Is Friendship Confined by Boundaries?

A few weeks back, I had an argument with an acquaintance over how we don’t chose friends based on their bank balances. I told her (I’ll call her X), friendship like love, knew no boundaries like money, class, gender and such. While she conceded that it may sometimes be the case in love, she vehemently denied that friendship was entirely unaffected by meaner human mores and conventions. She told me I was naive and idealistic. And then she left me to munch over these questions –

Did I have any super rich friends?

Much as I tried to remember even one, no.

Did I have any poor friends?

Uhhh… much to my shame, I discovered, no.

Oh to be sure, there are variations in how well-endowed one is from the other, and to be sure I have friends from different countries, different backgrounds and religions too, but NONE in the above two categories!

So what did that mean? Was she right? That friendship is affected by these boundaries of caste, class, gender, nationality that we humans have created?

But first let’s go to the root of what friendship means. I’m not talking about those 500+ connections you have on Facebook, Twitter, what not; the ones you haven’t even seen, neither heard from in years. I’m also not talking about those who you interact with on a daily basis while you’re at work, or at school, college, or at whatever keeps you busy, unless you hang out with them every so often, because you like to hang out with them.

I’m talking about those people who you are close enough with to call them in the dead of the night for an emergency. I’m talking about those who are first and foremost in your list of ‘I wanna share this with someone‘. It, friendship, means different things to different people.

I, for example, am a very private person. Trusting comes hard to me, making friends is harder still. So for me, the distinction of being a ‘friend’ goes only to those with who I have shared moments, days, years, tragedies, joys and such things for a considerable length of time. Or if I haven’t spent much time with them, then they have a certain je ne sais quoi that has forged a strong friendship. That means my ‘actual’ circle of friends shrinks down to a very minuscule number of people. Everybody else is just an acquaintance, or a co-worker, or a neighbor, or another title, but not a friend.

To be sure, I found plenty of folks in the above mentioned categories who were just acquaintances, or such titles, to me. Butย it was in that minuscule circle of friends that I searched for people from extremely well to do, or well not to do backgrounds. And I couldn’t find any. Nil!

I might sound like a pompous prig, but I was genuinely surprised because my choice in friends was never consciously made keeping their status or their bank balances in mind. I am friends with them because they clicked with me, they have the same experiences and the same, for want of a better word, ‘sameness’ as me. They feel familiar, un-alien… comfortable.

Did that mean that X was right after all? That we, consciously or unconsciously, gravitate towards people with who we share similarities, in terms of social status, backgrounds, nationalities, or even something as mundane as a ‘bank balance’?

You tell me, dear Reader, is Friendship in reality, confined by such boundaries?

Have a Pensive Wednesday!

Copyright ยฉ2017 by Pradita Kapahi.

All rights reserved.

Image Credits:ย http://letsbefriends.blogspot.in

79 thoughts on “Is Friendship Confined by Boundaries?

  1. It is definitely a complex question. May be, it can be rephrased as: can someone beyond my reach become a friend? Probably, yes but chances are low because of there is a coziness if friends are within the social circle. Of course social circle is something that we define ourselves. Very thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and you’re right, we seek a cozy relationship with people. Someone outside of our social circle just makes us uncomfortable. And friendship is all about being comfortable with friends. Thanks for taking the time to read and for responding. I appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pradita, it goes far beyond that. everything people do is confined by boundaries. some of those boundaries are healthy, and many (many) more are almost entirely arbitrary.

    friendship, love, thought, pastime, convention, solution! education… so many things, right down to what people think is “okay” and what is “never okay.” and every culture and sub-culture and part of a sub-culture has its own little mores and people that judge/befriend/de-friend based on those.

    if you never thought so, youre either very naive OR a really great person.

    i give you the benefit of the doubt and i assume youre more open and less judgmental. youre not alone– but its still possible youre just as judgmental and just havent noticed. yes, that would be too bad. but even if that were the case, you could still learn from it. namaste!

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    • Thank you so much for that honest and thought provoking response. I know that it’s not just friendship that is confined to these social boundaries, but I wanted to discuss only friendship in this particular post. You’re right. Maybe I am a far more judgmental person, only I didnt know about it till now. Thanks again. ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

      • dont worry, everyone is judgmental. really great people figure it out and then spend their lives trying to do it less. (yeah, it takes a long time. you have to learn an entirely different way of thinking about people and the world. people that are working on it are still working on it.) ๐Ÿ˜Š you have a beautiful name!

