Saturday, April 17, 2010

Defining Moments in Friendships, Day 107

A culmination of separate events relating to friendship has forced me to evaluate and reflect some of the relationships and the relationship dynamic I have with the people in my life. I came across a facebook page "As we grow up we don't lose friends. We just learn who our real ones are." When I first came across that statement, I was conflicted in my opinion about it because although I can relate to it, I didn't believe in the statement in its entirety. There are people who I believed were my friends only to discover that they weren't. That means I lose friendships, right? Not necessarily.

As I get older I discover that friendship is a complexity. Through this process, I filter out those who I thought were my friends. But those of you who choose to stay in my life in spite of the debris are the ones I consider family. Thank you guys! Even if we aren't very close, if I can look into your heart, then you matter because I can only look into those who are open and love me for who I am. As it gets more complicated, I find myself less frustrated and more appreciative of the dynamics I uncover because it reveals the depths of a person's soul and the friendship I have with you.

No matter how generic our encounter may seem, if you touched my life, you touched my life. My life is better for it. No one can replace you, replace that experience, or take it away from us. No one person is exactly the same and can touch my life the way you can.

If even the simplest of encounters can change me, imagine those who have left an imprint on my heart. I may not be the most confident in myself or feel that I don't deserve a lot, but it's my friends who remind me of my worth because no matter how low I feel, I never forget that our friends are a reflection of who we are. And I have the most amazing friends. You guys do so much for me and are always there for me. How you treat me and the consideration and thoughtfulness you offer me isn't just for me but is a reflection of the kind of people you are.

When I was afraid of staying in my own apartment because of a guy who threatened me was a defining moment for a friendship I had with someone for quite some time now. I started feeling like she wasn't interested in being my friend for a while, but I had no proof. She and her friends (mostly her friends) would invite me to places, so I tried brushing these unsupportable doubts to the back of my mind. After all I came to this conclusion because she wasn't as social and outgoing with me as she used to be, but we also haven't been as close lately. She has a new life now and if I was open, she would be, too. However with time (and this was an observation I was slow to pick up on because we don't hang out very often anymore, so I didn't notice the pattern), but I've found her behavior to be progressively distanced and, at times, outwardly rude with a hidden layer of hostility that she conceals poorly.

However, moodiness isn't enough for me to end a friendship. It was undoubtedly a deterrent, but I find that when you're friends with someone for a long time, you'll inevitably see an unpleasant side. That isn't enough for me to walk away from a friendship but re-examine it. I've noticed my own flawed pattern. If I don't see a strong enough of evidence that indicates a failed friendship, I maintain it until it completely dismantles.

The unfair reality is that my choices in all this suck. It's the burden that comes with the paradox of choice. But the truth is that I prefer to see things through because that way I know for sure. I'd rather be the idiot who walks into it than the safe, intelligent but cowardly one who never entered the door, left with this feeling of unknowing. I don't enjoy dangling friendships, and in my experience, danging friendships is the first clue to its demise. But at the end of the day, I prefer to see where the dangling friendship lands before I turn away from it.

I'm glad I did because now I feel certain, confident, and secure in my decision to eliminate her from my life permanently. When I was scared for my safety and left a detailed message about it, so it was clear how a guy who lives in my apartment complex threatened me and how none of the girls feel that it's safe for me to sleep here, so much so that they decided to lock their doors at night when they go to sleep, and I'm afraid to sleep in my own home, I didn't even get as much as a phone call to see if I was okay. I know asking to spend the night can be an inconvenience, but I honestly felt like I was in danger. So did everyone else who practically met him. It was clear that I wasn't exaggerating.

Would I have been glad if she said I couldn't spend the night? Of course not! But it's not her responsibility to house me. It's also not her responsibility to make sure her friend is okay, but it would've been nice. I've known her for years. She's not so absent-minded that she forgot. I believe she just doesn't care enough for me to show any concern for my safety, but that reveals more about her own character than mine. If it was another friend or it was in the past, I honestly believe that she would've been more caring and concerned. Since she's friends with someone I've grown to care about, I hope I'm not wrong. Combine that with how she's been treating me, and I could comfortably say that she's become the shady bitch some people have warned me about.


This would lead to a tangent that focuses away from the big picture I want this blog to centered around. So I'm going to copy and paste the rest of this story and create a new entry called, "The Friendship I Can Finally Walk Away From".

---And I'm re-focused!---

As I began delving into that friendship, mentioned above, I felt this undeniable compulsion to explain in elaborate details as an attempt to defend myself as the bad friend because I don't have the best traits a person looks for in a friend or so I believe. I talk until the end of time, which I'm sure is annoying. It requires highly refined auditory skills and I do test because as much as I blab on and on, I seek an interactive conversation at a deeply complex level. I over analyze everything. It must become overbearing at times. I over explain and use more words than I need to, so I'm also time-consuming. I'm opinionated, insightful, and very vocal, at times an inconvenient trait. I have terrible timing. Although I've gotten better, I'm not very emotionally-receptive.

Interacting with me can be a high-functioning, alert task to some extent. I'm a high-functioning intelligent in a lazy sort of way. I'm an intangible paradox, so there's really no easy way with me. As fast-paced as I am, I'm a slow learner. So everyone has to slow down for me especially since I seek insight and knowledge. I'm unable to move forward without it. And yet I speed through time when I talk (for an eternity, warping a person's sense of time) and expect everyone to follow, which has become a realistic expectation because either my friends have become trained or are naturally gifted.

