TOTD 1/22: Defining Friendship

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Lexicus
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:52 pm

Re: TOTD 1/22: Defining Friendship

Post by Lexicus » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:23 pm

Synsensa wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:43 pm
I'm guilty of this, I think. A lot of the people I described in my OP would probably say they were emotionally invested in me, and I... don't really share it. For most people in my life, I'm completely fine if I don't hear from them again for several months. I'm fine with just ending a conversation after a few minutes, and I'm not particularly inquisitive about their identity or their opinions unless they need help.

I get away with this by never talking about myself in 1-on-1 conversations with most people. When we do talk, it's always about them or a common interest. They usually don't notice the discrepancy and it gets me the label of good listener or free psychologist. It works for me, but I imagine these people would feel as bad as you do if they caught on that I was intentionally putting subtle walls up so they couldn't get any closer to me.

I share a lot more on CFC and here than I do with people I'm meant to be friends with.
This is an interesting point because I actually do have a core of friends, from my hometown, that I don't worry about being out of touch with for a while, because I know I can just hit them up again (and occasionally I do hear from some of them on their initiative). Then I have an inner core who I reach out to and they reach out to me regularly. The problem is that I am very fortunate to have one of those friends in DC. I moved from my hometown to here and have found forming any real relationships to be exceedingly difficult. The one good friend I do have here, I have because we happen to work together. Another of my coworkers is a friend, but a shallow one - we aren't friends on the level where she would even ask me to do some of the things that Tim mentioned upthread.

It's also interesting that you share a lot more on CFC than with "people you're meant to be friends with" (just putting in quotes because I'm not exactly sure what you mean by it). For me, it's the opposite - I'm generally more "intimate" with the people I'm close to in meatspace. I do sometimes share things on the internet that I wouldn't share with people in real life, but I generally play cards closer to the chest with (relatively) anonymous internet folk. I say relatively because of course most spaces on the internet are only quasi-anonymous, this being a good example of a space where we don't know each other (mostly) in real life, but we do have consistent 'characters' that we've built up over time, and we're pretty familiar with each others' online characters.
People don't reach out to me anymore, but I think that's because I kept saying 'no' to their offers. They would reach out and invite me to things, but they would be things that I could not do. Even if I wanted nothing more than to go or participate, I would not be able to. After a while they stopped bothering. At first I thought this was a 'me' problem. After thinking on it, though, I realize that the only realistic avenue in a scenario like this is to invite people to things they can do instead of things you want to do. This is something most people don't grok, in my experience.

When I invite someone to an activity, I try to make sure it's something that everyone involved can actually do and derive benefit from. For many others, it seems the focus is instead on, "What do I want to do? Is there anyone I can invite to do it with me?"

That you say you have no emotional investment in these people makes sense to me because my mark of lacking emotional investment is precisely claiming you can't do something that the person invites you to do, without then making a counteroffer that works for you. In my experience when people do this it basically means they don't want to take their relationship with you any further, whether that relationship be friendship or something else.

Some people will be genuine and just tell you up front they aren't interested (full disclosure: I am not one of those people). Most will simply come up with excuses not to hang out, over and over, and hope that eventually the fact that they aren't making any counter-invites sinks in.
Last edited by Lexicus on Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Valka D'Ur
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Re: TOTD 1/22: Defining Friendship

Post by Valka D'Ur » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:35 pm

Synsensa wrote:People don't reach out to me anymore, but I think that's because I kept saying 'no' to their offers. They would reach out and invite me to things, but they would be things that I could not do. Even if I wanted nothing more than to go or participate, I would not be able to. After a while they stopped bothering. At first I thought this was a 'me' problem. After thinking on it, though, I realize that the only realistic avenue in a scenario like this is to invite people to things they can do instead of things you want to do. This is something most people don't grok, in my experience.
My mother would do crap like that. She'd tell me about some family gathering and that her aunts would love to see me because they miss me so much (really? If they missed me that much they could have called or dropped by, since I've had the same phone number for nearly 43 years). Then she would make it clear that it was in an out of the way location, with no place for me to sleep and uneven ground that would be dangerous for me (I have a balance problem, which is why I use a walker outside my home). And when I'd tell her I couldn't go, she'd start ranting about how awful it was that I didn't want to visit my own family, and never mind the cats, they could fend for themselves for a week or I could get a neighbor to feed them.

Um, no. Not gonna let just anyone into my home. My mother had trustworthy neighbors. I didn't then, and don't now. There's exactly one person in this building I would trust to look after Maddy in an emergency (I offered to do the same for her cat if she ever needed an emergency cat sitter). She's not a neighbor anymore, having moved 3 floors up. As for "visiting my own family"... my own family at this point consists of my dad and my cat. And maybe my mom's youngest sister, since she's the only one of them who has ever reached out in any sort of genuine way. The rest of them can go to hell. I don't consider them family anymore, and haven't for decades. Certainly not since they all knew my mother's cancer had come back and she was dying, and I never knew anything about it until I got an email saying, "We expected this. Your mother died yesterday."


Friends... hm. I used to have a circle of friends with whom to attend SF conventions. I'm still FB friends with most of them, though we haven't met in person for well over a decade. But we really don't communicate that much. I think the last time was when one of them wished me happy birthday on FB. I don't travel anymore (most of them are in Calgary), and at this point if I ever did decide to attend another convention, I'd just go alone. I used to be the one who made all the arrangements - booking the hotel room, keeping everyone in the loop of what was going on when, making sure everyone had directions so they wouldn't get lost (try to get to the Palliser Hotel by car after dark, with bizarre one-way lane changes; it was much simpler when I took the Greyhound, got off at the downtown depot, and walked)... whatever. I phoned one evening to talk to one of them and her mother said, "They're all out to dinner, I thought you'd be with them." Turns out they'd been having monthly dinners there for a long time and not one of them ever told me. When I asked about it, I was told, "We didn't think you could afford it."

Well, that's likely true. I don't have expensive tastes in restaurants and the thought of spending $$$ on just one meal is insane. But at least they could have asked just once. I shouldn't have had to hear it like that from the mother. I'm the one who introduced this group to each other back in 1982, so that should have counted for something.

Anyway, these people don't do forums and I don't do FB (apparently I was added as a friend even before I had an account, so that's the only reason I made one; I hardly ever use it) and ordinary email seems to be a foreign concept. The last time I reached out via email was the year that the flooding was so bad; I wanted to know if everyone was okay. The answer I got back was thanks, everyone's fine, a lot has been happening and you've missed some really good stuff, phone me sometime.

And I figured... no. You phone me, for a change. The fact that no further emails or calls came tells me that the circle of friends has been downgraded to a circle of acquaintances.


And don't you just love the invitations to gatherings that have a dress code that's outside your budget, and the person who issues the invitation knows damn well that you don't own formal clothes and can't afford to buy any? An ex-SCA friend did that once, and then she acted hurt when I told her I couldn't go.
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