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        • No im not worried about it. I’m glad I understood it now so I can work towards correcting it, if it can be corrected at all. Thank you again for the compliment over my name, and since I don’t know which country you are from, Namaste and have a great day ๐Ÿ˜Š

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post.My answer would be ‘No’ friendship is never confined by boundaries.In fact it is the only relationship where caste,status,religion,money plays no part.And you’re not choosy, you’re just friends with similar interests which is not wrong. Just that u hadn’t met any ‘friend’ of other status.Happy womens day pradita.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Is Friendship Confined by Boundaries? – EVENTS

  5. Well, I kind of look at it as, that is the circle you (or I) move in. Mostly middle class. I don’t have mega wealthy or poor friends; I may meet them thru work, but I wouldn’t fall in their circle, either.

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  6. I think everybody judges, whether they know it or not. Of course it’s easier to find common ground and be best friends with someone who has experiences at least slightly similar to our own. To bridge a gap between remotely positioned communities and categories would require too much effort, and a conscious will to extinguish a definitely present inbuilt prejudice against them.
    And to actually put in work to befriend someone you do not know is something I doubt most people would do. So yes, we all judge, and we’re all confined by our mental boundaries. Are we missing out on some great relationships because of it? Maybe. But birds of a feather flock together, and we are subconsciously drawn to people who understand us and can relate to us, and vice versa. Nothing innately wrong with that, I think.
    Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot for that detailed post, Gurl. Yes, Birds of a feather do flock together, as I’ve come to realise now. And you’ve rightly pointed out how we are too lazy to make an effort to know someone who’s out of our comfort zone. There’s fear as well – of being rebuked, or rejected or being awkward. Thanks for commenting ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well , nobody makes friendship looking at someone’s bank balance, except probably in movies๐Ÿ˜‰.
    We connect, our ideas gel, we love each other’s company and that’s why we become friends. I think friendship is not defined by the material wealth one posseses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You, apart from one another, are the only one to reflect brightly on the topic. Because so far, whoever has commented, has confirmed exactly what I feel. It feels depressing to know that even though we don’t mean to be money or class minded, we ultimately do because of the way we are wired. So your dissent on the topic is something I truly welcome. Faith in humanity, restored. Thanks for commenting ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It is, and it isn’t. Works both ways. Of course X was right in calling you idealistic. And you were right in believing that friendship knows no boundaries. However, I guess that this is how things are these days. We gravitate towards people who have a sameness with us, whom we can relax with. And since our circles are usually defined by who we know from our social experiences, the chances of people far beyond our economic strata being real friends with us is remote. That is unfortunate in a way, yes. But that’s just how it is. Krishna-Sudama was celebrated because it was a rare thing even in the Dwapara Yuga. This is Kalyug after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. this is a very good question..according to me it is very difficult for people to keep friendship with people from different status, simply because their lifestyle are completely different. and there will be things which you being rich can do, and you poor friend cant afford. and you cant help him or her because that might be disrespectful. and the friend may get jealous of your background. so there are complications. but it is not impossible. if two people understands each others situation and have respect towards each other then it may happen.
    the best solution will be- try it. try making a new friend from a different status, and may be you can achieve what you think. The biggest challenge for an idealist is to prove that being idealistic is actually good.
    shreyans

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  10. No one seems to have mentioned the “time factor” in this discussion, the fact that time marches on and that people change over time. The rich can become poor and the poor can become rich. I grew up poor, a boy in a working class family in one of the poorest areas of the UK. One of my closest friends and I became rich through education, career, investment. He lost everything through a nasty divorce and cancer. I became mega wealthy. Do you think we are still friends? Any of you now might question “why is that wealthy, well dressed man having a meal with that scruffy dirty looking man?” The answer is …… because he will always be my best friend wether we are rich or poor!

