Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Talk to the hand

In the last few months a few close friendships have... well, shifted. As in, imploded with lots of pain, angst and drama, or dwindled. I've tried, God knows, I've tried, to make things good again, but I just don't have that kind of power. I think I've always put such stock in my friendships because my own family is such a gong show... and I need that closeness from somewhere. But then my pleaser-nature has played a role as well, and I give and give and give and all of a sudden, it's too much. And I see that I have needs that aren't being met by a particular friendship, and I try to get that person to step up for me as I have countless times for them. But they seem shocked that I would expect that. Although it's not always a strict quid-pro-quo I have on my mind, sometimes it is just that I am a certain kind of person and like to talk about certain kinds things... and they seem surprised to find that I still enjoy talking about the same things that they used to enjoy talking with me about. Well, sorry, I didn't get the memo that things had changed.

And so today, I did something different. I got one of those emails, the ones where someone says something, and you know there is something behind it but they seem to be pretending there isn't... And I really thought about how to respond. Obviously there is something going on - duh. And if they are alluding to it, they want to talk about it. But if they are alluding to it and then being dismissive, they don't want to talk about it, they just want me to know that they know and don't care. I'm confused now.

Anyway, I replied saying that I didn't know how to reply, that I had tried to talk about it and that had just ended in frustration, but I would be willing to try again. And I got a response back. Guess what the response was? I was given instructions on how I should have replied. Specific instructions. Including quotation marks and other necessary punctuation.

What the hell??

My doing something different was to not reply. I am not going to try to fix this, I am not going to try to get this person to see me differently, I am not going to try to be understood or heard or whatever. I give up!! Once someone actually gave me a script to follow, I finally realized how ridiculous things had become.

My life, and the things I care about, matter to me. I like to talk about them, because I like to talk and because they matter to me. If someone is unwilling or unable to have a conversation with me, that's ok. But I am not going to be pretending that the things that matter to me don't in order to make someone else more comfortable. And I am not going to be pretending that I want to be around others when I know that they want me to be... different than I am.

It is tough indeed to feel that I am losing friends left right and centre, but also a relief that I will free up a lot of time spent trying to figure out what the heck others wanted in the first place, and then bending myself into a pretzel to try to give it to them in the second.

Life is good, even if it seems lonely right now.

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