It requires effort, knowledge, intelligence, depth, and insight to be my friend. You have to be emotionally-receptive and intuitive. I can easily be misdiagnosed because of how I present myself. I'm open-minded and want to understand things outside of a one-sided box, but I understand things by grasping at what I already know and my compulsive nature over-focuses on that small element. So when I say I want to understand and really do, I don't look at what I should be understanding because I don't get it. I don't know any better. People have to maneuver me into it. It makes me come off as a one-sided lunatic who wants to earn the title of being open-minded in an unfair, undeserving sort of way. You have to be really bright, observant, and perceptive to realize otherwise.

I'm more familiar with my drawbacks than my positive traits. I am known to exaggerate, but I'm not inaccurate, either. Noticing criticism is a skill of mine, and I use what I know. So my friends feel that blow, too. But I know I'm not all bad.

My friends are a reflection of who I am. The people I surround myself with give insight into the kind of person I am, and bitches like her aren't a part of me. We just go through the motions. Even when she was a part of my life, everyone saw us as separate entities. I need to remember that because as much as I feel that I deserve a better friend, it makes me wonder if that's true or not. After all, she and I were friends for so long. Maybe we were close because we deserved each other. No, we were close because she was a snake in the grass and I was too busy looking somewhere else to notice. Once I realized what she was, I tried to be open about it because I want to accept my friend for who she is. Eventually I couldn't as I saw her true face, but I had to wait for that breaking point to happen.

I go back and forth in dying friendships because I'm not ready to leave it yet. This experience made me realize that as frustrating as it is, I can't leave a friendship prematurely. I take comfort in this because the next time it happens, I'll put a concerted effort in not overindulging in my frustrations and hopefully realize that I'm just going through a necessary process. No matter how livid and ready I am to leave a friendship behind, if I keep looking back, then I must stay until a more defined outcome occurs whether the friendship salvages or meets its death.

That lesson appeared at an excellent time because I have another friend who chose to stop hanging out with me because his girlfriend felt threatened by me. I was really hurt by that because that seems to happen a lot with me. Guys consider me to be one of the guys, so I don't feel very attractive or feminine. When I am noticed as one, it's usually in a negative context that determines the outcome of my friendship with them and defines the kind of man and strength they have. I'm usually the one that gets discarded. I hate that feeling, to feel so disposable.

I used to hang out with this friend a lot. We worked on the same block and would have lunch together once a week. When I got fired from a job, he was ready to go and bitch my former boss out. He kept insisting how he could help me financially if I needed it. And then the second he found a girl he really liked, he decided she was more important than me.

The other friend who decided to not check up on how I was doing, while her friends showed more concern for me even said that this guy isn't a friend to me and that I should leave that friendship behind. It sounded like sage advice and not an unpopular one. Some of the time I wanted nothing more than to oblige to it, but I was unable to and maybe a good year later, I found out why. This friend works at a bank and realized that I have financial troubles. So he got me a care package of groceries! We're talking Ruffles Authentic Barbecue Chips, Sun Chips French Onion, a box of top ramen (quantity of 25), white bread, mini donuts, bag of sunflowers, a box of chocolate cookies, box of crackers, 10 Danish bear claws, and apple juice. Isn't that amazing?

I mean I'd much rather have his friendship and time than his charity, but his intentions are good and a sign that he still cares. This is also a gesture I relate to some of my other really good friends, so I can't end a friendship with him. I realized then that he didn't eliminate me out of his circle of friends; I was just hidden from it. I still feel that I deserve better than that, but it made me realize that I wasn't disposable or forgettable. His choice to stop hanging out with me was more of a demonstration of how weak he is than the kind of friend I am. I know it's cruel to talk crap to a friend who did something amazing for me, but it's true!

There are other friendships that came into my life in a way so delicately timed that I honestly believe it was meant to test me and show me more about the complexities of friendships and people, as a way to help me not necessarily understand fully but learn more about life, myself, and what I can make of it based on my choices and actions. I have the friend that I sensed from the beginning will have a powerful effect and he opens my eyes to the positive qualities in me I want to see. "He captures the beauty within me." I have the friend from high school who's always known me and accepts me for who I am. Even through my selfish tangents that distract me from being more considerate than I should be, he always sees that I'm caring, kind, sweet, thoughtful, and honestly a really good friend. My bluntness doesn't distort into the only side of me that he sees.

I have this one friend, and our friendship is a dangling one at the moment. I'm trying this technique of trusting until I'm given a reason to doubt instead of distrusting until I'm given a reason to trust. With him, he's given me more reasons to distrust him. He hasn't been a very good friend to me. He lies and his kind gestures are more selfishly rooted more than anything. When I don't reciprocate according to his splotchy time line, I'm portrayed as this terrible person.

I hate that because it makes me question the actions of others when they don't deserve it. I want to do nice things for others and I worry that I'd put them in the same uncomfortable situation this guy's put me in. I don't want to make them feel like they owe me something. I want to be surrounded by people who don't make me feel guilty for doing something nice, and I want to be able to accept graciously without wondering if there are strings attached. How he treats me, how he deceives me, and how he makes me feel isn't fair, but I'm not ready to end the friendship just yet. It means that I'll be staying in this lingering state that I hate, but I have to be true to who I am. I'd rather stay instead of walking away from something too obscure to tell at the moment.

It's also important that I don't lose sight of the big picture, too, though. I can't overextend my tolerance, either. After all it's important that I have friends who see me for who I am and not just the side I portray because I can't be all of who I am at the same time. It's like you're seeing me through a magnifying glass, and the glass is only so big. You can only see whatever you're putting up the glass to and its magnified content distorts the image. So it's important that I surround myself with people who are aware of that because it's human nature for people to look at the most exciting of elements, sparks that are firey and watery, intense and bold. It's my subtler qualities that sparkle and truly matter, though. If you don't pay attention, you'll never see me for who I am. You won't find the friend in me that you deserve, and I won't draw out the friend in you that you are.

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