Thursday, August 31, 2006

...and sometimes things don't go so well.

I think I am losing a friend. This started on Monday on the way to work and hasn't cleared up yet. All Monday we weren't speaking to each other. On Tuesday we only said, "Hi." Yesterday we were formal with one another. It may get better but, right now I don't know. The reason for the disagreement was rather idiotic. He was giving me a hard time which was probably meant to be teasing. I didn't catch that it was funny and responded seriously. He got offended and put a limit on our friendship, "I won't be asking for any more rides. I don't need this." It hurt and I apologized but he didn't accept it. It really put a damper on the whole day.

I put a limit on this friendship myself a few weeks ago. When we had gone out to dinner one evening I found my faith being dissed. It was so offensive that I told him we would no longer be discussing faith of any sort. A while back that would have been a hard thing for me to do. Having always been the unacceptable one in my family, I work extra hard at accepting others. Maybe it is time to stop that. There are things that aren't or shouldn't be acceptable. Somehow that makes this whole situation even more frustrating because this is the one friend who said I should toughen up and be more daring, stronger, more impulsive. His philosophy, given to support that initiative, was that once you realize that you are NEVER safe you then realize the futility of all planning for the future and are strong in the present. I probably missed his point in all of that. Even if I did, I don't know that it really fits in with my life. Yes I need to be stronger. There are a lot of ways I can love me better. But what is this about always being unsafe? If I believed there was no God then I might actually believe that nothing could keep me safe. But I do believe in God. I also know that, even though I believe and hope that God will keep me safe, I am still supposed to do the things necessary to be prepared for what ever comes along. Or as much as I can.

It really stinks that this is happening between me and this person. He has been a good friend up until this point. He encouraged me. He was honest in his opinion when I needed to hear the truth. That takes guts...or maybe callousness, I'm not sure. I do know that I have given him too much credit. He doesn't have any better social skills than I have nor is his insight into people any better. So maybe this is going to be a parting of the ways. It isn't something that I want. I would prefer to keep him as a friend because I have enjoyed his company and don't have that many friends I can just do stuff with. But, if living a life where I am respected among my friends is important to me (It is!) then, I guess it is time to stop putting up with others being disrespectful or cruel simply because I prefer not to fight. So, since we spoke nothing to one another again today, I am going to figure that the friendship is over. And let me be clear...this has only been a friendship, nothing more. It still hurts.

The thing that gives me hope in this, instead of despair, is that I see it as a part of recovery. When I lost my marriage, friends, job and family support all at once I was really devastated. It has taken me 7 years to recover from that. Now, post Cursillo, I am being shown a view of me that is strong and beautiful. I love that view. I really want to preserve it. And I know I can't if I tolerate or listen to others telling me I am awful or worthless. Part of the strength of this new view is that it is a me that I don't want to give up. Like so many women of my generation I gave up way too much of myself trying to be a "good" wife. It was really stupid since it was my strengths that attracted my ex to me in the first place. So now that I am deciding to not give way and am standing strong among friends who value me and tell me that, it speaks of a different view of myself as a person. That gives me hope for a better future. I would love to find someone who values me as much as I am coming to value myself. Maybe, if it happens, I will be able to hold onto that love and watch it grow into a really strong bond that will last the rest of my life. Even if it doesn't I know that by holding onto me I am holding onto my future instead of giving it away. If I should find love again and lose it I won't be as devastated as I was the last time. And I thank God for that.

Peace, Hope, and Joy guys!


Susan Palwick said...

I'm sorry you're going through this, Lee. As you know, I lost a valued friend a few months ago -- also under painful conditions of learning how that person really felt about me -- and I know how much it hurts.

But I'm also really glad that you're advocating for yourself. You go, girl!

Anonymous said...

Friendship is a funny and fickle thing. And I try to always be mindful of where a friendship is heading because not everyone is meant to be that "close friend/best friend" and not everyone is meant to be delegated to varying levels of "acquintanceshipness". But, if I find that a friendship is becoming a deep friendship then I have to also acknowledge that this will require me to give more of my energy out and away from myself. Deep friendships require nearly as much love and care as a marriage, it's a commitment. Hence, I find that I am careful about who I allow into that sacred space.

The point of all this is that knowing what you're intentions are with/towards/from someone helps you figure out what it is you need from that person and what they may be needing from you.

A friendship should feel and be safe, you should be able to be yourself around someone you consider a friend, and if you can’t then walking away and/or re-evaluating the friendship is the right choice especially if the other person won't discuss the problem/issue.

And lastly, I think friends would, should and can respectfully disagree that’s one of the many ways we learn from our friends.

Lee said...

Thanks, Susan! I do remember and really appreciate your support in this.

Thank you also, Anonymous. Your comment on devotion is right on. My strong friendships are indeed ones I commit to.

Not being the clearest sighted of people I wonder about what is happening here. My (ex)friend recently had his marriage break up. Seven years ago a past friend's marriage broke up. It was the start of the troubles with mine. Because we sheltered her from her angry ex, the stress of what was happening to her actually caused the troubles in mine to come to a head. I wonder if this is similar to what is happening here. I don't really understand how the breakup of his marriage could cause the breakup of our friendship but maybe he is in so much stress from that situation that it caused him to cut ties with me too. I'm not sure if that thought will do me any good either. It didn't help my marriage. But it is something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Lee, I feel your suffering for the distance created with your friend. I would be upset if I had lost a long term friendship. Perhaps it was not really a true friendship. I have a girlfriend of 23 years. I value our friendship, but I also have to do a lot of tolerating. She has always been there for me and sometime I do not agree with her comments. I am glad in the long run after all these years she will be there for me. I think your friendship was too fragile for either of you if it was caused by this miscommunication.