Recently, my view of certain friends has started changing. As lights begin to shine at different angles previously unused, I started noticing that a few friends whom I believed to be very close are not quite so.
As previously mentioned, I value friendships very strongly, eclipsing the value I have for my own blood relatives, therefore, in a more fragile state of mind, this would have been earthshattering. Thankfully, that’s not really the case these days. Sure, I still do retain a certain level of dependability, but as the days go by, I’m being forced to learn to depend on myself, which has a lot to do with the topic of this blog.
Though I’m sure we are all at fault at one point or another for being this person (and I am including myself here, folks), it’s always a little rough to discover that one friend who only talks to you when they are in need of something. The one friend who only contacts you when they require a favor and who are otherwise completely absent from your life. I had the misfortune to discover that one person whom I considered to be very close is that type of friend.
Hitherto, part of my personality was to cater to my loved ones. I would do as much as I could to please them, in hopes that they’d find some use for me and not forget me. I strongly believed that if I didn’t do what was asked of me, they simply wouldn’t want to be my friend. I felt like I had to constantly prove my worth to them and if it meant sacrificing myself in some way, so be it, as long as they’d continue to be my friend. A logic based on a lifetime of low self-esteem.
As I slowly began to build towards a healthier view of myself, I started to push myself to be more independent and self-assured. And it’s been working… for the most part. And then one day, this close friend decided to ask me for a favor. A ridiculous favor that felt exploitative of my passive and servile nature in the past. That one gesture shifted the paradigm of our friendship. We had a discussion and I explained how I felt like I was being taken advantage. And then, almost immediately, things changed. This person with whom I thought I can talk to at any given moment, with whom I could share my intimate thoughts and feelings, whom I thought genuinely cared about me… became that person described above. I mean, they were already likely that person, but I never saw it until that aspect of our friendship was eliminated. It just seemed like once that person felt like they couldn’t make any requests, there was nothing left to talk about.
I pluralized the word “friend” intentionally when I started this blog. I was hesitant at first to make mention of this particular situation mostly because it’s far less tangible, and far more abstract. It’s not quite succinct and falls into a gray area where things aren’t quite clear.
In my overeagerness to cater to a friend, I found myself assimilating interests… interests that I found that I quite disliked. As the years went by, I stopped assimilating their interests and began brandishing my own, in hopes that they’d reciprocate, which they didn’t and I can’t blame them for it. They are their own person and just because I’m willing to express interest in something I don’t like, doesn’t mean they will do the same. (I’m usually the fucked up one in any given relationship, something I’ve just recently realized.) Regardless, once I stopped sharing in their interests, we drifted.
Recently, I observed this person become a different sort of person when facing someone with identical interests. And I saw the person they became. The things they did and the things they said. They wouldn’t have acted like that around any of their other friends who don’t share the same likes and passions. In fact, it’s quite the opposite of how they would act around other friends. In a weird way, that friend became the overeager, obsequious person I used to be. I saw that friend doing some incredibly nice things that they wouldn’t even consider for their other friends. Now, this isn’t necessarily something that’s wrong or bad. It’s human nature to enjoy the company of someone that shares your same likes, but I couldn’t quite understand the profound change in personality and the glaring difference in their treatment each friend. It’s just something that stuck out to me. It’s something I can’t quite grasp, but that’s not the point.
I bring these two friends up because, despite how different the circumstances are, they are both essentially conditional friendships. Both friendships require something for it to work for them. One required favors carried out in exchange for friendship, while the other required you share their interests for them to really give a damn.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m not guilty of doing the same things. We all require something in a friendship in order for it to endure. It’s understandable. Why continue a friendship that you get nothing out of? But it really shouldn’t be based on a specific thing… a specific condition for you to be a certain person.
Or I could just be whining… about first world problems. I don’t know. There are just some things that I can’t comprehend and because of that, I just need to examine it with a large lens. And if it’s something as important to me as friendship, it’s going to be with an especially large one.
Overall, my perspective on these friendships has shifted. I don’t believe that they’re worth ending, but it would definitely require a refocusing to understand them better. In the end, I still deeply care for both of these individuals. Admittedly, it’s a little disheartening, but I’ll