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Culling

It has really been quite a year for losing friends. First we had the blowout over "you don't hang out enough with us" (with the subtext of "but note how I never ask you to hang out with me, so that's really a one way street then"); another "we chose Jason over you" moment (friends taking sides is exactly the kind of support a couple that's falling apart needs); the disastrous Christmas trip ("I will now abuse you in the kind of way you've spent years of your life trying to escape, while you're trapped in my car"); and now the guy who showed up at my party drunk giving me the big ice out. I'll miss his raucous good temper but there's a little event coming up we had planned - a pre-paid dinner for four - that it looks like he won't want me to be at.

I feel sorry about a lot of these things - I'd looked forward to enjoying many of these people's friendships into my old age, and watching their kids grow up - but I guess the stars will turn and friends will change and, as they say, blood is thicker than water. And this year, when I've been so vulnerable and easy to damage with even soft pointy sticks, has been one where I haven't had the least bit of ability to say, "Oh, this person was just a little crazy due to money problems/stress/always being crazy just below the surface/drinking" and be able to go back later and say, "Oh, hey, how are you?" and just not mention it and move on and accept that a certain amount of abuse is the price you pay for friendship.

Or is it? My take on it is pretty much that I expect my friends never, never to yell at me. I want them to be better than my abusive relatives were. In exchange, I never yell at them. I tell them tearfully when they've hurt me because I assume they didn't mean to - but when I find out they didn't even so much as care, the way I see them changes and I think they're toxic and need to be avoided.

Do you expect that your friends will occasionally be abusive? It would be interesting to hear other people's takes on this.

This is part of the reason I've tried hard to keep building friendships constantly (Always Be Making Friends). And I've had good luck with this, adding Sophie and Naheed into the mix. I expect to be seeing more of them in this coming year - they're both busy but they make time for me and they radiate that good vibe thing that draws me like a fly to honey.

I wish I'd known who to value more before I left Seattle: I would have made more of an effort to spend time with the people I miss now. But then I hear Celine's voice speaking: "Just wait until they get tired of your shit." Who would think, in a world in which so many things can go wrong, that those words would speak so tellingly to my innermost fears: that in a world in which my family had so little interest in me, each and every one of my friends would eventually disappear "as they got tired of my shit" and I would be spending my life by myself.

(I'm generally feeling cheerful, by the way, despite this. But I'm aggravated to have lost another friend. Maybe the "pick friends who aren't prone to drama" mantra will start bearing fruit this year as I make better choices of who to be friends with. God knows I want zero drama in my life: it's bad enough that we all have to deal with our loved ones dying. That's more than enough drama for each of us once high school is over.)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
mr_sadhead
Apr. 24th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
Abusive friends? Sounds like an oxymoron to me.
thewronghands
Apr. 24th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
I don't expect to be yelled at, other than in the "look out for that truck!" way. But I've also lost several friendships in the last two years (what is it with these last couple years?), and two out of six or seven yelled at me. In both those cases, yes, actually yelling terrible things let me know that I did not want that person in my life. When I have upsetting things to say to someone else, that's not how I say them. But I have also lost several friends to not-yelling; their opinion of me sank to the point that neither of us wished to be friends with the other under those conditions.

I do not expect anyone to be abusive to me. It's a dealbreaker if I think they're trying.
eglantinedreams
Apr. 25th, 2012 12:23 pm (UTC)
I've had shouting arguments with folk, and I DO expect it every so often, because I know that I'm hard work and pick friends who are also hard work.

I find shouting terrifying and would rather be punched (due to flashbacks to childhood), however most folk don't. So it depends what they're shouting, why, and how long it takes to calm down and rationalise after a proper time out to tell if it was actually "abusive".

Hmm, that was rambly.

Lots of people aren't worth it. Boring people are less of a drama issue, but then they get freaked out by me!
wight1984
Apr. 26th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
Someone yelling at me will pretty much instantly reduce my opinion of them and how closely I want to associate with them. It won't necessarily put them on some kind of 'black list' where I'll delete them from my life, and I'll likely be civil in future if they are too, but it will hurt the friendship.

I don't yell at people even when I'm angry so I'm only expecting the same standards as I hold myself (successfully) to.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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