Over the years I have sabotaged so many relationships and I just don’t understand why I do it but I repeatedly end up severing ties or damaging the friendship of all those that I care about, like, or even love. It seems like no matter how hard I try to be social, to be accepted, to be a good friend, and to be loved – even if I achieve these goals – I end up destroying all that I have done to form those relationships and the bonds I worked so hard to develop. I’ve tried to capture my thoughts regarding this in previous posts and particularly in “Friends of the Friendless” or “FACEBOOK! Argggghhhh!!!!” and “Your are SOOO Annoying!!“. There are all different reasons that I do these things but they seem to stem from my social awkwardness (“High Anxiety“), a chemical imbalance, short temper, or even drinking too much (“JUST BURN THE DAMN COUCH!“).
I like people… I love people… but for some reason I don’t get along with people, or let me rephrase; I get along with people but in the end I find that I am too quick to dismiss what I have built with them only to later regret my actions. At one point I believed I had learned this trait from my mother, she was quick to dismiss relationships, and my older brother, her son, once you did something to offend him you were forever on his list of people he would never forgive.
I feel like people judge me and I tend to judge them in response… you know especially those people you want to talk to but just can’t bring yourself to approach them despite how much you want to and then because you don’t have the balls to break the ice you convince yourself that they are snobs and not deserving of your company (and please don’t tell me I’m the only one that has ever felt this way). What’s funny is if and when you do talk to them and the ice is broken you discover what wonderful people they were, are, and realize that your own anxieties or fears caused you to delay what could become a great relationship. This happens frequently with me, again when I finally muster the courage to talk to those people, but even when I do finally make these acquaintances or friendships it always seems that a few years down the road these people end up hating me or just not talking to me probably for some if not all the reasons I mentioned above and in my previous posts.
About 10 years ago I met what I thought were two really great guys (a gay couple) and I remember after meeting them (we met online and it was not sexual) I thought to myself what great guys to be friends with especially when they invited us (me and my partner) to dinner at their house. I was very excited about the prospect of having these new friends and hoped that I could and would enjoy a long friendship with them. I remember bringing them “yellow roses” and telling them these stood for friendship and I hoped that we would have a long and good one and actually we did, our friendship last about 5 years. There were so many good times with these guys and of course a few bad and difficult times that we would always overcome. I remember my boss to whom I spoke of this friendship used to say our relationship reminded her of Lucy and Ricky with Fred and Ethel of the “I Love Lucy” show; mostly because I would often share our ups and downs with her. That friendship ended pretty tragically and I often regret having lost these friends, especially when I see them driving down the street, walking their dogs or shopping at a store. There was so much about these guys I loved and so much that I disliked but I valued the friendship, that is until the day that I had angry words with one of them through email (can you believe it, (and not through Facebook) a misunderstanding and an exaggeration of something that should have never happened but escalated to the point where we never spoke again). What was so totally ridiculous is the friendship ended over something very stupid and despite doing my best to repair the damage they have decided we will never be friends again.
So people come and go, I’m aware of that, I have a really good friend now and I value my friendship with him so I know that its possible to like and be liked, the problem is that I usually mess things up and half the time I don’t even know what I did. Recently I had some friends stop talking to me for months and when I finally saw them they hugged me as if nothing was wrong. I said to one of them “I thought you guys were mad at me” and his response was “We don’t stay mad long”… HUH??? So obviously I had done something, but what did I do? I didn’t push and didn’t ask, I just assumed that they were upset because a weekend trip didn’t go as planned. (See “Worst Experience Ever – It Goes Both Ways!!“) What gets me about my personality is that often I will sacrifice my honor at the expense of others (I know that sounds like a stupid statement, very dramatic) but so often I realize that the relationships I’ve severed or the things that I’ve done to sever the relationships are often caused by my reaction to what others say and do. I take on this “I show you mentality” as if they are going to care about my reaction or my ending the friendship. Nope that isn’t the case, they just move on with their lives only without me and later I so regret the loss.
