“Mumma you don’t know how it feels!” sobbed my girl. The bus ride back home from school had been the ‘worstest’ ever in her 6 years of travelling to and fro from her school. She had had a tiff with her two best friends. In her own words, “We always talk after a fight. But this time they did not even wave bye to me when I got down. What if they never talk to me ever again!?”
How do I tell her that I know how it feels? How do I tell her that this is one feeling that all of us know. Every single one of us. Chances are her two best friends – very sweet girls by the way – have also felt this way at one time or the other and they will all most probably feel like this in the future too. The feeling of being left out, being alone.
Is this the worst feeling on Earth? I guess not. But when one is experiencing a situation like this everything else pales in comparison. The cause of the tiff itself was silly, as it almost always is – it involved some silly dance moves, secrets and the deadly cold shoulder. Cliques I guess are not unique to girls, but young girls sure indulge more in this kind of relationship games than boys. Most young boys I know don’t care if the other boy fits in as long as he is willing to join in their fun and games and doesn’t sneak. They are also quick to forgive and forget. However girls are a different ball game altogether. They may forgive but they never really forget and they will let you know that they have not forgotten.
I shouldn’t be surprised. I still remember the way Jessi and Bindu made me feel left out. No seriously! I do! I was around 10 or 11 myself and it had a huge impact on me and coloured the way I approached friendships for the next 20 odd years. Maybe I took it too much to heart… strike that… looking back, I did take it too much to heart. However it did strengthen me in a different way. I learned to be everybody’s friend and I made a deep, abiding friendship with books and my journal. A relationship that is still going strong. So no complaints. And in my late 20s and 30s I learnt to believe in the concept of best friends again. I have the wonderful blessing and opportunity to be really good friends (best friends, if you will) with not one or two but nearly 4 women. How cool is that? I have also learnt to be a good friend to them. But most importantly, I have learnt to be my own best friend.
The sense of being left out and being alone, when suffered on a continuous basis can cause a lot of damage. It affects one emotionally and physically and affects our professional lives too. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, reasons for people committing suicide. Psychologists and psychiatrists have written tomes on this topic. Luckily for us it does not make its presence felt with such intense force in all our lives. In fact for most of us feeling alone and left out of the group is a feeling that will slip in to our life in the most mundane of situations, and manner. Much as we hate it and never want to experience it, it also provides us with the opportunity to grow, evolve and become stronger than before.
However, none of this would or could have made sense to my daughter today. She wanted me to speak to their mothers to sort it out but I suggested that it would be even better if she tried to sort it out herself. Maybe she could call them and speak to them? She mulled over it and then decided to sort it out in person… in the bus.
I am glad. I have faith in her strength and heart. She will sort it out and soon, as a young woman, she will learn to have deep abiding friendships, not just with other women, but also with her own self.
P.S: I wrote the above piece yesterday. As the saying goes, time is a great healer… in my daughter’s case the whole issue was sorted out the next day with embarrassed ‘sorrys’ and chicken nuggets!
As I write about these small incidents and read the response from you, I have realised that these uniquely personal experiences are extremely universal, so please do share your thoughts and experiences too.