Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Finding My Way

Sometimes being a friend is hard. There is a delicate balance between acceptance and not standing up for oneself, and between standing up for yourself and being demanding. This can be hard when one person is solid and sure and the other isn't. When two people are "in transition" it is even harder.

I was told that I am trying too hard to be a friend. I am now looking at what has changed in the last few months in myself and the situation. It is difficult because I am involved. I am glad that communication is open even if it is painful at times.

In a way I do try too hard. When a lot of the blogs I read closed down I lost contact with some online friends. At the same time some of my offline relationships changed. These situations made me appreciate my friends even more. Maybe I went overboard a bit.

I can be a demanding friend. I don't need all of a person's time. I do like some communication when possible and I prefer a "I'm busy" to being hung up on or having a chat ended unexpectedly. I also don't play games with people and I try to be honest. I tend to be more careful with close friends when needed but also a little playful. I am never rude intentionally.

People change and so do friendships. Sometimes people grow apart and have to adapt. In one of my offline relationships a friend who visits me periodically has been spending more time with a person that moved back to Victoria recently. We had previously been visiting a few hours a month and now there is even less of a visit. My friend is never uses email or IM and seldom phones. Part of me wants to complain and yet the situation hasn't been much better for years. Are we not trying hard enough?

I have often been told I am too conservative at times and don't like change. That is true to a degree. I do like to experiment and try new music and so on. I either like something or stop doing it. I don't do things to be popular or because other people like them. My friends do influence my willingness to experiment however.

When I make new friends I want to find out about them. It becomes a minor obsession and then eases off. I tend to nurture the friendship until I think it can stand on its own. (That's how I envision the process). I like friends to be independent and able to "care for themselves". I try to do this myself but know it can be difficult if one is having problems. When friends need help I help them - as long as they don't want me to babysit them. I have been in a codependent relationship and know how depressing and dysfunctional it can be.

When you empower people and give them the tools to help themselves you free them from dependence on you. That is a good thing. What is hard is facing that they might not "need" you to help them in the future.

If you don't put some effort into a friendship you may find people drifting away from you. This may happen even if you are very close. Maybe I try so hard because I fear losing close friends. Having people you can relax and talk to and feel comfortable with is nice. Keeping them around is an act of self preservation/assurance.

I have walked away from friendships before. In one situation a friend I hadn't seen in a while kept offering me drugs. I hate drugs and that made the strained relationship harder. I never looked back and didn't regret my decision.

There have been one or two other cases but they were also due to major issues. I don't give up on friends for trivial reasons.

So here I am trying to find my way through this latest situation. I want to find that balance that seemed to exist before. I want us to feel comfortable and have a good time. I want to feel welcome and not feel like I have to act a certain way.

I will do what I can. I am not ready to backtrack and become a 'hermit' again. Emotion, even when it hurts, feels good.

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