Updated: Jun 27
Story by Manmeen Kaur
It was in fifth grade that I had grasped the meaning of best friends. According to my school’s system I was separated from my friends and moved to a section for students who scored top marks. Not only did I lose my friends but it made them label me as ‘arrogant’. In my new class I was left to befriend students I was not comfortable with. It was the first time I felt like I was alone. Since then I have always liked to be called as ‘somebody’s best friend’. The term itself held a lot of meaning for me.
With the longing and understanding also came fear. I was scared that my best friends might not reciprocate my deep feelings of friendship and my desire to sustain such relationships. The fear reached its peak in the lockdown, when there was no way of keeping communication with my friends.
One of the reasons was my unresolved angst over the fall out I had with one of my best friends, a year and half ago. I thought I had accepted the estrangement. But in the loneliness that came with the lockdown, the feelings that I once pretended had extinguished, also ignited.
Talking to others is my way of getting constant validation and coping with my anxieties. During lockdown, I could not reach out to my friends because I felt like I had tired them with my worries and that they were occupied with classes and exams. Even if I met them for a day, when I got back home I would feel lonely again.
I was also applying to colleges, abroad; but I started to feel that if I move away, the friendships I have would not withstand the distance and time difference, as they did not seem strong. I also feared losing my confidant, my mother.
All these thoughts created a storm in me, some days I would cry for no tangible reason. I could not explain everything to my family and most of the time even I was unaware of what exactly I was going through.
In the end, it was my mother who helped me through it all. I opened up to her about my need to see my friends. As the lockdown was removed, I got to meet them all again and return to my former happy self. I am still plagued by the thoughts that one day I will be all alone, but that voice has significantly faded. Right now, I am aware that those relationships that are meant to stay will be there with me, and mutual effort and patience are required to keep them.