Monday, January 14, 2008

Relationship Injustice Part 9 - Friendships?

It's been quite a while since I've written anything in this series. Most people will just click away from these "heavy" topics, but sometimes there is insight from the insane. For once, this entry in the series doesn't necessarily just address serious, romantic relationships, but general friendships as well. Some people I know might consider this a shot across the bow, and if so, then let it be, but I try to keep things as impersonal as possible in these venues. Emphasis added to the word "try". I stick to my beliefs, try to be a good person (more emphasis) and if people I know can't handle that, then so be it. There isn't much I can do, but as usual, people I thought were caring, giving friends tend to drop like flies in the Sahara.

To be the good little school boy and pose the thesis right away, I'll wager that so many, if not all, of our relationships cater to our own human sense of selfishness. Now that's a nihilistic, pessimistic way of looking at things, but really - every relationship gives us something, and we want more and more of it - be it that rush of hormones during a mushy moment, a few extra laughs from a friend, a favor, or whatever.

Think of it - say you get a voice mail from a couple friends saying they'll be out, and want you to come along. What are the thought processes? You might relax, you might catch up on gossip, you might get a few drinks, etc. All for you. Only rarely do we truly do things because we are worried about one's well being, just for their sake. I know that's horrible to say, but really - most often, hanging out with friends is a self-serving activity - not that I can offer a truly altruistic alternative reason for seeing friends, or spending hours on the phone.

In a similar pessimistic train of thought, one could say that a heavy romance is merely to either "get some", "make out", show off the latest arm jewelry/trophy mate, or get that endorphin rush from being in love. Again - inherently selfish - technically speaking, it is. One might think that by this logic, or lack thereof, there is nothing good in a close relationship. Not true. Giving of one's self, for any occasion, purely out of concern, "love", and desire for that person to be happy - that's the trick. I'm not saying that anyone that meets their new #1 should empty their proverbial pockets and give all worldly possessions to the new beloved, but always be mindful of giving versus taking. Friendship's benefits should not be one's anathema.

I won't live above my own tenets in any of my current views. Sometimes I don't call someone for months, then when it might be a riot to hang out, I call. Probably selfish of me, but then again, I've tried to be mindful of that, and have exposed my belly enough times to call and check in with an old friend for no other reason than to see how they are. Usually such maneuvers are greeted with the "are you nuts" response, and the whole thing decomposes from there. I don't get those calls too often, it's a damn shame. Maybe we should all make more of an effort to give a shit about the people we claim are friends and just call to see how they are. Some do, some don't, some will, some won't. As I used to say, when people stop calling, they either think your dead, useless, or both. Don't be either one! Count those true friends on one hand and hope that all five fingers are extended at the end of the census.


Anonymous said...

Joan Jett said it best -- You don't lose when you lose fake friends.

Ellie said...

Yes exactly. There is no happiness in having or in getting, only in giving. Each time we give up something for the sake of a friend, we take another baby step on the path to true happiness. So be happy and make others happy!

Professor Twee said...

Babies and small children are motivated by pure selfishness -- they want something, so they cry until they get it. They lie even when caught red-handed to avoid punishment. As children grow older, they are motivated by selfishness, guilt, fear or a sense of duty. Is there such a thing as true altruism? People say, "I volunteer because it makes me feel good" -- but that is selfishness, they are doing it because feeling good is pleasurable. Or they say, "I donate to give back to the community" -- they feel guilty for what they have. They visit Grandma in the nursing home out of a sense of duty. They don't commit crimes for fear of imprisonment. We are savage, base creatures. At least with a dog, it's on the level -- you feed it food and it feeds your ego with its "unconditional love" and "master worship."

Relationships and sex are about power, but we will save that for another lesson.

Anonymous said...

Do unto others. That's really how it works.

The Vapid Voice said...

I'll save my response to the professor for the next post. As for the Joan Jett comment, too true. Ellie, well said, thanks for the constant support. As for the "do unto others" beatitude, barf...I've bought that bridge one too many times. Everybody takes, I've taken but at least now I try to avoid it. I'm no more tired of being everyone's psychologist than anyone might have been for me. Punch-line is that too many have walked away for stupid reasons, and that just proves all too much about what I was worth. Let them walk, I'll be standing in the same place.

ellie said...

If a friend walks away, they were never really a friend in the first place. Don't let this determine your self-worth, just keep standing in the same place and realize those so-called friends aren't deserving of YOUR friendship.

fagedaboudit said...

How about do unto others **as** they do unto you? A middle ground, moderate approach. Don'cha think?
I have used this since my late adolescent years and it works for me partly because I really don't care what the "peanut gallery" think, (when they actually bother to *before* they speak), or say.
They ae not your friends, and seek to be your expense!
There will be exceptions when one of their ilk crosses the line and I either purposely ignore them to the point they make an ass out of themselves just for attention, or, for my own entertainment I scare the begeezus out of them with a calculated and purposeful, "over reaction". Most of the time they will drop it at the ignore stage. The key here is the knowledge that they are not my friends, never have been, never will be. They are acquaintances at best.
True friends in life are few and far in between. Most people can count them on one hand over their entire lifetime. I have been fortunate enough to have slightly exceeded that in my lifetime so far, truly a blessing.
My true friends have backed me at the roughest of times and vice-versa
They did not hesitate to straighten me out when I was self destructing,(rare), or, crossing a line, (rarer still). I have done the same for them.
Fortunately for me, I trusted that they were acting in my interests and theirs. No one wants to unnecessarily lose a good friend, no matter which side of the "line" your on. The key is to actually consider what they are saying and why they are saying it. Remember, I'm talking about true friends, **not** the peanut gallery.
There may be times when we don't speak for months, life is busy!
Nobody takes it personally. Once in a while it can become a pemanent arrangement. No faults, just a divergence of interests.
It happens.
Friends will come and go in life. Some may return some may not.
It's enemies that truly accumulate.
Choose your friends wisely, don't call somebody a friend that is not and be careful who you publicly call an enemy. If you don't give a shit about them let your silence get that message across without the drama, without the acrimony.

Thinkaboudit, you will know this to be true.

Oh by the way, for those who wonder about the nickname, it's
I grew up in an Italian American neighborhood.

ellie said...

In this day in age the "do unto others" beatitude needs modification. It should be, "Do unto others, after they show you they are worthy".