Tag Archives: friends

“Friends”

Here are some stats for you:

In the last 2 years, I’ve visited 7 friends in different places, traveling over 4000 miles altogether. None of them have come to visit me.

I’ve invited a dozen people to hang out at my place. 4 have showed up.

I’ve made plans with at least 6 people who have then bailed on those plans at the last minute.

 

I’ve been a damn good friend in my lifetime. Friend has surgery? I’ll make a surprise house visit (with a 6 hour round trip drive) to cheer her up. Graduation party on the same day that I get back from a semester in Europe? I’ll put off sleep and being home for the first time in 5 months to make that pit stop. No, I’m not a perfect person. But I am very forgiving, perhaps to a fault, and therein lies my downfall.

See, I have horrible anxiety when it comes to making everyone happy. That combined with a great love for my friends meant that I was a fantastic friend. I would be there nearly every time at the drop of a hat. I don’t always give expensive gifts, but a heartfelt one you can expect, even if it’s just the homemade dessert that you love best. And if bad things happened, I was sympathetic. And silly me, I didn’t realize that people were starting to take advantage of that. I’m the one who travels everywhere, so surely it’s no big deal for me to travel to see people where they live instead of them coming to see me. Works great for both of us! You have to work or spend time with your girlfriend or go to a party while I’m there? That’s cool. I get it. You’re busy. I’m only a grad student who works multiple jobs and gave up a weekend of getting shit done to spend time with you.

The worst part is that I keep hoping and expecting. Next time, I tell myself. They’ll pull through. They’ll make plans. They’ll text first. Because they’re my friends. And that’s what friends do.

No. That’s what I do.

Okay maybe I’ll clarify. That’s what I do for people I consider my friends, people I care about. So maybe that’s where the snag is. Maybe it’s that these people don’t feel the same way about me. Because they would do more if they cared about me. Right?

I was afraid before to lose my friends. I was so caught up in trying to keep them that I didn’t even notice that they were already gone. See, they’ll still come to me when they need something. They’ll still want to be a part of all the good times in my life, especially if they get to make an appearance as ~good friend~. Yeah, I’m looking at you, wedding. But the days when I need them most, they’ll be a void. Hell, most of the times I need someone to talk to these days are because I’ve been let down by a “friend” yet again.

But they know that the next time they need advice or someone to laugh with or are just lonely, I’ll come through for them. Because I’m such a good friend to them.

Now, I’m afraid to make friends, to be a friend. I’m afraid of the disappointment I’ll face. I put on my armor and I brace for impact. But they keep hitting me in the exact same spots and now my shield is weak. I didn’t come here for a battle.

To my friends, those people that I have loved and treasured, and still do:

My heart is battered and broken. You once lifted it so high, but that only made the fall worse. I try so hard to hide it, but you already know that I will keep offering it to you, over and over. So I ask one last favor from you. Surely you can give me that.

Leave me be.

Don’t keep taking what you can’t give back. You’re not worthy of my friendship anymore. And unless you intend to change, don’t accept the heart from my outstretched hands any more. It can’t take this anymore. You’re a better friend to me by admitting that you’re not one than pretending.

I’m not afraid of not having friends anymore. I’m afraid of the black hole of self-loathing and doubt that my friends will send me into.

 

 

 

 

Double standard: friends and boyfriends

I recently had a conversation with a friend about a mutual friend of ours. I told her that I was feeling a little shafted in the relationship, that I didn’t think she was making as much effort to stay in touch and maintain our friendship. Her response was that I shouldn’t worry because she knew for a fact that this friend loved me and valued me. And so I was placated.

But only for a moment. Because when I thought about it deeper, I wondered what that really meant. Did she know this just because this friend had said so? Because my recent experiences have been that the friend is willing to say she misses me and wants to hang out more, etc. But when it comes down to it, there’s no follow through. And words just seem like words when there are no actions to add meaning to them. What kind of a friendship is that really?

And then I thought back to times when friends had questioned someone I was dating, or vice versa. “Why are you with him.” Because he loves me. “But is that enough?”

Is it?

I know very few women who would accept a man for themselves or their friends who said that he loved her, but never showed it or followed through. We don’t stand for boys who cancel plans last minute, or don’t make them at all. We rage at text messages that go unanswered for more than a few hours. So why should we accept these behaviors in our friendships? Surely they carry as much weight, if not more, than a romantic relationship.

