>What’s your score on the popularity index?

>And if that’s a relevant question for you, let me also ask: would you rather be popular than right? Because sometimes I see people losing the line that divides the two. They lose that distinction between real and fake because they are trying so hard to be popular.

And if truth be told, I’ve done it too: faked a smile, an expression of joy, a familiarity with people where none exists. But friendships? No, those cannot be faked, not by me.
But then, I’m not popular either, you see. And not half as desperate as some others to notch up a few brownie points on the popularity chart to actually fake a friendship.

It’s the art of social networking, I’m told, and the investment of time and energy apart from money of course, pays rich dividends. You throw parties for perfect strangers, lavish them with the best of wines served in the most expensive crystal, open your house to the scrutiny of those strangers, show off your outrageously priced furniture and what-have-you and indulge in some mundane conversations – just so that you can call those strangers friends.

It’s the desperation to be seen with the rich and the famous of your city, to have your name on the invitation list of the high profile parties in town. Don’t mislead yourself to believe that any of that is friendship because friendship isn’t about enjoying meaningless conversations, or pandering to appearances. It isn’t not about toeing the popular line, or mouthing the ‘right’ words. It’s not about using someone’s contacts for your benefits or dropping names to show your clout. It’s not about popularity.

I don’t need to say this, but I want to: friendship is about standing up for a person, about wishing him well, about treating him as more than fodder for gossip. It’s about being able to laugh at somebody’s face and not behind his back. It’s about knowing how you’re different from your friend and accepting him for who he is. But not accepting him for what he is because he’s rich and famous. It’s about being able to tell him he’s without fear of your name being struck off the invitation list to his party.

I may not be popular, but I hope I’ve been a friend.

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32 responses »

  1. >As a not so popular person myself, I totally agree with what you just said! In fact, I go a step forward, and just CANNOT bear those fake conversations and fake smiles, so I just choose to stay away from them. I absolutely detest playing it up when it seems forced or with an agenda. So, I just dont even bother anymore. Its just bliss being around the people you know are your friends…who wants more right?Well said, well written!

  2. >So true. This touched a cord. I have had this inability to put up an act & be a "diplomat". It has proved to be a major disadvantage !! Well written D. I am sure u've been a good friend & I hope so too for myself.

  3. >i think u r both!!anyway…for me, i’m glad i’m popular among my friends and not just anybody.sometimes i do want to be popular, but i just cant fake it, and so i’m happy in my own little space which i love immensely. but we should not judge who do fake it.it’s their priority. I’m sure they have their real set of friends whom they cherish. being popular is just what keeps them happy.so long it doesn’t hurt anyone, let it just be!

  4. >so many of these ppl who seek attention can be seen wid abt 500+ friends on orkut….and trust me they barely talk to even 50 of those.they keep adding others just to show off.But its not about having a hundred many ‘friends’ who are around u during the good times….its about having true friends, even if they are just a few, when u need them the most.nice post:)

  5. >hmm..its not only about befriending the rich and the famous, I think. But I get the point you`re trying to drive home. I remember people in college always trying to hang out with the popular ones, go pub-hopping, roof-top partying etc. Such people were never lonely because they had some company, even if it was the scum of the universe. Whereas I spent many a lonely nights, huddled up under a blanket. Alone. Its sad when I think of it. I have no friends.Maybe I`m at the extreme end of the spectrum/ But then, I would rather be alone than be sucking up to people I dont like. I love the fact that we are similar on this, D 🙂

  6. >Not alone extravagant parties people have varied parameters ; like number of friends in orkut/facebook, no of comments on a blog post, number of people in g-talk so on and so forth. Sometimes I wonder these people who are high on social networking ; do they have real friends ? I don’t even score somewhere near to popularity index. and i am glad about it 🙂

  7. >Hey I like this post and agree with what you have so beautifully expressed :)I too would be a friend any day, and in the end that is all that matter. Those who try to be popular will find our how hollow those ‘contacts’ are…that cannot make you happy, and don’t we all wish to be happy eventually?

  8. >@Neha: I used to be like that. I think you get better at faking as you grow up ;)@Monika: I know what you mean about how it seems like a disadvantage. But trust me, we’re fine just the way we are!@Nisha: Just as it’s their prerogative to fake frienships, it’s mine to condemn them. @Krishnan: You want to join it? :)@pj: So true. The numbers don’t count if they aren’t true friends.@Piper: I just talked about thr rich and famous friends because it’s what I see see around myself predominantly. But it works at all levels. In college, I tired to live by the motto: “It’s better to have no friends at a time than to have the wrong friends.”@bluemist: That too. It is the strangest feeling to receive a friend request from people you barely know!@IHM: Yes, that’s the word for them – hollow!@chandni: 🙂 I thought as much.

