I just came back from an overnight stay with my husband's cousin. He is a terrific guy that I just instantly connected with when we met, and feel lucky that visiting him is like going on a vacation! He lives in a small village in northern Holland, which has a more pastoral feel than in the Randstad where I live. He understands my nuttiness right away, and I understand his. We talk about all of this stuff just right - interesting psychological/intellectual challenges with emotional consequences. I wish I knew of more people who are so curious and interested in the experience of life!!! I will make an effort to uncover more of these kinds of people and add them more often to my social calendar.
Visiting him really reminded me of what's been going wrong with my other friendships lately. I realize that one woman, S. (the names have been changed to protect the innocent!), behaved the same as always. She has always been someone who will take and take and take. And why not? If I offer to help her out, why wouldn't she take it? And in the course of the many years we were friends, I helped her a lot. I think the problem between us occurred when one day I asked her for help, and she just isn't the kind of person who can give. She tried, I'm sure she tried her best, but she very quickly resented that I asked her to make an effort when usually I have been the one to make her life easier. Although it's too bad that our friendship was so one-sided, and had been all along, what's really interesting is that I almost made it that way myself!
I could have seen that S. was not giving to me, but I chose to look the other way. And in a way, the only reason our friendship existed - and certainly the only reason it continued as long as it did - was because I was giving to her, and she was taking. If either one of us had changed our tunes a moment sooner, the friendship would have ended. So the end was predictable. The only one surprised was me, because I had chosen not to see her clearly, I had insisted on looking through my rose-tinted glasses. And as nice as that world is, there's nothing wrong with looking at reality.