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    • That’s a very heart warming story, Dr. B. It restores my faith in the purity of friendship. You and your friend are an example of how this relationship can withstand the vagaries of time and life. But as much as I’d like to think that I too have such great friendship with someone, I don’t. I mean not the kind that has faced such ups and downs as your did. My friends have largely been from that same social strata that I belong to. Their nationalities may differ, they language, customs and religion may differ, but their social standing is largely the same. And I see that now in everyone around me, my husband, my MIL, even other friends if my friends or this acquaintance X I had a n argument with – all have retained friends from the same social circle. And I’m sure none of them do consciously. It all happens because that how we are. Birds of same feather, flock together, they say. I do concede that with time one may come to value friends who truly matter, instead of all the baggage we carry around in our social circle. But that, like your fine freindship, I feel is an exception, not the norm

      Liked by 1 person

      • Time is a test of your friendship, I have been on this earth for a longer time than you (!) ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ so have experienced and observed many changes. You will be tested if one of your friends becomes poor, but I do accede that whilst you are NOT poor you are unlikely to befriend a poor person. The main difference is with my wife, Dr C, a retired teacher who has so many poor friends in our village it is unbelievable. Why is this? The answer is ….. because she was their teacher and became their friend, and it so funny sometimes to see these rough looking tall young men towering over her in the street, in shops, or sitting chatting to her in the village pub.

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  11. Making friends beyond our status is difficult since there are odds which are difficult to match. Likeness is also a function of your socio economic status, therefore you’re likely to have something in common with people from your economic strata. Also humans are largely programmed… To be predisposed and to judge.

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      • Although it’s a personal issue, in my experience having a wide friend circle helps you change your perspective and makes you a better person. That’s my personal experience with widening of my circle. Yes your core friends remain same but new friends enrich your life.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s true and I’d love to do that too but unfortunately I’m in a position right now where I’m unable to make new friends. The nature of my job and my daughter keep me largely confined to home, so that making new acquaintances is a rarity. But I agree, the more you meet and interact with people from different walks of life, the more exposure you get in terms of how complex human behaviour is. Would love to be out and meet up too but I have to bidr my time I guess ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  12. I’m amazed that what you describe as “you” sounds so much like me. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I use the word “friend” very sparingly too. Coming to your question, just like you mentioned, it is about with whom we click. I have a friend who is super rich. She’s friends with me since high school. I also am close to a cleaning lady, considerably poor. So I don’t think anything except “who that person is” matters. Well at least to those who don’t form “friendships” for their own selfish benefits. A wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think subconsciously some people do pretend to be your friend when it benefits them, (friends with benefit). It’s a sad thing to come across but it can happen. I had a close friend since college and I would help her alot with any issues she had but I noticed that when a found out i had some money which happened to be my student loan at that, she used me for it to a great extent and i dismissed it for fear of losing our friendship but realised it was bad on selfishnes. I’ve had other encounters since being sick where I got limited to being as social so they didn’t be me as much perhaps and I saw their real intentions. I have maybe three close friends who would be there without anything in return and the rest I’d call acquaintances of good nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right. Some people are only fair weather friends, if you can call them friends at all. Which is why my friends circle,like yours, is very small. But even among those friends, I can say that I am close to those who share the same background as me, because we can connect on several levels. Has that happened to you too in you close friend circle?

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      • Strangely no I’m not close to them because of my background but I can relate to people on that basis too. The close knit friends are those who share the same passion or interests as me and i know would be there for me but being socially limited i find it hard to regain a trust to rebuild a friendship after losing so many in the past. I’ve never been able to relate to others in the same way as they thought I was too weird for my choices.

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        • I’m glad then that your friendship runs deeper than mine seem to. I’m Socially limited too, but the only friends I have are largely from the same background because they seem to be the only ones who are able to understand why I’m socially limited. They have that same social limitations too. They’re the ones who make me feel less lonely. My weirdness they accept just as I accept theirs. I hope you keep and make more friends. True friends are hard to find and harder to keep. Thanks for commenting ๐Ÿ˜Š

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          • I only have two close friends and one lives in another country so it’s a difficult situation. Like you they accept me for my weirdness but for the most part of my life I’ve often felt alone and still do since not being as social. I’m ill so it has made things a lot harder and I have met so many distrusting and selfish people that it’s made me go back to being more introvert. But thank you and you’re always welcome. You speak about a lot of insightful things that I can connect to. I can see we would have been quite good friends not just virtually heh. And I hope your friendship stays true.