I used the bowl with the guys I mentioned above, the couple I gave the yellow roses, and we enjoyed the bowling for a year and had a great time. It was a Gay and Lesbian bowling league. The second year the older (and more “Stodgy”) of the two quit the league, that left me and his partner as teammates which was fine with be because of the two I considered him to be a better friend in this relationship. after the “Stodgy” guy quit the league the league officers partnered us up with a young guy and this “kid” while for the most part nice enough had quite the temper on him. He showed his anger night we bowled, he wasn’t mad a anyone in general, but a poor throw would piss him off, missed pins would piss him off. He would kick the ball rack or stop talking, he would simply snap because he was unhappy with his game. Generally his mood improved with his bowling game, a good game meant a good mood and a bad game meant that all three of us were going to be miserable. Often my friend and I would roll are eyes at each other when we saw that he was about to have a fit “Oh no, here we go again”.
I had no ties to this kid other than his having been assigned to my team when our partner quit…. and I have to say when the kid (he was in his early 20’s so it isn’t fair to call him a kid, but he sure acted like a kid, an “Angry kid”) wasn’t throwing tantrums he was very nice. We finished out our bowling for the year and at the end of our bowling banquet when we were all given our awards and cash reimbursement we all shook hands and said “See you next year” and my friend and I did not see the “Angry kid” again until the next bowling season started.
The next year my “Stodgy” friend who had quit the year before decided that he want to return to bowling. I didn’t see any issues with this as he was originally our team member and again the “Angry kid” had only been assigned to us because he was team-less when he joined the previous year. Every year before the first night of bowling there was a kick-off meeting in which teams are created and those people like our “Angry kid” who are team-less would be assigned to a team. Now mind you this kid did not have a team when he joined us the previous year and I say this because my friend (the “Stodgy” guy) decided that he was going to rejoin. Talk about being a awkward, here I am with my friends (the couple) and the “Angry kid” is across the room “eyeballing” us, I could just sense his ire and knew that he was upset at seeing my new teammate.
When the meeting ended I walked over to him and said to the “Angry Kid” (insert name here) not sure if you noticed but “Stodgy” friend (insert name here) has decided to come back”… You would have thought that I slapped the kid or thrown a bucket of blood on him, his face changed and was consumed with anger that can only be described as that of “Carrie” when she started to kill all her schoolmates. He yelled at me in front of everyone saying he could see I betrayed him and it would have been nice if we called him to let him know beforehand and he stormed out of the bowling lanes, quitting the league, he did not return.
Now I’m not sure what this craziness was about because like I said he was nothing to us when he joined the previous year and it was just a courtesy thing that we told our officers we would accept him as a partner, I didn’t clarify but we were given a choice and since we were the only team with a vacancy had we said “No” he wouldn’t have even been permitted to join the previous year as there was no room for him. However suddenly we were obligated to the point that if he couldn’t be with us he was quitting the league: NO SENSE WHATSOEVER!! So the “Kid” was gone and I thought I would never see him again.
Years later while at the The Woods Campgrounds I was surprised to see that he was there. Actually I was relieved, I thought I could talk to him again and we could put all the silliness of the bowling league behind us, surely his “Anger” had been limited to bowling. You can’t imagine how surprised I was that after all these years he still would not acknowledge me despite my going over to him to break the ice and say hello. YEARS later and I am a pariah and he obviously “hates” me and it all really had nothing really to do with me, I couldn’t help it that my friend and his partner (our original teammate) returned to bowling leaving him out. Face it, even with my “Stodgy” friend rejoining he was in the same boat he had been in the previous year when he joined during the middle of the season but for some reason the whole thing was my fault, its like I always say, I think I’m just an easy person for people to hate and I just don’t understand why. What is it about me that makes it so easy for people so just be mean to me? I mean NASTY? To not acknowledge me when I walk up and say “Hi, do you remember me?” and to not even get a response, to almost literally have him turn his back on me in mid-sentence.
