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Friends of friends

By Nickunj Malik - Jan 17,2018 - Last updated at Jan 17,2018

An ancient proverb states that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. According to this logic, the friend of my friend should be my enemy, right? So, why do not we take these pearls of wisdom seriously? If we did, we would avoid plenty of unnecessary heartache, I tell you, especially in this age of fake friendships.

On an average, I get roughly thirty new friend requests, via the social media, every month. This accounts to one a day, very much like the multivitamin that has been prescribed for me by my doctor. Most of them are accompanied by short messages where I am informed about the importance of accepting the friendly overtures that are sent my way. Why would anyone want to get to know a complete stranger beats me, but because I am naturally curious, I read all the missives, before deleting them. 

Some are grammatically incorrect, while others are in Spanish, Portuguese or French, the languages I need an interpreter for translation. My profile picture has me wearing a saree, which is essentially a traditional Indian dress that clearly marks my ethnicity, and avoids any confusion about my nationality. But still there are people who mistake me for a foreigner by writing to me in an alien dialect, and therefore, I derive great pleasure in marking such communication as spam. 

Recently, I heard a new term called “friend poacher”. What is that? Simply put, these are folks you introduce to your friends, who proceed to become more friendly with them, than they are towards you. So, basically, they poach your friends.

Now, for a gregarious person like me, I find no problem with that because one can just go out and make more friends. I mean, there is hardly any paucity of friendly people on planet Earth, and frankly, I quite like my one set of buddies to meet another group from elsewhere, and if they get along like a house on fire, why not? I love to, sort of, widen my circle of friends. Also, there is no copyright on friendship, is there?

Well, it seems that I am wrong, after all! My visitor from Dubai explains that being a “friend poacher” in his glitzy city, is a serious charge to be levelled against anyone who hobnobs with a certain section of the gentility. There are wheels within wheels apparently, and the culprits are made to face complete social ostracism, which, for many of them, is a fate worse than death. 

There are rules that have to be observed, and one cannot spontaneously decide to befriend somebody, simply because one hits it off with them. It is prohibited, unless it is with the knowledge and blessings of the introducer. And under no circumstance can the old friend be excluded from a gathering in which the new friend is invited. That is unthinkable and leads to instant accusations of “friend poaching”, an indictment nobody wants to live with.

I listen to all this with growing disbelief and wonder at their sheer level of immaturity. 

“One minute, who introduced us?” he asks me suddenly. 

“I can’t remember,” I shake my head.

“Try to recall,” he sounds panicky.

“I have to phone that person and tell him I’m here,” he says.

“It was your wife,” my husband chips in.

“Are you sure?” he is unsure.

“That’s right. Call her,” I tell him.

“Aha! I will give her the whole report later,” he exhales in relief.

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Comments

What a roller coaster ride friendship can be, exemplified in this passage. The friend of a prospective friend introduces to the new friend but the prospective friend has to keep the friend of the prospective friend in the loop( see I did not use the metaphor of roller coaster in vain.

Gawd,that's why it is better to settle for the enemy equation than to look for the quod erat demonstrandum convolutions friendship demands.

Hats off to the guy who invented English, just dropped an r to take a tongue in cheek linguistic swipe.

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