You know, it’s hard having a philosophical mind. Someone you let close to you does something that annoys you, it sparks deep thought, and you talk about the event philosophically. People take that chatter seriously, some ranting happens on all sides, and then later that person finds your philosophical post and takes it personally. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t name names. It’s not important that you phrased the original post very specifically to say that the event set you to thinking, that you didn’t really rant about that person at all, or that in the end the post had nothing to do with them on any individual basis whatsoever. They’ve taken offense, and that’s all there is to it.
I’ve lost dozens of friends to that scenario, and over the years I’ve made a decision: if you’re someone who can’t get to know me on such a level that you get it when I’m talking philosophically, that can’t understand me enough to know that it was a simple event that sparked the discussion and there was nothing personal to it, then you probably weren’t a real friend at all. I could have known you for a million years, and if you can’t get that fundamental part of me then it’s best we part ways, because I’m not spending the rest of my life apologizing for things I shouldn’t have to apologize for. Try thickening your skin. Or better yet, step outside once in a while. It’s good for you.
The event that has me thinking about the situation is something along that line. I haven’t a clue why this person broke ties with me. We’d known each other for ages. I still owe her money, as a matter of fact, from where she saved my cat’s life. But when I paid a little under half back recently, I didn’t even get a courteous thank you. She didn’t even have the guts to tell me to my face she was breaking ties… she simply started to avoid me. And after a little bit I decided chasing her wasn’t worth the effort.
This person has been a great friend on some levels and a horrible friend on others. She was there for my pets, she was there as a listening ear, and there are other wonderful things I can say if I could just think of them. On the other hand, I tried playing an online RPG with her once and we had to treat our friendship like a guilty secret because someone else she played with who had never met me decided I had “evil energy” and would have no part of me. When a mutual acquaintance back-stabbed me in favor of social acceptance and outright stole footage I’d paid her to help me film at a field event, my “friend” sided with the acquaintance. And there are other negative things I could say if I could just think of them.
The thing I’d been telling myself for the past few years is that you gotta accept your friends for who and what they are. I still stand by that. But one thing a person should not have to accept is when your “friends” don’t accept you for who you are. Or can’t pay attention enough to try to understand you in the very least.
I’ve been going in circles for the past couple of weeks trying to understand why she would break ties, what on earth I could have done. Maybe it was because I was fed up with how she treated her dog (to the point of being stupidly rude on the phone) and ranted in a “I hate dog lovers” forum. Maybe it was because I owed her money – she’s god-fearing when it comes to money. Perhaps it’s because I don’t believe in the Otherkin movement anymore, not since I went outside and educated myself a little. Finally I decided this morning that maybe it was probably one of my recent posts here, one of the philosophical ones.
Which brings me to the point of my post. This isn’t a post about her, mind you, it’s about the situation. I included personal details about her where I wouldn’t have before to illustrate the entirety of the situation, how I stand. This is where I stand: we all put up with crap from each other. We all accept our true friends for who they are, especially if we are true friends in return. Cowards, brave people, rich people, poor… we all have our quirks. It’s how we make up for those quirks that makes the difference.
In a situation like this, you gotta decide what you’re going to take care of and what’s important to you. You also have to let people make their own decisions. When my daughter did what she did, she did so making up her own mind (despite what people will tell you). I didn’t force her one way or the other – but when she did make her final decision I not only stood by it, I carried on my life as if she meant it. I hear tell that where she is now she doesn’t have a job and complains she doesn’t have a car (you know, that thing I was going to buy for her?) and that it’s too hot to walk to get a job. Which means where she is now, she isn’t being helped to become a responsible adult (I had made it clear to her she would have my help) and can’t even get a ride to and from work. She made her own decision, blamed me for her miserable life, and is all the more set back by it. And I think it was her need to blame that was the catalyst for it all.
Sometimes you just have to take care of yourself and let people dig their own hole. I’ve been getting subtle messages lately that my choice to do just that is an evil one. What kind of horrible mother/friend/wife I am. But you know – I feel I am making the right decision.
If you’re not going to be a true friend, then pack it up and go home. I don’t need you near me to hurt me later.
If you’re willing to lie about and backstab your own mother for instant gratification, then perhaps you need to live apart from her. Maybe she’s doesn’t plan on sending you a Christmas card, either – especially since your location is some big government secret lest her Christmas card have glitter on it or something.
And maybe, just maybe, it’s not evil to care about yourself. Especially when you ponder the situation philosophically to be sure you’re making the right choice first.
Food for thought.