What do you do when you get angry with your friends and relatives? Do you stop talking with them till your anger ebbs and at the same time have an urge to talk and feel something is holding you back? Asked an acquaintance of mine (who is a practicing sociologist) as we were having dinner in a hotel.
Though I felt the question came out of the blue my response was rather spontaneous. “First of all I don’t believe in protesting silently when I am angry and keeping them guessing as to the reason for my silence. I’d rather sort out the issue at the nearest opportunity by talking it out with the person/s concerned. It may cause some unpleasantness but the issue will be nipped in the bud,” I said.
“Will you react the same way with both friends and relatives?” she asked after a long pause.
Why should there be a difference? I almost shot back.
The incident set me thinking for days and I tried to analyze to see the importance of the two categories of people in our lives. One category constitutes our blood and distant relatives and the other our circle of friends (which includes our inner as well as outer circle). I concluded that both categories of people are equally important and one cannot either under estimate or over estimate either of the categories of people as we need both in our lives. What is even more important is like any investment, one needs to invest in friendships and relationships and needs to work towards their enhancement. Investing in real estate, shares or the yellow metal might pay rich dividends in terms of monetary value and support despite the swings they undergo but investment in relationships both with friends and relatives is equally important as it provides the all important moral support in one’s life and more so in times of need.
Investment in relationships with people, be it relatives or friends can be compared to a fixed deposit in a bank. Whatever be the amount you invest in a fixed deposit in a bank the money grows within a period of time and when you choose to withdraw, a sizable amount is in your hands and you benefit. The more number of times you renew when your fixed deposit expires, the richer is the outcome in terms of money. Similarly, if you invest in relationships and renew them from time to time a healthy relationship between persons evolves resulting in rich dividends (however in relationships you don’t allow them to expire, renewing them in this context means keeping in touch with people).
A common refrain you hear in the present scenario of increasing number of working couples is “where is the time to keep in touch with people?” Ask them whether they are in touch with their friends, prompt comes the answer, “certainly we are because friends are not the same as relatives”
Unfortunately this divide between friends and relatives, blood relations included seems to be widening with the former taking precedence over the latter and the adage out of sight, out of mind appears to apply only to the latter category of people. If only we realize that both friends and relatives are equally important and we are able to maintain our friendships and relationships without sidelining or giving up the latter for the former, we will truly acquit ourselves in society.
n.meera raghavendra rao