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            • Distance does make it harder. But if you still have been able to keep the friendship, then that’s no mean feat. I had some friendships taper out into nothingness now because we’re far away ๐Ÿ˜• I hope you recover soon and can make more social strides in life. Loneliness is not a good place to be at. Yes, you and I have much in common. We could have been great friends if we had met. But life’s long and possibilities plenty. Keep hope afloat ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  14. Reblogged this on The Two Doctors and commented:

    An intriguing article about Friendship from Pradita one of my WordPress “friends”; I red it and commented on it a few days back but have been thinking about it since then. I believe that at the root of it we make friends based on SHARED VALUES, not our wealth, status, position, race, background. These are the intangibles, the unseens, the immeasurables and part of our belief system. A bit like an onion with layers, behaviour is skin deep, attitudes underneath the layer, then beliefs and finally values at the core. Personally my own strongest values relate to Integrity, Work Ethic, Learning, Respect ……. and reflecting over the past few days recognise that ALL of the people I call “friend” have these values too. Some are wealthy some not, some are English some not, some live near me some don’t, some are highly educated some not ….. but, common values bind us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dr. B and I applaud you because your friendship and your values are unfettered by meaner human emotions and materialism. I hope this article forces your readers to do some introspection too. Thanks again ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I definitely don’t believe that friendship is confined to such boundaries. I believe friendship is based on connection and emotions. It is important to have like-minded friends, but also opposites attract too. I believe having friends from different age groups, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds only adds to the richness of friendships, allows depth, diversity and promotes a wider understanding of others. It is better to have a few “close/best friends”, but that doesn’t mean that people who aren’t as close cannot also be called “friends”. If your close friends happen to be within those boundaries, it may be just because it’s who you happened to click with at the time. Also, people within the same money, class and gender as you would be more accessible and easier within reach to form these close connections with. To me, an acquaintance is someone who you don’t necessarily want to hang out with because there is not much of a connection – just someone who you happen to know of. Great blog post and discussion topic!

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    • You’ve given me a different perspective on friendship by saying that maybe all my friends just happened to be from the same background, rather than me having unconsciously chosen them because ‘of’ the backgrounds. I do hope that I can redeem myself because this revelation has caused quite a stir in me. I agree, that diversity only adds richness to this relationship that is based purely on trust and mutual love, unlike other relationships in the world. Thank you for stopping by and commenting ๐Ÿ™‚

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  16. Long time Pradita.
    As per the tricky question that you raised in the end, consciously we don’t, at least I don’t, make friends based on their financial status. But if we will look around, we find ourselves surrounded with people who are, more or less, at the same financial level as we are. Just like the way you mentioned.
    I have had an experience when I was befriended with a girl who used to earn (still earns) almost double to what I used to. This thing never bothered me. But there used to be times when splurging money over trivial matters didn’t matter to her, but it did to me. And now we are not much in contact. Salary that we were being paid isn’t the reason our friendship didn’t flourish. But somehow it just didn’t work out that well.
    So, yes, maybe not consciously, we end up with friends who are like us, financially or in other ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aditit, my girl, long time it has been indeed. Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with your posts either. Have had a very busy month ๐Ÿ˜ฅ thanks a lot for responding. And I relate to your incident because I’ve had the same thing happen to me too, but when u was in school. Pocket money was dearer when you were hanging out with rich kids. So eventually even I stopped hanging out with them. We dont do these things consciously but when we start feeling uncomfortable with other people’s differences, we start drifting apart, without any intention of trying to patch things up.

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  17. I think friendship includes understanding and feeling connected. I think we most likely do find that more so with people in our similar wealth bracket. As I got older and wealthier, some friends who were poor and happy to stay there fell behind. I grew and perhaps they didn’t grow with me. I know that sounds a bit snobbish and I know for a fact that a couple of them even called me a snob, but I no longer had anything in common with them any longer.
    And by this, I mean extreme wealth differences. I think middle class comes in various levels.
    So perhaps your friend is correct … love your writing by the way. Look forward to following your blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping here and taking the time. That’s excatly what I meant when I wrote this post, that perhaps our economic conditions bring in different kinds of changes to our lives and lifestyles which are no more the same with our old time friends as was the case before. And that’s when we start drifting apart from them, because at its very core friendship is about sharing a level of comfort with your friends, and as much as I’d hate to admit it now, I’ve come to realise that ‘that’ comfort come from money as well. I know it sounds crude but that’s the truth of it. I’ve followed you right back and hope that this tete a tete continues. Have a great day ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I too would have agreed with you, but when I compare it to what the truth of my friendships is, I see quite the opposite happening. Maybe I’m just shallow or haven’t been exposed to many people, but this is what I found out about friendship. Thanks again for taking time out

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