Thursday, June 2, 2016

Art of making friends beyond 25!!

By -  Mridula Chaudhari

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.

                                                                         Hubert H. Humphrey

In this world of instagram, facebook, twitter and what not, I was completely foxed when I read the headline, ‘You are unlikely to make friends beyond 25’. How’s that possible? I cannot forget the oft repeated, ‘Man is a social animal’ verbatim in school. With shrinking families and DINKs (Double Income No Kids) doing the rounds, how can we not make friends even if we reach 80 years? After all we need somebody to talk to yaar! How can we just sit glued to our laptops and cellphones and keep hitting the like button and send smilies to every post on Facebook and WhatsApp? No doubt, to do that is our moral responsibility (?), but what about the urge to share happiness and grief by word of mouth and one’s body language doing the talking when we really have to fish for right words?

The article quoted that the scientists after a thorough study inferred that men and women continue to make more friends until the age of 25 and after that the number starts falling, falling and falling more. The article stated, “researchers found that an average 25-year-old man contacts around 19 different people per month, while 25 year old women contacted an average of 17.5 people. By the age of 39, however, men and women were calling an average of 12 and 15 people per month respectively”.

I am quite certain that the scientists probably forgot to take sample survey of Indian people. We Indians just cannot live without making friends, at any age. Be it a stranger on the road or a new family just shifted in the neighborhood. “Aap naye aye ho kya?” would be the opening sentence. “Oh, kahan se aye? Kaise kya aye? Yeh ghar aapko kisne suggest kiya? Aapke kitne bacche hai”, volley of questions would not stop even for the neighbor to offer an answer. The one way traffic stops only if Mrs. Sharma’s cell phone rings, and the conversation stops with, “Let’s meet when you are settled”.

Mrs. Sharma then makes a mental note of visiting her new neighbor in the forthcoming week. Soon the new neighbor is added to one of the many kitties that Mrs. Sharma attends apart from being her facebook friend, WhatsApp friend and is socially active in reality and virtually too. Needless to say that Mrs. Sharma’s new neighbor is left with little choice.

Who said you are unlikely to make friends beyond 25?

Since the past one year, I was requesting my hubby darling to take me on a tour of maybe ‘Exotic America’ or ‘Mesmerizing Australia’ or some other such location. He kept searching the internet for ‘lowest fares’ of air bookings and hotel bookings. I declared, “No, no I don’t want to go alone with you. Let’s go with one of the travelling group tours. That way we will have lot of people to talk to and make new friends”. He, for a change, loved my idea. We went on a tour and believe me we made at least 10 more friends in 8 days. That is some statistics for the scientists to ponder on!!

And somebody said you are unlikely to make friends beyond 25!

My friend’s mother-in-law, now 80 years old, has several groups that are still active. Mondays she goes to sing bhajans, Tuesdays are meant for playing carom, Wednesdays she attends a book reading club, Thursdays are meant for playing cards, Fridays her friends come over for a chit chat and Saturdays are reserved for social work. With new ladies joining the groups, she ends up making new friends even at the tender age of 80.

And then how can I even agree to the headline:
Turning 25? You are unlikely to make new friends now!!!