Can ex’s be friends?

It’s something girls will often discuss. It’s something guys will ponder over. It’s a matter that everyone has an opinion on. Yet it’s a question that has no obvious answer. So I’m putting it out there – can ex’s be friends?

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a romantic at heart. I blame this on the surrealism of Bollywood that I’ve grown up watching! The romantic side of me has always thought that the fundamental basis of any romance is friendship. It’s from friendship that all romantic emotions will blossom…right?

Once you have shared unforgettable memories and amazing experiences with that someone special, you probably can’t even consider what life would be like in their absence. Now the practical me doesn’t get this. You lived before they came along, so it’s only logical you’ll live once they’re gone…

Or is this too simplistic a view? Maybe that someone special leaves such an impact on your life that it no longer remains the same as it was. Maybe that someone touches you spiritually so you no longer feel like the person you were before.

Damn I watch too many Hindi films!!!

But love doesn’t always mean you are meant to be together. If you realise that, you inevitably break up and go your separate ways, or do you? Are you so used to them being in your life that you can’t imagine not knowing them? Or are they such a big aspect of your life – socially and personally – that your group dynamics will alter forever.

So at the unfortunate break-up when there is mutual understanding that it just can’t work, you suggest being friends. But what does that actually mean?

Does it mean that if you pass each other on the street you will approach them rather than dodge them like the plague? Or does it mean you will get in touch randomly just to see how the other is? Or are you still on their birthday guest list?

Friendship is such a broad term. We have friends on Facebook yet we don’t ever meet up with most of them. We have work friends who are our day buddies or maybe company on a work do but your interaction ends when you move on to your next job. Then there’s close friends who you meet regularly or best friends who know you better than yourself.

The list is endless. Yet during a break-up, which kind of friendship are you suggesting to maintain?

I know it seems a little deep but hey, my aim is to provoke you to think! If everything in life was as clear as black and white, it would be such a dull world. We need grey areas to offer us variation of shades and depths.

Maybe some people want to maintain friendship because they genuinely only see the other person as a friend and have no deeper feelings for them. I’m guessing most people say it because it’s probably the nicest way to end a relationship when you both know you’ll never be in touch again.

And if you actually do maintain a friendship then on what grounds? When you start seeing someone else, would you introduce them? If you saw your ex with their new partner, how would you feel? You’re only human so surely a pang of jealousy would be understandable…right?

When life is full of complications and relationships (love, friends, family, and colleagues) are the most complicated aspect of life, do you really need the added stress? I’ve always maintained that ex’s can’t be friends because at least one of you will end up hurt. On the other hand, I’m certain it’s just the most amicable way of ending a relationship, especially when you’re forced to see each other in social or work arenas.

Maybe I’m wrong and it’s down to individual circumstances. Maybe there are loads of you out there who have successfully maintained a friendship with an ex. Maybe there is no certain answer to the question.

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The Hypocrite

Why do some people feel they can talk about others but their life is much more supremely private? They pride themselves as the source of juicy gossip yet if something is said about them, they’re in hysterics. Let me introduce you to the hypocrite.

For some sad folk, gossip is the primary source of entertainment in their life. Not only do they thrive off it, they are under the gross misunderstanding that their own lives are so interesting that others would be intrigued to talk about them.

Paranoia is a fundamental sign of insecurity.

In fact, their lives are so dull that people couldn’t care less, and they too prove this dullness by talking about others! This is usually characterised by a hint of exaggeration stemmed by underlying jealousy over the success of others.

Ironically, if someone speaks of them, even if it’s in pride, there’s uproar. So, the moral thing is to keep quiet – apparently – and let karma do its job.

But what to do when karma slaps the hypocrite in the face but fails to knock them into a reality check?

Rant over!

Embarrassed of being “desi”?

I was in conversation with a friend the other day about how some Asians appear to be afraid of showing up their desi side at work. The more we thought about it, the more apparent it became that many of the British Asians we knew were worlds apart in the office to their real selves.

Wearing traditional clothes to work (in moderation!) such as a salwar suit or sari (without the dazzle and glam of functional clothes) or bringing in last night’s dhal and roti for lunch – is this acceptable? Speaking the odd bit of your mother tongue around work colleagues – is that multiculturalism?

I have worked with Asians of all ages, different walks of life, contrasting upbringings and ideologies. Yet, the majority of them have conformed to a generic person who avoids associating themselves with anything Asian to avoid embarrassment.

I’ve worked with Asian managers whose accents are so pretentious you can’t help but laugh at them. I’ve worked with Asians who feel the need to anglicise their name so others can pronounce it. I’ve worked with Asians who claim never to listen to Bollywood music or watch Hindi films, as if it’s insulting.

In a country that boasts its rich diversity of communities, faiths, languages and ethnicities – have us British Asians chosen to repress the culture from our families to adopt the indigenous norms?

I agree that in certain work situations, wearing a suit would be make you appear more credible or professional than wearing a sari. But what are these perceptions based on? Stereotype? Ignorance? Or is it just not the British way?

Granted; Asians, or just about every minority, has to work even harder to succeed in the workplace. And yes, I will generalise and say that whether it is positive or negative discrimination; prejudice does exist in the workplace. But should we focus on working with it or against it?

A topic that always gets people going is what it means to be British. No one knows and yet everyone considers themselves as British.

Rather than focus on the definition, why not just celebrate our differences? In a nation where curry is the number one take away, yoga is trendy and kaftans/harem pants are fashionable – who cares about perception?

Rather than dwelling on what others think about how you dress, speak or eat, why not flaunt your identity? I consider embarrassment as a reflection of oneself, not a reflection of others’ opinions.

In fact, I quite enjoy embarrassing others who feel they could disparage me for my harmony with Indian and British values, because not only am I confident enough not to feel affected but I boast my rich diversity. Masking your identity is so tiresome and boring. Beat the norm and unleash the real you.

Rant over!