As much as we might protest about the Americanization of our culture, Friendship Day seems well and here to stay in India. Yesterday, I was surprised to see the kind of people buying friendship bands – there were young children, teenagers and very surprisingly some very simple looking middle-aged ladies too!While it’s wonderful to set aside a day to celebrate your friends, wouldn’t it be great to be nice to them all year around? Anyway it’s not my intention to debate the merits and demerits of celebrating Friendship Day. Instead, I’m attempting to make three broad classifications of the type of friends based on my experience –

FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS – Now who hasn’t heard of them, still worse, experienced them? I’d like to describe these people as the type who are around you only when it suits them, or when they can get something from you. They’re the type of people who having not spoken to you in years, will suddenly call out of the blue, supposedly to re-establish contact, but actually to ask you a favor. I’ve had several of those. One in particular would call once every few years, when she wanted something. The last time she called, before she went through the inane formalities of asking me how I was, I halted her with: “What do you want?” She said, “Oh, why do you say that?” And I promptly went on to say why I did. I thought that would stop her in her tracks, but there was no stopping this one. She denied she wanted anything, except a recommendation for a job!!!!

BAD WEATHER FRIENDS : This type are not in the dictionary, but I guess they’re somewhat like the ‘friends in need’ category, with one small difference. They are there when you are going through illness, tough times, heartache, heartbreak and any other type of misery and ‘bad weather’. They’re wonderful people to have in a crisis. But beware – it’s your misery that attracts them! They’ll give you a patient ear and loads of advice, will hold your hand, and hand you a tissue when you need it. But the danger is that they have such a need to be needed that they almost encourage you to be miserable. I’ve had one of those too. She was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on, when I was going through heartache (imaginary and otherwise!). But when I told her I had met ‘the one’ and had decided to get married – all she could offer were words of caution and a thousand reasons why things wouldn’t or couldn’t work out. For years I had tolerated her negativity .However, when I realized she couldn’t rejoice with me, I knew that it was time for me to move on.

ALL-WEATHER FRIENDS: I wish everyone could have at least one of these. These friends are there when you need them, and will drop whatever they’re doing to be ‘there’ for you. But they also know when you need to be left alone. And best of all, they know just how to ‘celebrate’ you – how to make you feel special, how to rejoice in all your little victories and laugh with you at the times you make a complete idiot of yourself. I’m so blessed to have a few of these – they’re people of substance who make me want to be a better person and every encounter with them makes me feel good about myself.

Having made these classifications, I wonder which category I fall in to with most people. Hopefully, I can be the all-weather category to the people who consider me their friend…….

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”~ George Eliot

May you be inspired – every day!