This weekend, I was reminiscing our school days with my childhood friend. And we both jointly disagreed on the age-old adage – “Familiarity breeds contempt”. We have been friends for over the last three decades. We have the boarding schools, international phone booths, digital gadgets and mobile apps to that for that. And yet, after all these years, we still look up to each other with love and respect.
By the time, I grab my morning coffee, she is settling down to sleep. She is a very private person and isn’t into social media, very much unlike me. And I am pretty sure that I am the only friend she has on Snapchat. But in spite of the different time zones and personalities, we have made this relationship work. We found activities we could do together, across the oceans, like the online Bible Study at Arise & Shine Club. And we share intricate details of our boring lives with each other on Snapchat. But all this oversharing hasn’t lead us to feel contempt for each other. Instead, each day, we are finding more ways and reasons to stay in touch.
And this is not just one friend I am talking about here. I have similar relationships with some of my girlfriends whom I speak to almost every day. And all that familiarity isn’t breeding any contempt. In fact, the familiarity is giving us a comfort zone to be ourselves. We share our concerns and find solace and advice in each other. We also share our proud moments and send kudos.
I have been friends with my husband for nearly a decade now. It was the familiarity that evoked love in us. And it is the familiarity that sustains our love. So, I think, familiarity breeds contentment, not contempt. However, mediocrity can lead to contempt. So we throw in a spontaneous road trip once in a while. We go on frequent dinner or movie dates. We don’t take each other for granted because we know we are a gift for each other.
I think familiarity breeds contempt only if there is a lack of appreciation, to begin with. Over the years, we all make a lot of friends through our proximity or closeness in age, location or relation. But only a few of those relationships stand the test of time and space. These are usually the ones that we think are worth putting in the effort for. Not the ones we take for granted, but the ones we know and trust. Familiarity is what builds that trust.
This is true not just for people, but also for food and places. I love my morning cup of cappuccino, although that has been my caffeine of choice for a few years. As much as I love travelling around the world, some places feel like a home away from home.