PEE-OPLE, as my first-grade self used to phonetically think.
Sometimes I just can't help but wonder,, what the heck? We are people. I, you, we. It's weird. We're all just these animals doing all this stuff...making computer chips, having arguments over dirty dishes, blowing up busses, lying, flying, begging, giving, ending, starting commercial real estate development companies and making coo-coo clocks and then setting up coo-coo clock repair shops in the Schwarzwald. We made up words and then used them to describe other words and things, 'words' and 'things' being the very same oh my god those are words too. I mean, I know. Blah blah blah, in a sense...but which sense?
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all. It's a mood thing, perhaps related to my period. That would be weird if it was, though, and I don't think it is. Sorry for talking about my period.
But when I start feeling overwhelmed I try to channel the overwhelmingness into a singular idea which mayhaps can represent the flurry of thoughtful dicta hurricaning around in my brainsies.
So thank god for Molly Schmelzle's recent post on friendship.
In life we (most of us) have parents/family, our significant other, and friend(s). One is tied to us in a way we didn't choose (family), another is sexual, but the third--friends--well...
How does it happen?
in the beginning there was...stuff.
"Even though friendship may seemingly be composed of universal principles, behaviors, and actions," writes Schmelzle, "in actuality it is a personal or relational conceptualization."
She further goes on to say that "creating a meaningful friendship is a long imperative process."
Essentially, friendships are these amazing relationships we form that, on one end, are really connected to our center beings--who we are, what we need, who we want to be, etc--and on the other end, touch someone else. It's like this ray we're shooting out of ourselves and everyone is shooting out these rays and when the rays cross, a friendship happens.
It could be ephemeral or eternal, but the lines have been crossed and it's taken a whole lifetime, whether you know it or not in "real time," just for that one instant connection. And, according to the Socratic idea of the dialectic, A + B must equal C. Thus the two people who crossed will necessarily be different after the crossing than before.
And what of a "meaningful" friendship? I would first say that every friendship is necessarily meaningful. But to avoid being nit-picky, which is not the point of this post or something I particularly like to pick, a meaningful friendship is obviously one that has impacted your life more than the Socratic synthesis of A + B = C. Rather, it's more like C + C Music Factory.
It makes you think
last but not least
a friend is someone who...well, just fill in the blank here with whatevs. it's all relative anyway
I don't feel qualified nor wanting to get into what happens once a friendship is est'd. The friendship is what it is to you and me and, really, who the hell cares to hear about it all?
so no one told you it was gonna be this way (clapclapclapclap)
Happy. Umbrellas. Fountains. Smiling.
"Over the last couple of years I have slowly watched the links of a once cherished friendship break one by one. It is a painful and almost irrevocable process."
[sic. I know that "once cherished" should really be "once-cherished," since it's a compound adjective. But, again, I'm not here to nitpick my dear friends' blogs. Or am I??].
She finishes up: "What hurts the most is the one-sided realization of this occurrence. But we are both victims of each other’s new lives and seeming indifference."
There are two thoughts here: one is the pain involved with a friendship ending and the other is the idea that it's seemingly one-sided, but realistically two-sided. Both of these are interesting ideas to me.
I moved around alot. Like, a lot-lot. Like, every two years up until high school and then, after college (which involves a lot of moving as well), I moved a lot again. In 2003-2004 I lived in 4 different states and one district. However I rarely "lost" friends. There were some peeps who I grew out of touch with, but there was never a real ending to the relationship. Well, my best friend from 8th grade recently died in a car crash, but that's a totally different kind of ending. Indeed, if I were to randomly see most of my growing-up friends, I think we would just naturally pick up where we left off. Sans the sleepovers and whole light-as-a-feather-stiff-as-a-board thing.
So I don't feel, personally, what Molly writes about the ending of friendships.
Well, I take that back. I might be experiencing my first one of these endings as we speak, but even in the face of obvious signs as such, I am in a sort of emotional denial that it might be happening. Either way, that is something for another time, another place, or in the least, it's not pertinent to this particular post. Or maybe I don't feel like talking about it because it will make me cry.
Anywho, I am more interested in the idea that she is talking about the "one-sided realization of this occurance" as well as the simultaneous idea that the two are "both victims of each other's new lives and seeming indifference."
In a way, she is right. One person might be the only one who senses the friendship slipping even though circumstances mean that it's a team effort. But is this an acceptable occurance in the first place?
I don't really accept a friendship ending because of "new lives" and "seeming indifference."
To me, friends are the number one most important thing in life (because, also to me, "friends" include family members and partners) and being too lazy to check up on the friendship just 'cause you know the other person has had life changes and you think they don't care about you/the friendship anymore is a bunch of crap.
I'm not saying what Molly says is crap...I think what she is saying actually does happen, and that is what I think is crap. I should also add here that I'm not trying to be a 'hard ass' or something like that. This isn't about blame. In fact, it's the exact opposite of blame.
Of course there are times when once-friends just end up having nothing in common. [Kind of. I'm still if-fy on that one because if you had so much in common in the first place, how does that ever disappear? And that is also kinda my point] So I'm not talking about forcing a friendship to exist in the rare, RARE case that you actually have nilch in common anymore.
But except for that truly rare instance, I think most friendships can, and should, survive blase life-shifts, distance, and infrequent communication.
How? It's simply a matter of swallowing your pride.
Don't pretend like you've never felt that way--the seeming indifference stuff--before. How many times have you looked through your cell's phonebook, seen an old friend's number, but decided against hitting 'send' just because you figure that person is too busy or probably will think you're weird for calling out of the blue or just looking plain desperate?
Since when did calling a friend, even if you haven't spoken in forever, mean you were desperate? Sometimes I even feel that way for a split second. Even though I get the spontaneous urge to call someone I haven't talked to in a while, I get this weird hesitancy about it. But I realize that's just me and I hit 'send' and in the end I could care less what the person thinks. I'm not a hero or anything, but I do realize if I gave in to my fleeting moment about it all, I wouldn't have the strong friendships I have today. Sometimes it's just the way ya gotta do things even if you feel a little vulnerable for a sec. Because vulnerability inevitably makes you stronger and more compassionate--two of the most important personal assets involved in friendship.
On a similar note, I also think this is a bunch of crap:
"I'm just really bad at staying in touch."
[By the way, in all honestly, I am not thinking of anyone in particular here. So please don't get all worried or feel offended. I'm just sayin' how I feel about friendships and what they are and what they mean to me, which is a lot]
Because that's all we are, are people. We're silly people who have touched one another's lives in a significant way through caring, wondering, hurting, forgiving, sharing and knowing. And everyday I feel so lucky that I've engaged in this process with other people, with my friends.
For those to end so easily, well, I just can't accept it.