So I'm gonna wax moody for a bit, because that's what's going on right now, and hey... this isn't a specialty blog, this is just my Internet Brain Dump, so welcome back to it! It's not like I'm off topic since I'm pretty good about not specifying topics to begin with.
Let's talk about that.
And about how Tumblr has mounds of posts about how hard it is to make, keep, or be calm about having them.
And about how Facebook has all of these inspiration black and white professional photos with pretty fonts talking about how they're so valuable and they make your life better and....
And basically it seems there's only slight less effort put in to worrying about friends as being worried about staying alive. Or perhaps getting laid, depending on the demographic.
I am not good with friends. I try very hard to talk to them and keep in touch, but I get forgetful or sidetracked or into this REALLY FREAKIN' COOL PROJECT and sometimes they don't hear from me for a while. And then comes a "Hey, are you mad?" text or IM out of nowhere (because I don't actually live near any of my friends, further awesome complication) and I'm baffled as to why they would think I would ever be mad. I'm not mad, I'm just forgetful.
But even despite this, I have noted that there is literally not a single person who has been my friend for longer than perhaps 10 years. I don't have a single high school, childhood or college friend that I am close to. Even adult friends don't tend to stick around for more than a few years before Some General Weirdness kicks up.
It happens so often, in fact, that I pretty much just talk to people, try to be nice to everybody, and don't really look for friends. It usually goes that people decide they are MY friend first, and then I chat them up a lot more often.
I guess because, at some point, I am expecting them to disappear on me. Which is probably sad, and probably affects how I interact with people on a basic level. I'm just not sure how much.
At the same time, I'm deathly afraid that I'm hyper-aware of that possibility, so I go waaaay overboard in interacting with people and come across as seeming needy, or just generally in peoples' grills. I also want to help, I want people to NOT feel alone, or sad, or upset, or like they have no help, so I throw a lot of stuff at them to try and keep that from happening to them; it makes me wonder if I seem like I'm invalidating their feelings, or acting like a Know-it-All. So the very act of talking with people and sharing info and hanging out... it can become pretty stressful pretty fast.
What brought this entire mental revisit to the forefront was a strangeness trifecta with some friends I talk to every week on a regular basis. They are people that I actually take my problems to, and feel like maybe it's not a huge sin to ask their thoughts on things. Not like they should feel special for it, I don't mean it that way. They're people that I've talked to long enough that I know they've got a good head on their shoulders and would be rational, not resorting to "Oh, it'll pass" sort of platitudes. They're good people. I would seriously contemplate taking a bullet for them.
But for some reason, they all went weird at the same time, and in entirely different ways. One I knew would probably end up upset by the end of the weekend. Another was very stressed and felt like they had the entire world on them in the hour they told me about everything going on. Yet another.... just... stopped talking.
None of this actually calls in the necessity of ego. I know it was just a perfect storm of People Doing Life. But in the middle of it I was at a loss to help anybody, and with one of them I just had to watch the car wreck happen and be there for the aftermath. Which blows, and I'm sure a lot of you have been there.
As far as the silent one... I have no idea. Eventually they might say something and give me a clue as to what's going on. They might not. I'm struggling really hard to be at peace and just roll with things, because we can never know exactly what's going on in the head of another even if they explain it to us. We shade our words with meanings too deeply to ever really convey what's happening in our skulls.
This resulted in dragging up everything, though, about me wondering if I'm a horrible friend, or generally clueless about things. And people. Fun stuff.
*** STORY TIME! ***
In my mind I rocketed back to when I lived in Seattle. I had become really close friends with a gal who seemed neat (albeit very opinionated). We were friends for perhaps 2 years. At one point I even slept on her sofa to get away from a bad relationship.
Then for some reason she started to slowly grow sour and more negative. Right about the time she found out she was pregnant, in fact, although really I think a lot of stuff was under the surface and she was using it as an excuse to be rude and selfish.
At the time I was trying to plan my wedding, and she had agreed to be my matron of honor. But every time we got together she would start out by telling me what she had done for her wedding, belittle everything I had picked out for mine, then took over the conversation and started talking about her baby. Non-fucking-stop. It got to the point where I would go home and do all the work myself because nobody else in the area volunteered and my parents were 3,000 miles away. The groom, also, was not particularly helpful (a sign of things to come).