  9. >I feel the same way as you do 🙂 and I really enjoy reading ur blog because you have a way of making a point!I cannot fake friendships…I have a very close circle of friends and I can count them with my fingers…It amazes me that these so called parties etc. is so common in India. At least I was never familiar with them having grown up in a middle class household! Maybe it was always the case with the so called rich…

  10. >Well even I prefer to be and have a true friend..But yes, Sometimes we all fake delight and joy at meeting people we barely know!But when you do so you feel sapped of energy-cos it requires a lot to fake and be chirpy!!

  11. >@Jira: They’ve become immensely popular among a certain group of people.@Ramby: Thank you :)@my space: Oh yes, it’s extremely tiresome.@bloggingknight: Thank you for showing that trust in me 🙂

  12. >I've been following your blog ever since I stumbled upon it couple of weeks back. I really enjoy reading your posts. I think everyone of us would relate to this one. Although in an ideal world nobody really prefers superficiality, I think most of us (if not all) at some point in time or the other would have been sucked into it – for popularity sakes or not. However, most often than not, such associations are pretty short-lived.The fact is, there can never be more than 1 or 2 people in a group who you would probably genuinely relate to & perhaps go on to become good friends with (maybe for life).Guess it takes time to be able to distinguish and divide the line between superficial & genuine associations. "Friendship is about standing up for a person, about wishing him well, about treating him as more than fodder for gossip." – Kudos to that!Nice comments from neha, pj, piper & bluemist. Piper's "I spent many a lonely nights, huddled up under a blanket. Alone." line was touching. All I can say is, you probably would never have imagined how many folks out there would have been in the same exact situation as you at that point in time 🙂

  13. >moving…wishes,Scribblers Inc.P.S.-The first time I am here…everyone is exactly on the same route that you talk about, but few can talk bout it…it remains, like a dirty secret for the rest…like me…

  14. >@Vinz: That’s well put.@Jenny: I’m glad tiy can relate to the stuff I write about. And you’re right, it’s only with time that we can relate to the real and fake friends.@Scribblers Inc: You can speak up for what you think.

  15. >Lovely post! I agree with you that friendships cannot and should not be faked – but sometimes I find it difficult to draw the line between ‘being friendly/trying to make new friends’ and ‘faking friendship’…

  16. >hey i havent even read this….. no time… net at home isnt working.. so im from a cafe.. and i dont have much time… ill be back after november mid 😀 c ya and tak care!ab

  17. >brilliant post. completely agree with what you said. spent all of high school trying to blend in and be thought of as “cool” before i realized how stupid i was being. ah well, better late than never :)as for being a friend, well, i hope i haven’t been too bad myself 🙂

  18. >@Sindhu: Thank you :)@mystic margarita: Amen!@Nabila: Oh, there are such awfully useless applications of Facebook.@fictional desi: I guess it goes the same way for most of us.@devaki: You may be faking a smile, an expression of joy, surprise, emotion while making new friends but you’re faking friendship when you’re trying to be someone you’re not for the sake of scoring brownie points. I made that very simple, didn’t I ;)@Ab: Oooh! Long break!@pseudo: I guess that’s what growing up is all about.@manasa: As they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed!@bluemist: I can’t access you blog. It’s disappeared!!!

  19. >again, a tough one. u’re good at throwing these curveballs, aren’t ya? 😉 not to blow my own trumpet but i’ve always been the popular-ish one all me life … never needed to cling on to anyone or pretend to be something that i never was … me just being me was plenty to get people to notice i guess … too much of unmanaged energy :/ ….. friends wise, i’ve been blessed too ….. but as piper mentioned … there have been many nights when i’ve felt so alone … you could be in a crowd of people where everyone seems to love and adore you and still be alone …. such is life …. the conclusion of my ramble is: more important than the score on the popularity index or the number of friends you earn is how true you are to yourself. if your personality is the type that cannot hold a good friend, don’t pretend … be who u are. if you can be a good friend, be true to who u are. just as long as you are true to yourself and don’t fake anything, life should be all swell for u and those around ye. sorry for hoggin space. was thinking for myself … as you always make me. 🙂

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