Having American friends is easier than Desi friends. As long as you have similar interests and are willing to make an effort, a friendship with an American is quite possible. Being friends with Desi’s is a lengthier and more demanding process. Not only is there heavy parental involvement, but also the constant worry that secrets will be revealed and reputation ruined.
Having Desi friends can be very formal and restricting. I know an 18-year-old girl, let’s call her Reema, who still only befriends and associates with those her mom approves of. She plans activities and trips for the girls to do together.
Reema’s entire group of friends is Desi. All her friends are Muslim, Pakistan and upper-middle class living within 10 minutes of each other. This is quite convenient, but it is hindering the girl’s tolerance and understanding of others.
When Reema was 12-years-old, she was best friends with Komal. Their mom’s had an argument that got out of hand, ending their friendship. Reema is told that Komal belongs to a corrupted family and she is a bad influence. She is no longer allowed to be friends with Komal.
The moms decide to keep their differences hidden and are not obvious in their circle of friends. Meanwhile, Reema bad mouths and starts rumors about Komal. All the girls take Reema’s side and Komal loses all of her friends. Komal is lonely and confused. She becomes depressed and starts taking interest in other things. To this day, neither girls know the reason why they are no longer friends anymore.
My reasoning behind explaining this story is to show that parents can sometimes be too involved in their children’s friendship. Children lose their identity and cannot base decisions on their own judgement. Reema does not see if her personality clicks with someone else’s. Her mother chooses her friend’s for her.
It is a good idea for parents to know who their children spend their time with, but they should not hover to the extent that they cloud their children’s ability to form opinions of other people and develop friendship based on their own preferences. Sometimes Desi parents can be too overprotective, which can negatively impact the child in the long run.