At one point I was attempting to discuss locations with her, and she kept interrupting with more shit about her baby, telling me stuff she'd already told me before.
~PLEEEEEASE be assured this also makes me hyper-aware that I'm babbling about my pregnancy and boring the shit out of people who don't give a damn that I've managed to not keep my legs shut, btw.~
When I finally turned to her and said "Hey, could we NOT talk about your baby for a bit? I'm trying to get stuff done."
There. I was finally honest with her, I asked for her help directly. I thought I was being an adult, in fact.
Except that apparently you didn't Question Her, because she got REALLY pissed off and snapped back "Having a baby is a huge life event."
"So is getting married," I shot back, surprised at her lack of ability to realize that fact.
And then she actually completely refused to talk to me the rest of the car ride. Being that we were going somewhere SHE had suggested, that made things awkward as hell. And to further be passive aggressive so she didn't have to stop talking about what SHE wanted and help me out, she refused to talk on the way back either. As if we could only talk about her baby or nothing at all.
Should've been a huuuuge warning sign, honestly, but I wrote it off to her being an only child and her first pregnancy.
Then suddenly I get an email saying she can't be my matron of honor because she won't be able to stand for the duration of the ceremony. Because she would be a whopping 3 months pregnant and couldn't stand for 15 minutes or some bullshit. Whatever. It was obviously an excuse.
I offered to let her have a chair, stating people would understand. She never responded to that offer.
Then she was 15 minutes late for the ceremony. And made a point of stating she couldn't have the alcohol being served because she was pregnant. And then hugged me and left.
I only saw her once more after that, and that was at her baby shower. She was right where she needed to be, center of attention. I left early after talking with a few mutual semi-friends and smiling at her while dropping my gift on the gift mountain near the front door. We maintained email contact infrequently, and all conversations were pretty much always dominated by how her business and her baby was doing. I asked her for advice on a few things going weird on my end and was basically ignored in favor of what she wanted to talk about.
When the marriage fell apart and I needed help packing up all of my belongings, I did the entire job by myself. Including guarding the luggage after I discovered my soon-to-be-ex-husband going through it to pull out things that I owned prior to us even being married that he thought were valuable and wanted to sell after I left. I moved it to my car and locked it every evening for lack of a safe place in my own home. I cried by myself, I packed by myself, I put up with him importing his mistress and letting her sleep in the bedroom while I enjoyed my college futon in the spare bedroom... by myself. And during this time I was completely abandoned and ignored by this person who had been more close to me than anybody else had been in the past 8 or so years.
She did give me one parting shot, advising me that I was "too obsessed with money and very self-centered" in a final email before I left the state, as if she had to get the last word in. Which is amusing, because I had actually thought that described HER very well, especially the self-centered part. But then again, what's that quote? We despise in others what we hate most in ourselves?
The worst part is that when I read that, because I was in such a miserable space mentally, it shot straight through all of my logic centers and lodged in my brain. To this day I am constantly checking to see if I am, in fact, being selfish and unempathetic. Because my two greatest fears are of letting people down, and being alone. And that hit both of them squarely.
*** END STORY TIME ***
If you've read this far, I'm impressed. Beyond impressed. And grateful, because time and attention are valuable things.
I am hoping this leads people to see why having all of my friends go odd on the same weekend would be incredibly stressful. I was afraid I would let them down. I was afraid I would come from a place of ego and not truly help them. I was worried that I was so stuck in my own crap that I couldn't intuit what was going on with them.... and I had to do that figuring for multiple factors and multiple vectors. It was a pretty lonely place. And probably not even a necessary mental state to be stuck in. I do this shit to myself.
I've talked with some of them since then and they're doing better, thankfully. I was able to be an ear when they needed it, and I was happy to be able to help even beyond my own satisfaction.
As far as the one who has gone silent... I'm just hoping everything is okay, and if I've done something they'll mention it eventually. Hopefully not as a parting email shot that ends things, as I'd like a chance to make amends ("Are you mad at me?") I am also way too familiar with that method these days and it grows quite old. If it happens again, I think I'll just consider people to be generally neat... but not advisable for approaching on a deeper level.
Thanks for listening again, vast void of the internet.