Back to bowling and the reason for this post. We are going along fine despite and without the “Angry kid”, at least I thought one day my friend (the “Cool” one of the couple, not the “Stodgy” one) decided that he no longer wanted to bowl so he quit and that left me and Stodgy (Ugh, I would have so preferred Mr. Stodgy quit again). Now I neglected to mention that Stodgy had one mission when we got to the bowling alley and it was to get home. This makes no sense does it but every single week, even during the first year, Stodgy would start pacing back and forth, antsy, bitching about the other team if they were outside smoking or in the bathroom and at the counter ordering food or drinks. He was impatient and just wanted the night to end. I never understood why he continued to bowl, he presence just made me anxious. For me bowling was fun and I wanted to enjoy myself without all these antics, I bowled on a league when I was a kid and I remember those days with such fondness so I didn’t mind the time we spent waiting on other bowlers, it gave me time to sit, relax, and get to know the other people, this was the most social I had ever been in years and I was loving it.
So unlike my bowling partner I did not arrive with the intent of going home but every week, I was there to have fun, but Stodgy got worse and worse, probably because his partner was home doing gawd knows what (he was jealous of “Cool”, probably imagining “Cool” screwing everybody he could while his partner was away and if I knew “Cool” he was probably right) or maybe “Stodgy” was always like this but I didn’t notice because I had “Cool” as a buffer. Whatever the reason he was starting to make bowling miserable for me. I had to listen to him complain at nausea because so and so wasn’t up on the lane when their turn came up (and then there was the team of all black bowler whom Stodgy despised simply because of their skin color, but that’s another story). One night we were bowling against a team whose members seemed to disappear for all sorts of reasons (mostly because they too were enjoying their relaxing night out). Every few minutes they were on the other side of the lanes socializing or smoking or whatever. Now this didn’t bother me because as I said I enjoyed the socializing myself… I would buy a pitcher of beer for the night and would relax and converse but in between I had to listen to Stodgy’s ranting and ravings over the missing opposing team. “Where are they?” he would say “We are fucking here to bowl not visit”, etc, etc, etc. On and on he would go, bitching about this and that. I was finding that bowling with him was becoming very stressful, I actually missed the “Angry kid”. I learned myself over time not to even dare visit or be gone too long otherwise I’d face the wrath of his impatience the only difference is being friends he would bitch to me in front of my face, when it was anyone else it was behind their backs but I had to listen to that bitching too so it was a lose/lose situation.
So here we are bowling with this team that likes to wander, the first game I was very aware of and would watch Stodgy pacing, slapping his hand towel in his hand (his way to passive aggressive display of anger not being overly obvious). I knew how Stodgy was now and the towel slapping might as well have been a huge red neon sign flashing “Warning, Warning”… but I did my best to tolerate his impatience which was now beginning to irritate me. Stodgy was getting angrier and angrier and angrier and every time someone was away, not hopping to their lanes immediately as their turn came up he would throw his hands up in the air and vent to me when they were out of earshot only to me when the offender finally walked up to take his turn.
Stodgy was so mad that he was bowling very badly and I was so flustered I in turn was bowling badly, I don’t know who to really blame? Stodgy or the frequently absent opposing team but because of his anger we were losing and by a lot. We were both much better bowlers but neither of us could concentrated, he because he was just pissed and me because I was distracted by his anger. By the end of the second game I was tired of it and I started doing something very unsportsmanlike but I didn’t know how much longer I could stand Stodgy’s onslaught on me (and yes, on me because he wouldn’t share his anger with our opponents which were the cause of his ire) In retrospect I should have just said “Hey! Opposing offenders… you are pissing off my teammate and I demand that you remain in your seats and take your turn bowling as soon as your name comes up and without hesitation! We are not here to smoke, we are not here to drink, we are not here to eat, we are not here to socialize. We are here to bowl so get with it!” But I didn’t. Instead I said in front of and loud enough for the other team to hear “Stodgy we are bowling so badly lets just quit and go home”. And in his continued 2-faced manner he responded “Oh, we can’t do that” and then he kept on bitching, throughout the rest of the 2nd game he just went on and on.
