we have handled conflicts with grace and courtesy, and sometimes we have learned what to do next time!

Friendships are Friendships – Childhood or Adulthood. Fundamentally, we choose and careful curate a set of people that we proudly call friends.

Then, enter Hierarchy:

My Acquaintances.

My (work, activity, group, parent – insert anything you wish) Friends. 

My BEST Friend. 

Sometime in early childhood the idea of a single friend who is above all forms. It is beside the point that this best friend is a moving target because … well, it is accepted, assumed and expected that we evolve through childhood. 

We want companionship.

We want to belong.

We want to converse about our interests.

We want to do activities together.

We want to plan vacations together ( Side Note: Do these plans every materialize? Asking for a friend)

We want to be wanted and we want to be with others.

We want reciprocation and respect.

We want knowledge.

We want laughs.

We want help and to help.

We want to get along.

We want to agree to disagree, gracefully.

We want joy from our friends and we want to give them joy. 

Often, we want all of this from one friend or we want all of our friends to have all of this.

Read that again … doesn’t it sound like a lot for one person?

I love friendships and it is what I crave the most after my family. I am insanely grateful to have such friendships, so many of them. The power of surrounding yourself with uplifting, fun and a supportive crowd is phenomenal. 

As a South Asian transplant who has spent 16yrs in India and 23yrs and counting in the USA …. I have not only experienced friendships but also ‘immigrant friendship’ which I can best describe as a friendship which is initiated, created, crowded and eventually either fiercely loved, ruthless judged but maintained, strongly disliked or casually enjoyed. As an immigrant, you leave home to make another place home. It makes one want to hold on dearly to anything that has a familiarity or reminder of home, including people. It becomes a friendship solely based on familiarity and not focused on a personality match, sometimes. Sometimes it is magic and sometimes a gimmick!

Until then here are my five learnings from this adult playground. These learnings come from my mistakes/my observations and not in any particular order:

Friendships are built on an open heart & open mind

The possibilities for friendship are endless but our ingrained bias limits us. While preferences are normal the ingrained bias could be worked on. Those invisible checkboxes that we need to check, limit us.

Let go of the checklist and the world opens up. Only you know your checkbox(es) but the most common ones, in my observation, are around race & age. Get over them and see how beautifully you get rewarded with varying perspectives that add to your life.

Friendships need respect, reciprocation, and room. 

A large part of friendship is planning: To Meet up, To Converse and To do things together. It’s the small things: If you agree to attend, then participate. If you are invited or asked, respond in a timely manner. If you want to be respected, respect back. Friendship is not a free pass to be disrespectful and the moment you treat your friend as an option until ‘a better plan/person comes along’ – you are disrespecting the friendship.

Be there, if you can. If you cannot, make it clear.

Also, someone’s lack of participation is not about you. Not everything is about you! Friendship needs room to accept and decline participation in a friend’s life without judgment. In the end, it is for each individual to decide which friendships to nurture and which one to let live organically.

Friendships need more than gossip

I could have worded this to read – Friendships need substance but it will dilute what I want to articulate.

I am not beyond a respectful chuckle or two about someone with someone else. The gossip I refer to here is the kind that is used as a basis to form a relationship. That kind that defines your friendship and that is the only type of conversation material that friendship thrives on.

Also, if someone is talking to you about someone in their absence. They are talking about you in your absence to someone.

Friendship needs substance – it could be funny memes, politics, pop culture and anything …… just not negative judgment, all the time.

Friendships are not created equal

It is natural to connect with people based on our current phase of life. It is also OK to connect with people for a specific reason. Rather than lament what the friendship doesn’t give, just accept it for what joyous purpose it serve and nurture it just for that.

Not everyone has to be your everything – with some I enjoy conversations over wine and with some, I want to take a cooking class! Enjoy what your friend brings to your life and make peace with that much, it’s enough and it’s lovely.

Friendships have phases

EVERY.RELATIONSHIP.HAS.PHASES

Allow your friends the time to be in their phase and expect the same from them.

Sure, I would love an uninterrupted adult conversion but my 4 year old has a differing view. So, unless I get him a a playmate the chances for my conversation are slim!

We tend to gravitate towards friends in a similar phase of life and we miss the other ones. One day both of us will find a way back. Just give it time. If we don’t find a way back then let’s just cherish what we had!

A whole lot of fun & love sprinkled with some practicality builds some solid friendships — these are ones I have and I am so very proud of my friends! Thank you for being my friend!

Friendships: The Possibilities, if we allow it.

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” – Winnie the Pooh.

Peddler’s Purpose

My mom’s peddling made me furious until I realized that it was precisely what I need.

My mother turns to a drug the moment something unpleasant happens or an unpleasant thought has been vocalized to her. This drug has sustained her through challenges, and there have been some lofty challenges! Mostly emerging triumphant, wiser and stronger and sometimes just high of life is my mother, the user and the peddler.

Her drug is Positivity and she peddles this drug like her life depends on it & and as if it’s coconut oil and the time is 2015’ish.

If you think it, it happens! – My Mother’s 90% thought process.

From politics to potting plants – her ask/solve is to think positive.

I tried that with my succulents. And reported back to her that it doesn’t work out as such. Ofcourse, I knew that! This was was my way of fighting that positivity peddling.

That constant peddling of positivity was infuriating and confusing to me. Confusing because what she peddled was brilliant, true and I am more percent optimist than anything else. Infuriating because .. I had no clue and that made it worse.

The thing is that I spent my 20’s ignoring or let’s say slathering coconut oil on my life and waiting for a miracle. It was not until I turned 29, I self-helped – more of that in a post of its own, at a later time. Today we focus on my annoyance towards my mother’s positivity!

So, I did what I have done all my life – FFO. Figure the F**K Out. (Yes, my posts will have encrypted language once in a while, or all the time or to taste – I am not sure)

Why did my mother’s positivity peddling annoy me when I knew that has value and it made sense? I had to know and I did what I do best, over-analyze, only this time I did it with some method to the madness and it became clear: Positivity without a plan and Positivity without inclusivity are like ‘Thoughts & Prayers’ – sure, it feels good but you are no where close to a solution. And, for most of my issues, I was just whining. I did not have a plan or willingness to actually DO something about it. What I wanted to do was whine and for someone to dole out sympathy. Lucky for me my mother peddle-ed positivity!

I had self-helped myself for big things in life but for the medium and small parts, I whined. I whined when I should be acting.

For example: I whine about these extra 30lbs … 35lbs if I am being honest. I am surrounded by incredible examples of friends & family who are fitness and physical health inspiration. And, the ball is n my court.

So, if you ever find yourself dismissive or infuriated with positivity then I urge you to explore the below before you dismiss the peddler:

  1. Check in with your cynicism. Maybe it’s the hurdle to giving life. people and situations a chance.
  2. Explore opportunities for self-growth and plan in tiny parts. Physical fitness is my goal and mental fitness comes organically to me. I need to apply the same approach to physical fitness as I did to my mental routine – start small until it becomes lifestyle. I need to begin with water intake & 10mins of movement.
  3. No one has a perfect life. Sometimes done is better than perfect, unless you are cooking! But really, just pause, surround yourself with positive inspirations and if you find yourself unhappy, DO something.
My Mom!

When a positive message makes you smile – You are somewhat peaceful. You get it! You may not dwell on it, but you get it. It doesn’t annoy you. You are my inspiration 🙂

This post for my mom – my forever & always positivity peddler. And it has happened.. sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out. I love you, Mom!

❤️