“Bros before hoes” and “chicks before dicks”. We’re told to value friends over partners. So I’m going to expect just as much from a friend as I would from a partner.

Books and covers: Being judgemental

Judgemental. It’s a word I’ve heard thrown around a lot among friends and acquaintances. But what does it mean? I once told a friend that everyone judges other people. That it’s a natural thing that we do automatically all the time. She laughed at me. I’m the worst when it comes to expressing my thoughts as speech, so it certainly didn’t come across right. But I think lost in there was a good point. Here’s a hopefully more coherent explanation of what I meant to say then.
We’re always told not to judge a book by it’s cover. Yet everyone does it. I mean, what else are we supposed to go by? There are so many books out there for us to choose from. The only way to really know what a book is like is to read it. But we can’t possibly read each one. We have to narrow the field first. So we choose books that look like they fit our interests. But can we really call that judging?
It’s similar with people. When we see people for the first time, we automatically form an opinion. Yes, this opinion is based on surface characteristics, like a book cover. The cover may not necessarily reflect what is inside the book, but unfortunately in life, we can’t read every book in depth. So we pick and choose the people we want to get to know. I don’t think this is a problem. I don’t think it’s wrong to look at someone and think ‘he looks tired’ or even ‘I don’t like her haircut’. We’re entitled to our own opinions. The problem is when we start to make assumptions about the plot just from the picture on the front of the novel. It’s not okay to say ‘he’s probably tired because he partied all night. He’s going nowhere in life’ or ‘that’s a haircut only a lesbian would wear’. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you never know what someone is dealing with. I’ve had a few people confide in me the struggles that they have experienced and continue to experience everyday. These experiences shape their life decisions. I’ve heard people say this about a guy who doesn’t drink. They say he’s a party pooper, that he is ‘judgemental’ (there’s that word again)towards those who do drink, even though he’s never said a bad word about them. I found out after years of knowing him that he chooses not to drink because both of his parents are recovering alcoholics. His decision to not drink is an amazing act of courage. But people who haven’t read the whole book are writing bad reviews based on the cover. That, I believe, is being judgemental.
And it goes both ways. I’ve heard people being called judgemental because they’re goody two shoes or because they’re rule breakers. I’m not saying I’m innocent. I know that far too often, I’ve made assumptions and formed opinions based on false assumptions. But to be an expert, you have to read the whole book. It’s not always easy. People will hand you copies of their story with entire chapters. So don’t speak badly until you’ve got the full story. And never judge a book by it’s cover.

Fake it til you make it

I just really don’t understand people. So last night, my roommate and I go out with a bunch of friends. She starts bugging me pretty early on about leaving. I’m having a good time. She agrees to stay out a little later, not because she wants to or doesn’t want to leave without me, but because she wants our host mom to think we were out as late as possible. Because our host mom thinks we don’t go out that often. Probably because we don’t. Mostly because my roommate makes decisions about whether or not she wants to go out based on what her one friend, who hates to go out, wants to do. So it ends up being a pretty late night for us. She wakes up this morning tired and with a cold. Tomorrow night, we are traveling, and it’s a long journey. So sleep beforehand is necessary. Especially if you’re sick. All day she talks about how she wants to do nothing, she doesn’t want to go out, she just wants to sleep. But suddenly, when our host mom ask if we’re going out, she starts talking about the plans she has to pregame and then go to a club. So much for not going out. And the thing is, she’ll go. But just like last night, she’ll have fun for half an hour and then stand there looking miserable the rest of the time, looking at her watch until she deems the hour late enough to go home. Not me. I said I would rather sleep and I stand by that. Yeah, I don’t go out a lot. You know why? I don’t really love clubbing. Last time I checked, that’s not a crime. Occasionally a night on the town is great. But generally, I prefer a casual drink. If you don’t like that about me, then fine. But I am certainly not going to make myself miserable trying to convince people that I fit their definition of “fun” or “cool”. Because, honey, you’re fooling no one. And in the end, no one actually cares. Stop being so damn fake, and then maybe people will like you for who you are instead of judging you for what you’re not. My roommate feels “obligated” to go out. By who? And why? By your friends? Because if they’re really your friends, they shouldn’t make you do anything you want to do. By society? Don’t even get me started on that one. There is absolutely no obligation here, except for what exists in her mind. You do you. And that’s all there is to it.