Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On Friendship...A Bonnaroo Digression

So...I know I promised more on Bonnaroo but I find myself gravitating toward another topic all together.  So, last night was an interesting night.  It ended with AN lecturing me about wasted talent and self-delusional bullshitting.  And while she has a point I find myself unwilling or unable to accept the accuracy of what she's said enough to do anything about it.

AN isn't the first to ask, to say, to judge.  To criticize me for a lack of anxiety or for taking advantage of the fact that I have supportive parents.  But for some unknown reason her tirade meant a lot coming from someone who has no major stock in my success and no familial connection.  Her criticism was true, it was rough, and it tied into another theme this weekend on the topic of friendship.

I've recently been asked by two good friends about their relationships with other good friends.
Case 1:  A
One of her good friends has a gf who he sucks around.  While I spent a lot of time with the gf and genuinely like her she somehow sucks the good-nature our of her bf (G).  Now the gf invited herself last minute on our trip and A told G that she really had planned this for close friends but that if gf came he couldn't suck balls and bail on her.  He looked her in the eyes and promised.  But he disappointed.  And its not the first time.

Now, I see where she's coming from and its definitely not a jealousy thing.  Its about disappointment.  How do you deal with a friend's betrayal or a friends disappointment?  How much can you take without being walked on?  What are your boundaries? When do you give up? Cutting losses isn't so cut and dry when it comes to friendships?  Does it matter if they have good intentions?

I always think of the quote, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Case 2: J

It was really J who made me think long and hard about this.  I've been betrayed and I've forgiven and been betrayed again.  His case is even more serious because it involves a long time friend.  The only thing I could compare it to in my life is when one of my best friends became a drug addict in college.  She was/is one of the sweetest, generous people I know but there was a point at which I had to cut myself off from her (after she lied to me about needing money for books and spent the money on drugs).  I love her, I always will but there's a turning point where the person you love no longer exists in your present.   With life long friends you question whether they've changed, or whether you ever really knew them at all.

I don't mean to sound tragic or preachy.  I also don't think there is necessarily a definite friend faux-pas that demarcates friend and non-friend.  I guess my point is that it just seems like toxic friends are so much harder to identify than toxic bf/gfs.  And what's awful is that those friendships can sometimes be so much more important than any romantic relationship you're in.   So, why don't we pay them as much attention?  Why don't we define what we will and won't take from a friend?  And most of all why is it so easy for us to forgive and hard for us to learn that they just might not be who we want them to be?

I'm not sure I'm looking for any answer but these two cases have gotten me thinking about past betrayals.  How I've forgiven people who have continually disappointed me and why I have.  I've thought about whether I've betrayed friends (I have, one) and why I did it and why she's still friends with me.  I've thought about that sinking feeling of disappointment, the shock, the anger, the stages of grief we go through when faced with that situation.  We can alter or be forced to alter some of our best relationships when a friend becomes someone other than the person we know.  And whether we want to or not, we mourn.  We grieve loss of the original and we harbor anger for the stranger who has replaced the them.

It seems so tragic in the midst of loss but whether we keep or lose or distance a friend we do eventually reach a stage of acceptance. I guess the best method is damage control.  You can't allow someone no matter how good of a friend to make you feel like shit.  It's like A says, "Sometimes you just have to give up on people, friends aren't supposed to make you miserable, their supposed to lift you up".

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