Speaking with my childhood friend is always fun. We have been friends for the past 40 years. Every time, we pick up a conversation from where we left the last time and invariably it will be about what we used to do together while in school and in the place where we grew up and the people we made fun of or played with.
The conversation goes on for a few minutes, then we will speak about our parents, relatives and we would switch to small talk.
Same goes for my engineering friends, except a few and my room partner of 3 out of 4 years. And the story goes for management school friends, early work colleagues and some more.
Yet, with a few of my friends and colleagues, the relationship is very deep, we speak about very personal things, learn from each other and have created moments of togetherness that can really be said as our moments and not driven just by the situation around us.
There is a thread that runs through different relationships, we are school mates, desk mates, room mates, work mates and not much more, most of these are situation driven. You are together because the school or work has got us together. But then if that remains the context of our conversations, as soon as the context changes, we will remain to be acquaintances.
I and a friend had a hilarious conversation, about a very serious relationship, marriage. She is of the view, many of the marriages she has witnessed, are of room mates types, they are together for most of the things but its about exchanging thoughts, doing what is right — giving birth to children, raising them to be right, sending them to best of the schools and then waiting for being a grand parent, but very less of being an authentic person, they will be supportive of each other to a fault but very few edgy conversations… very little chemistry. So, marriage is a context for them to be together, two can choose to become an amazing pair or remain just room mates.
The best way to deepen a relationship many a times is — create a deeper context and be ready it may or may not work out.
A colleague of mine, now a friend/partner, and I, decided to start a business years ago. We always thought, being colleagues and working in an MNC and pretending to be real friends is too fictitious. Best way to test that is, become partners in a business and see how we stack up as genuine friends. There will be challenges, there will be testing times, we will be burning hard earned money — together and will our friendship still hold? Will we respect each other even then? the brighter side is, if we go through, we would create a context for us to be together for the longest time.
A flip side, another friend of mine,maintains, one should never engage friends in a business relationship.
It’s an experience to have real relationships — no egos, no starting points, no hard stances… just conversations and ways to build a conclusion that is bigger than the initial thought of both. It requires openness, listening and empathy.
Always, we start being acquaintances, if some of those mean a lot to us, it makes sense to create a deeper context for those be eternal.