Thursday, July 06, 2006

When adults fall down



Coming from the family of origin that I do, controversy and conflict don't scare me much. My worst fear regarding my interactions with my friends is that I will defend myself too well or too early against slights imaginary or intended, and as a consequence that I will hurt their feelings. I can see almost every side to any conflict, and I assume the best intent in my friend. While I may heartedly disagree with their perspective, I still see it and allow that perception to sway me away from confrontation even when I should probably call them out on something inappropriate.

I know I can protect myself, I just don't want to hurt anyone else in the process.

Ironically, as a result I tend to let things go too long or too far. I take too much. When I finally decide I have had enough, I just let it fade ... and the person is left behind. No muss, no fuss, just a gentle grief.
I hate that.
I don't want to experience that with my friends. The whole concept of "outgrowing friends" disgusts me, even while I see how it can be true in some situations.

I have two women right now with whom I am facing that dilemma. One loves me far less than I love her, and the other wants more of me than I can share. One relationship transitioned badly from online friend to real time friend, while the other is in a weird sort of stall while my friend transitions wildly from one station in her life to the next. In the first circumstance, my friend could not give me any latitude for processing the enormous changes on my own life. She wanted what she wanted and didn't care to hear from me what I needed, or the pain in my body that would keep me from the experiences I would love to have shared with her. In the second, I find myself on the other side of the fence. I want to be sensitive to this person, but I find myself being the impatient one.

I miss the little losses of shared time, humor, experiences. I still look at both of them and see the shining examples of goodness and intelligence and humor within the flawed human beings that we all are. I mourn the absence of the sense of intimacy that lets you speak your mind or share a difficult truth without fear of over-reaction or petty reprisals. And if I can't have that now, well yes it is indeed "my loss," but I suppose I am not alone in that arena, because I have a lot to offer too.

I feel frustrated: aren't adults supposed to be beyond this?????? I have incredible friends in my life who have been steadfast for years. It doesn't have to be this way.

4 comments:

  1. friendships, even the best of ones can go through such crappy times. People change and then change again. Friends can fight and argue and be pissy for a long time, say things that hurt and be hurt too... but in the end, true friends will work it out. It may take a year or two - but if there is still some love in your heart - then there is always a chance

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  2. You aren't talking about me, right?

    I'm paranoid.

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  3. I have already talked to you, but its very hard when you have certain hopes for a friendship and it doesn't develope the way you hope. Hang in there, things are bound to get better.

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  4. This whole talking around me here and in the Tent is so wonky. Just talk to me! The last time you actually picked up a phone and called me for no reason was back in November when you called to bawl about your old house. And that's what had hurt me the most.

    I thought I was pretty understanding when you weren't able to do stuff with your pregnancy and then other girley injuries, but had the feeling that the understanding wasn't reciprocated when it came to my migraines and husband problems.

    Hopefully you can find some patience for the other friend.

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