to a friend I once had


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
go 'hmmm.'

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.
Or not.
"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]

people, again

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.


Anonymous said...

You could just ask her what she meant. That would be easy.

But... you chose to analyze instead. Here is my thought: People change. Not totally, but they do change. The parts that remain the same, that were the basis of the friendship in the first place, are what hold things together. If those things change, the friendship changes/grows/wilts/lives/dies. Pretty simple. It's just hard to grasp, even when it's fully explained and view points are expressed.

It's life.

But I do agree with a lot of your points.

Former friendly acquaintance, now just an interested onlooker who wishes nothing but the best

emilie said...

thanks, anonymous. first for not trying to sell me a pyramid scheme or lifetime supply of cheesecake.
secondly for contributing your $.02 to the idea of friendships.

this here post actually had nothing to do with analyzing/rebutting molly's post, per se. her post was merely a starting point for me in writing about my own ideas of life and friendships (see introductory paragraphs about 'flurried dicta').

re: your point about friendships having a base starting point and then, if that base starting point changes, then the friendship changes:
-first I would ask, what if the base friendship was undefinable in the first place? in a sense, what if it started randomly but then evolved into an awesome friendship? would that 'pinnacle' be considered the 'base' point then?
-secondly, like I said, there's nothing wrong with a friendship ending. sometimes it really does happen if there's just nothing in common. but what if the process of it ending could have--and could STILL be--different? what's wrong with some f-ing communication about it all? it doesn't 'have' to end just because that's 'life.'
Like I said, people might feel vulnerable putting some love and compassion into the situation, but at the end of the day that investment is worth more than the friendship ending out of prideful indifference.
And does it matter if one of the people involved hasn't concluded that the friendship is 'over'? Isn't that person's understanding/needs worth just as much as the other's?

It's pretty simple. I need some more things before I call it quits.

Anonymous said...

Point taken on the analysis. I skipped most of your dicta and when straight to the period (Pun, no pun? Double-entendre, or no?) in the first graph.

- to your first question... Yes. I'm not going to make rules about friendship. If you don't know why you're friends with someone and then one day you realize why you're friends with them, isn't that still the reason you're friends with them? Isn't that what is now holding the friendship together? Who cares about definitions. Whether you can define it or not, there's still a reason you're pals with someone.

-point two... Nope, there is nothing wrong with a friendship ending. There is nothing wrong with communication about the end. There is a point if the communication is about saving the relationship. But if it's about the end, it is pointless.
A: "Hey this is why I'm not your friend."
B: "Well, this is why I think we're still friends."
A: "Okay."
B: "Okay."
A: "Now what?"
B: "I dunno. Want to talk?"
A: "Not really. I want to go hang out with my friends. Plus, you're making me uncomfortable."

If it's about the end, then you're talking about the inevitable. There is no point. Just like there is no point in talking to an ex about getting back together if one of you really doesn't give s hit.

Same anonymous responder

emilie said...

thanks again. your points are also well taken.

however, your responses seem to indicate that there has actually been helpful/clear/caring communication...
(1-"even when it's fully explained and viewpoints are expressed",
2-"A: 'hey, this is why I'm not you're friend'")
...when the reality is that there has not been such communication.

With regards to an end being pointless to talk about, I completely disagree. Mainly because the "end" of one friendship is a very important life event (at least for myself) and even if it hurts, there is much learning to be had. This is where compassion comes in. It may not be a big deal to one person, but it is to the other and, yeah, I think we can take the time here in our little lives to give someone else--nay, a (even-formerly) close friend--the time of day.
In fact, I think more communication should be given to something significant like the ending of a thing rather than the less-hurtful sustenance of it.

However, I'm fully aware that this is what would happen in Emilie's perfect world where people toss out their learned notions of what is OK to talk about and what isn't and...just...do it.
Not exhaustingly, but enough that the two *people* have said their bits and have received their answers.

Also, not giving a s hit is too easy (if not completely hurtful). I mean, I guess the person can't help that they don't give a s hit, but, again, it's the way we treat one another that matters in the end. Rarely has 'not giving a s hit' ended in a positive and/or constructive manner. And I can say right now that this is NOT one of those rare instances.

Oh, and no one can "make" someone else "feel uncomfortable".
You can only feel glad, sad, mad, angry, afraid, hurt, grateful, or lonely.
But uncomfortable?
That's just a defense against one of the former.

You have to own your own crap. Don't use it as an excuse to not give a s hit.

Some logical nitpicking:
-If you didn't read the first paragraph, how did you know to pun about "period"?
-If you wish for the best, why would you not be in favor of my communication needs?

Also, I have no f-ing idea who "anonymous responder" actually is. I'd hate to make erroneous assumptions.
Regardless, I think I get the idea.

Anonymous said...

1. Who's reality are we talking about? Your situation, my situation or what actually does happen?
2. I'm pretty sure we're expressing our points within our own 'perfect worlds' here, so neither of us will sway on this. Or we just disagree altogether. We should just agree to disagree (a la Ron Burgundy).

Further points...It's your blog, but that doesn't mean you know whether or not someone can make someone else feel uncomfortable. If they can make you feel happy or glad or sad, why can't they make you feel uncomfortable? Besides, I wasn't even trying to make a point. It was simplified inner dialogue... About the first paragraph - I went back and re-read it. Through the miracle of modern technology, I was able to re-visit this blog and re-read your post... I do wish the best and I never said I wished against your communication needs. I just stated my opinion. The problem with writing is context. It's hard to be sure exactly what the other person means sometimes.

Since you hate to make errouneous assumptions... I loaned you a book in Syracuse. You lost it, bought the same book and returned it to me before your time was done there. Not unlike Gay Focker. I also taught you about the next big thing, how to parc (that's crapping backwards).I don't write my name because I don't feel like it. Not for insecurity or because I'm afraid to make a stand. Those are the reasons are why I don't wear a thong on the beach. If you know who I am, that's good enough for me. I Anyway, I'm done with this topic. It was fun bantering.

A hurricane is heading my way, so I have to get back to work before my day ends. The book was A Clockwork Orange.