There are very few people in this world that I would consider friends, you know, the types of friendships you see on TV, the people that hang together and stand up for each other and even rib and argue and with each other only to be the best of friends again in the next episode. Lucy and Ethel of “I Love Lucy” are perfect examples of this type of friendship although I have to admit witnessing some of the fights I’ve seen those two have I’m surprised that their friendships had remained in tact. I’ve lost many friends for far less than some of the things these two have perpetrated on each other. I mean talk ab out back stabbing and out and out betrayal. These two have done it all.
Is having friends really worth the work that’s involved? I don’t mean like in “hard labor” incase they ask you to help them move or something, but I mean just to maintain all the intricacies that come with having to constantly care about that person or people. I have one friend who is so needy that if I don’t wish him a “good morning” or ask him every day for a week how he’s feelings if he mentions one day he has the sniffles he reminds me of the fact that I haven’t shown any concern. I have to tell you he pisses m off an awful lot. I have a lot of my own problems and a lot of details and day to day activities I have to maintain and to go out of my way to text him a “Good Morning” or “How are you feeling?” just isn’t natural for me and as I said you can be sure that he lets me hear about it.
Its not that I don’t care about this friend, I do but to have to remember 6 days later after he mentioned that he had the sniffles or a headache or that something else adversely has affected his being and comment on that at nausea drives me crazy and in fact makes me not want to talk to him. He is so damned needed. But then again, he lives alone, an aging queer that other than his family who are living their own lives he had no one to count on to be there for him. The truth is I would be there for him. If he were truly sick or truly needed me but he has turned his every tiny little ailment into such an ordeal that I am quite frankly tired of hearing about it.
I wonder sometimes if having friends is really worth the effort? I’m just not sure, I like having people in my life but I find that so many, most, almost all, are phony fair weather friends. There are some people that I really like… actually I generally like almost everyone, that’s a big part of my problem, no matter how angry I get with people I tend to overlook their craziness, sure I bitch about them to my husband or in blog postings like this but in the end, one on one, face to face, I like them. Sometimes I amazes me that the sweet loving person I’m talking to can be the same nasty jerk that posts so inane comment on Facebook or shares notions so extremely opposite of mine. Somehow this sweet lovely person is going to let me down. That’s their job. Eventually almost everyone I ever meet lets me down. Those that I idolize, those that I adore, those that I find entertaining, those that seem popular, those that are just average guys… I mean I really don’t care what my initial perception is of people I am always let down. So the title of this doesn’t really fit, “Friends of the Friendless” should really be “Friend of the Un-Friendly”… of “Desperately Seeking a Real Friend”… I think of myself as being friendly but I often let myself down too because once I see what my new friends are really like I find myself thinking “who needs em” and I stop pursuing that particular friendship. If I see them in the streets or run into them at a party (which is a rare occurrence these days as my partner and I rarely leave the house) I will be civil, and often think “This person isn’t that bad” only to find out later through the gossip from on source or another that they are indeed the same idiot I have originally perceived them to be.
I remember the I Love Lucy episode where she joined the “Friends of The Friendless” when people forgot her birthday… I think she said something like she was nothing but flotsam at the bottomless pit of despair. No… I’m no where near that far gone… and this isn’t a posting about feeling lonely or some other depressing notion regarding self-pity or defeating introversion. This is more about how despite my first impression either I sabotage my relationships with wonderful people that I care about… or how others whom I had thought were wonderful decent people turned out to be deserving of Lucy’s “flotsam” analogy. About betrayal by those that I once respected and my own betrayal of those that once respected me. Maybe its because I have that ideal of a friend that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you know Ross and Rachel and the other characters on Friends, Ethel and Lucy on I Love Lucy, or even Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia on the Golden Girls. Instead I find that the people I thought were quality individuals are indeed human, nasty, backstabbing, rude, and just don’t really care.
I need to say that the only totally true friends that I have, friends I never question and who never question me are my three canines… my three German Shepherds who regardless of what I say or do or how I act never think any less of me… and I in turn forgive them for all they do, their accidents on the floors, the damage they do to my future, the smells they make…I love my dogs. They are my true friends. Often I truly believe they are higher evolved that humans when it comes to loyalty and commitment… and far superior than we images of god. I think that a lot of my recent way of thinking are influenced by two things… the “Mid-Life Crisis” I wrote about in my very first posting to this blog and/or the anti-depressant that my doctor recently prescribed. I take the anti-depressants for a slight social anxiety problem that I believe stem from a panic disorder.
I learned a lot about relationships (friendships) from my parents. I remember my mother having really good friends (mostly German ladies (my mother was German)) that would come over for coffee or our families would do cook-outs and whatever else family friends do together… then suddenly Hannalore or Renate or Ingrid (not making up these names they were all friends of my mother) would suddenly stop coming around… and my mother would explain that they either said this or did that… and so she was no longer friends with them and you know we never ever saw those people again. My mother, unlike me, would never look these women in the eyes again, once their friendship had ended, it was over. When my mother would run into them at the store or something she would tell us how cold they were… but did she ever realize that she returned that indifference she was probably just as cold, if not colder than they were being. How could those friendships ever be recovered when both parties had such negative attitudes because or one or two instances of betrayal… whether innocent or not. Flash forward 30 years and I am my mothers clone in this regard. I will always reacquaint myself with those that have slighted me, often against my better judgement and I hate myself for it but also should I really discard someone from my life forever just because the said something about me that got back to me? I mean I’ve said things about them too, and I’m sure on occasion my husband (who is not loyal especially when angry at me) will go out of his way to share my comments, he too, whether to get back at me for making him angry or just being nasty. Most the time I think its because my husband just doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut which often makes me wonder why I share things with him to begin with. Well for one thing I have no one else to share things with. There is no Ethel for this Lucy.
I have had some really great relationships with people that I called friend and considered friends and some of them have ended in disaster… others have ended in a permanent standoffishness… some are so-so and continue to be acquaintances and other than my dogs (and my partner) I know only one man that I can truly call my friend… the whiner I mentioned above, the big baby that needs constant attention and I just don’t have the energy to think about him my every waking hour and to him unless he isn’t first and foremost on my thoughts then I’m neglecting him and our friendship. I have win.
My sister-in-law (my partner’s sister) once tried to comfort me after losing two dear friends over a silly misunderstanding telling me people are meant to cycle in and out of your life… that sometimes you have to just say good-bye and move on. I believe she’s right in some extreme cases but I’m also learning that sometimes simply swallowing our pride and apologizing or making a move to repair the damage might be the way to go. I have some severed friendships (people I’m sorry I’ve lost) where I am considering (what do they say??) “presenting an olive branch”… (I think that’s the saying). Some instances where things have just cycled out over some silly misunderstanding and words spoken in the heat of the moment that should have never been said, that’s when I remember all those greeting cards that say something like “remember words can hurt and never be taken back”.