Finally when we finished the 2nd game, before the 3rd game started I put on my street shoes and told everyone “I’ll be in the bar” and left, I could not stand to endure Stodgy’s bitching for another minute. Despite his dissatisfaction with our opposing team he finished the third game and they finished rather quickly. Its seems now everyone was angry and all focused on ending the night. When Stodgy met me in the bar he told me that the other team was so pissed off at me they did indeed finish quickly. Can you believe it? Pissed off at me. The guy who caused all this was a hero for staying on and I was a creep. Okay so whatever put that behind me now…the night was over and I just wanted to get home.
The next week Stodgy said that he was so disgusted with the previous weeks team that he decided that he wasn’t going that night and in fact he was so fed up he was probably going to quit altogether. You would not believe the relief I felt. Thank goodness!! I had a MUCH better time bowling on my own. Stodgy reached a point where just being around him at the lanes made the game unbearable. I was sure that he was quitting and was happier to be on my own…I even joked with him and told him (this will tell you how long ago this was) that I might change my team name to “I Am Legend” (at the time the movie had just come out and if you’ve seen the movie you will get the point but if not “I Am Legend” was about the sole survivor of an apocalypse and I was the sole survivor of this bowling debacle). I never wanted to bowl with Stodgy ever again. So here I was a week later, blissfully at the lanes alone and someone told me they had heard what I had done the previous week and that it wasn’t very nice. I explained my situation and how Stodgy was complaining and even quoted him as saying “If they want to socialize instead of bowling they should quit the league” and this guy said “well if he’s that unhappy maybe he should quit the league”.
Now fast forward to later in the week and to my disappointment when Stodgy told me that he thinks he was going to come back to bowling and talk to the league president about people taking too much time bowling. WTF! Come on, this was getting to be enough, I really did not want him coming back at all, after all he was so miserable and all he did was make me miserable too. I tried to dissuade him and told him about my conversation with this other guy saying that perhaps he should quit the league (my goal here was to make all of us happy, he really didn’t want to bowl and I really didn’t want him bowling anymore, at least not on my team. I thought maybe the comment would piss him off enough to say “FUCK THEM!”) but my attempt to make him quit failed, backfired, instead he wrote a long letter to the league president and specifically mentioned the guy that said he should quit demanding he get an apology, even though Stodgy said anyone that wasn’t there to “bowl and only bowl” should quit, he was demanding an apology from the guy I spoke with for saying pretty much the same thing he had said. What’s funny about this is he still couldn’t say anything to anyone’s face, he had to write it down and then to make matters worse this particular night we were bowling against the black team and Stodgy despised them. Stodgy and his family (not “Cool”) were extremely racist. Okay so after the league President reads the note now she is angry and comes over asking how she is supposed to control what people say and do? And that if Stodgy had a problem with that other guy he should address it with him and not her and I agree with her, she was so right, but now (get this) the team from 2 weeks earlier were on the opposite lane and they were whispering and looking my way, I realized now that my name was mud, and then one of the people that they were talking to came over to me as asked me how I could do what I did, how could I be so rude as to walk off just because I was losing a game. Okay, not my blood is starting to boil but what made things worse was this comment was followed by the now emboldened member of that team who came over and said to me “What you did was wrong! Karma is going to get you”
That was it… I yelled at the top of my lungs “Now I have had enough! Now I’m done!” and started putting my shoes on. Stodgy scrambled behind me grabbing his things, only too happy to join me so he could make his “grand exit” and we left. I quit bowling and all this stemmed from Stodgy and his attitude. What had I really done by being so stealthy in my reasons for quitting that night, for getting angry because Stodgy’s impatience and arrogance instigated everything?
The result was that everyone was mad at me (except “Cool”). Kid was mad, the president was mad, the opposing team was mad, Stodgy was glad to get away from the black team (no joke) and I was giving up something I truly loved. I lost something I loved and looked forward every week and here I had gone and ruined everything by reacting in a way that again in retrospect makes no sense. That night if I hadn’t stopped bowling when Stodgy was bitching everything would have been fine but I let his actions affect me to the point I had blown the whole thing out of proportion, letting is snowball until it ended up messing everything up for everyone involved.
But this friendship (Stodgy and Cool) was going to end too but I will write about that another time….