Friends versus relatives

Institution of family, one via blood-kin or through wedlock, serves very elemental and inevitable social purpose. When roots are shared, we know our strengths and fallibilities, foibles, emotional needs, causes of joys and sorrows. The system has stood test of time owing to it’s inherent strengths accumulated over time immemorial. So deeply is it ingrained that a whole lot of things in a family are taken for granted consciously, without scrutiny. Thus, family fallout anywhere is always considered news, whether in over-indulgent press or grapevine while even a decades-long friendship gone sour is hardly mentioned in comparison. It is so deep rooted in family that even actions often amounting to physical deviation or criminality are casually overlooked with a degree of fondness bordering downright lunacy.

What is the best way out?

The only way out is family of togetherness should actually begin with kindred feelings. Every relationship intra- as well as inter-generational, irrespective of age-difference / status-difference / educational background-difference….MUST evolve into friendship over a period of time. Earlier, the better. Relatives tend to take us for granted owing to proximity of blood. And that’s the main reason why most of relations fail to evolve into friendship. If a relationship fails to evolve into friendship, it collapses into bickering and bitterness sooner than later.

Relatives should not merely believe, since bond of blood is stronger than the rapport / intimacy hence there is no need to exert anymore. Do not treat your relationships like a frozen ice-cream in your refrigerator, as and when you crave, take out, enjoy and keep back the leftover for the next serving !! That’s the way, most of relatives treat and serve relationships. Constant nurturing of relationship is an anathema to relatives. Such a claim to intimacy through assertion is hardly better than bondage. Yet, we go on hallucinating about some noble notions of our relations who do nothing beyond extracting unremitting measure of emotional allegiance. Exceptions are certainly there but they are mere exceptions that remain exceptions till one fine morning infected by the ‘Relationship Virus’, turned into a burden to carry on with.

Friends always undertake initiatives to maintain and nourish relations of friendship. That’s the main reason friendships mostly survive rigours and ravages of time. Society has evolved so much so that your next door neighbour is your most important relative and joint families have been substituted by Residents Welfare Associations. Yes, these are realities and we must accept them immediately and gladly.

And in-laws are always on the edge, always conscious that they are neither real friends nor true family members.

If one strives to strike true friendship with a relative successfully, it is one of the greatest things that can happen between two human beings. It is possible when the sense of possessiveness/sense of ownership is missing from contents of the relationship. If we are wise enough to allow our consciousness blow like a pleasant breeze without inculcating unnecessary affinity or burdensome attachment, there is every possibility for the relationship to flourish and survive for long. Such a matured, healthy relationship is also largely devoid of expectations. Do we really have any right to hold expectations from others when we are ourselves incapable of honouring our own expectations? Facts must be accepted without much of a fuss. If a change is necessarily required, it must be attempted wisely and amply communicated over without insisting upon the change steadfastly. Just as we cannot have a sense of possession over the sun, moon, stars…we must nurture ourselves with respect to relatives in the same fashion. If we love and admire a beautiful bird, it must remain free to fly so that the bird remains healthy and joyous. Once caged, bird shall be destroyed eventually.

Relationship with spouse is the best one to experiment with. Spouse is first a friend-cum-genuine well-wisher then a family member. It is essential too, otherwise conjugal bliss and gobs of children would be seriously jeopardized. And if you make friends with your grown up kids, aunt, nephew, possibility of matters going wrong are slim because you genuinely share roots of your very existence with them.

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