Recently I have come to the realisation that I, Morrisarian, am in fact not a very good friend. I simply have lost the will to be bothered. When a much loved and wonderful friend invites me for coffee, my heart sinks a little and I attempt to get out of it, despite the knowledge that I will probably have a good time. The same goes for dinner, clubbing, drinks, phone calls and all manner of socialising. Within the past couple of years (and despite these things being my life before), I no longer enjoy the thought of doing them. However, every time I go onto facebook (dreaded facebook!!) and am confronted with silly little pictures about 'fake friends' and the like, especially when posted by formerly close compadres, I feel an awful stab of guilt, and I begin to lose myself in "Why? Why am I not enjoying my friendships like I used to?" And I did so used to.
Soul searching on the subject has been vast and lengthy. The first thing I considered was that perhaps it was because I am in a very happy and settled relationship, due to marry. Had I become one of 'those girls'? The one who only has friends when she is single? Having been one of 'those girls' mates' many, many times before, I had always baulked at the thought of enacting such treatment myself, so in previous relationships and even in this current relationship pre-break, I had always still deeply enjoyed maintaining my close friendships, in fact usually putting them ahead of boyfriend, in spite of perhaps not receiving the same treatment back. So why this time is it not in me anymore? My parents don't really have friendships anymore either, not in a number of years. They are very shy and private, and most of their old friendships ended on such terms that hurt them. Perhaps they have passed on a wariness to me, one that is beginning to make me hold back subconsciously. Maybe now at 25 I am experiencing a premature aging (I do now have to wear glasses, experience migraines, a yearning for pregnancy and a distinct lack of ability to stay awake in the evenings, resulting in a ten pm bedtime!) and the resulting lack of energy is making me lazy. Or maybe I am just a selfish bitch nowadays.
But then I moved away somewhat from self blame and evaluated the people in my friendships past and present. And my instincts flicker with a notion that perhaps, deep down, I know that aside from my partner, most people just aren't that interested in me and my life. Conversations now feel like battlefields to slide in tit bits of what's going on with me as opposed to the other person/people. If a conversation were a set of scales balancing the weight and importance of the participants problems or points of interest, it always seems to tip towards the other person. I have found myself lately cut off at the beginning of a sentence constanrly because the other person or people are so desperate to keep their topic in play. I look at the grim-grinning ghosts from high school past on Facebook or whatever, and all their little cliques are still friends, in spite of the glaringly obvious fact that they were for the most part, smug, hateful bastards. My friends from high school succumbed to the conversation scales long ago. Even though I had lots of interesting gossip, or things I needed to talk about, if it wasn't about high school. Or themselves, no one was listening. And even the friend I have who really listens, who really does laugh at my jokes, who asks my opinion on my own situations, who never judges and who despite having all sorts of hecticness in her own life always makes yours seem like the most interesting, comes with a caviat. In the form of another friend who is attached to her like glue. It is impossible to see my listening friend socially without the other friend, who is a nice person but whom I can't speak as freely in front of. Therefore I don't see this girl whose company I enjoy so that often. And she put up the 'fake friends' thing this morning. Bugger.
But maybe, just maybe, I've had enough. The last time I had a friend whom I saw every day, who I wasn't afraid to argue with, who I told everything to no filter, who shared joy and sadness with me, who was like family, was when I was about 10. Other friends were bullies and users but not her. We were as one. High school came between us somewhat, as she was a little older and I went to a different school. Then life drove a big wedge between us. I should have fought for her. I didn't. Instead I engulfed a tidal wave of friendships that chipped at my soul, that one by one led me to a point where I realised I was truly alone. That none of these people I had put so much faith in were really there nor ever had been. And then, once I realised that, I began to feel happy for the first time in years. I moved in with my partner and stepdaughter. I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. I didn't really *need* friends.
So now that I am happy I find a lot of old millstones are trying to see me socially again. I feel sad about it but I don't bite, as I have learned that trying to make others happy can make you very unhappy, and I already know the balance in which those friendships will weigh. I do still have friends of course, some I still watch on facebook enjoying their lives, which makes me smile. Others I attempt to see socially or keep in touch with, even if grudgingly so they can get what they need to off their chests.
However, I have found one true friend, the best mate I had been yearning and searching for all these years. That person is me. And as I watch my little stepdaughter struggle with friendships, as she has now reached that age where my troubles began, I hope one day I can teach that to her I guess.
- Hold On To Your Friends?