I don’t quite understand the need to maintain a friendship at the expense of one’s sanity. Don’t work at friendships. They either exist or they don’t. It’s a very black or white situation. Take them for what they are, and not what you want them to be. Having said that, I think I may be in the extreme minority with this opinion.
I’m not quite sure why that is.
Take for example the fact that Dudum and I went to the baseball game last night, and had 3 separate conversations composed of facial expressions, eye signals and fragments of sentences. And yet, there was no question in my mind that the two of us completely understood one another. It was phenomenal.
Or, as another example, how we have a group at work who make fun of each other with a real zest for finding a solid zinger. There’s no malice. There are few hurt feelings, and when feelings get hurt the right actions are taken. The hurt individual runs away to the library, while the hurting individual apologizes a few days later. It’s only possible though because there’s an appreciation for the opposite party and what they bring to the table, both good and bad. You have to respect someone to be able to laugh at who they are without meaning to hurt them, and simultaneously have them realize that your jest comes from a place of mutual respect.
So why is it then that people work so hard to maintain friendships that are fictional in entirety or belong to a different time in our lives? The friendship lacks connection, mutual respect or even basic decency. It’s a lot easier to just be honest.
The culprit here is twofold.
One, the past has an incredible hold on us. We feel as if our past owes us the decency of shaping our future. In no way does that take into account how in the present we may have changed who we are.
Two, interpersonal inertia. People build groups, and within the group come the dynamics of the best friend, the social butterfly, the one who makes us laugh, the drama queen/king, and so on. To be honest is to break this inertia. Because we owe the others the peace and calm of a steady state we are unable to push the rock down the mountain face lest we be deemed selfish or self-serving.
And so we torment ourselves, and convince ourselves that the truth is that somehow, someway this friendship will return to what it was even though we are now who we have become.
This week’s lesson: honesty in friendships is to lie.