Monday, May 12, 2008
Why do friendships fall away as we get older? Perhaps maybe life just becomes too complicated. Or maybe it always was more complicated – and we just didn’t want to admit it.
Long ago, in a land far away, I was a young attorney of 25 living with my first husband in a big, beautiful house in the suburbs. My husband was tall, handsome and successful. My job was fun, challenging and financially rewarding. We were secure; we were young; and every day on the California coast was clear, warm and sunny. Just one problem: I was unhappy.
I didn’t really know why, mind you. I generally supposed I was suffering the pathetic self-involved malaise of the young and spoiled; and maybe that was all; but, to be honest, there were also real underlying problems. My mom was very ill with an incurable case of pancreatic cancer. My husband, though seemingly very sweet and totally devoted, had odd habits and would – from time to time – disappear for hours without sensible explanation. (I later found out that he was having an affair with an intern in his office, Bill Clinton style. Classy. I didn’t know those details at the time - - but what spouse can’t correctly guess at the gist of such things?)
I felt guilty being down; but couldn’t help it. In truth, the suburbs seemed sterile and depressing. I missed the city and the friends I’d left behind there. I spent way too much time wondering about all of the other parts of life that I was failing to explore while I sat in my little office each day, cranking out formulaic briefs and memos for cases that no one cared about.
There was, thankfully, one bright spot. Shortly after we wed, my husband’s best friend Marc came to visit. He had been practicing law in New York, but his fiance wanted to move to California. So he moved out a few months ahead of her to find a job and a place to live. As a practical matter, though, for those first few months, he lived with us. Oh, Rabbit – what a joy this turned out to be! Marc was funny, adorable, and painfully charming. We liked all of the same books, songs, movies and art – we were on the same wavelength every day. We were the two people who would keep talking long after everyone else at the party had left or passed out on the couch. There were times when we stayed awake all night talking. He was the (completely platonic) spark in my day.
Soon enough, his fiancé moved out and soon the four of us were spending all of our spare time together. Movies, concerts, long walks, drinking, traveling, philosophizing or loafing – we were inseparable. My husband and I were the only friends who attended their brief wedding in Vegas. It was a peaceful and magical time. I was still burdened with the sadness of what I described above, but something about this special friendship with Marc made it all more bearable. Here was someone, at last, who at least understood why I felt as I did – about work, the suburbs, everything. Someone whose company made each day sunnier. Yes, I’d had plenty of boyfriends in college and law school; I had even found one that I loved well enough to marry; but Marc was the first man that I really felt “got” me. Before I met him, I suppose I didn't even know such a feeling or connection was truly possible. (As I say: I was young.)
Then, one New Year’s Eve 2003, everything changed color. My husband and I were hosting a big party at our house and nearly everyone was drunk, as the holiday requires. I was feeling blue and Marc was doing his best to cheer me with his usual humor and charm. Then, and I’ll still never understand exactly how this happened, but I remember that he said something unusually kind to me – something that suggested that he couldn’t stand to see me sad because he believed I was the most amazing woman he had ever met. Our eyes met and – I stopped breathing. Suddenly, and without fair warning – I was in love. And, with no words – gestures – nor anything more from him, I knew that he felt the same.
Mind you, Rabbit: there was never anything physical between us. Not on that night -- nor at any time thereafter. There were no stolen moments of passion; no frank confessions of our feelings. Even if left alone for hours on end, we never so much as held hands. We discussed that we might have liked to do so; but were both focused on our honoring our existing commitments and that never changed, even as the feelings between us deepened. We continued on and I used to think that anyone with eyes could see what was happening; but we kept ourselves in denial, if only because no one had the guts to imagine facing the trauma of doing anything differently.
Time passed. My mother died. I separated from my husband and filed for divorce. It was the right move, but still a trauma. I lost the ability to concentrate at work. My mind started to falter and buckle on me. I was fragile and hadn't yet developed the tools that one needs to cope with life's inevitable series of challenges. The most common and reasonably to be anticipated tragedies in life -- death of a parent, failure of a relationship -- left me overwhelmed. I finally hit a low point and I remember feeling that I understood why some people just gave up on life. At the lowest point, when I really couldn’t imagine continuing, I was sitting on the floor, knife in hand, talking to a suicide counselor who was begging me to think of one thing that would make tomorrow worth trying. I could only think of Marc’s face; but, at that moment, it was enough. That was literally the low point of my life. The good news is: it was all uphill from there.
After that, I moved back to the city to follow my dreams. I changed careers -- made new friends -- traveled the world -- happily remarried and had a fantastic little kid. It couldn't have turned out better, truthfully. My life truly turned around. These were very happy years. I never talked with Marc or my ex-husband again; although, surprisingly, I did hear from Marc’s wife from time to time. Their life sounded good: they still lived in the same pretty little small town and had two sweet and wonderful children. Everything, truthfully, seemed to work out for the best all around. Resilience!
But you can see where this is going, can’t you Rabbit? Here we are, 15 years later, and I suddenly receive an email from Marc, my long-lost best friend Common sense says to avoid opening it, but curiosity gets the best of me. We begin to correspond. He is lonely and needing someone to talk with – much the same way that I had felt when first I met him 15 years prior. His life is good; but he has no truly close friends and his best friend – his wife – has been seeing other people. Our situations, in a way, have flipped; and I see the opportunity to repay an old debt – to lift his spirits in the way he used to lift mine -- and we begin talking every day. It is very fun, of course. I won’t deny that it brings me intense joy.
But who can resist wanting to know the real answer about everything that happened back in the day? Of course he raises the subject (perhaps the real reason that he wrote in the first place?) And this time, with so much time and space between us, I see no reason to lie about my feelings. Yes, 15 years ago I loved him and I’m happy now to confess it. He feels the same and remembers every moment of our past friendship with the same fondness – albeit with added tension and some regret – that I do. Needless to say, we are both relieved and feel that a hole in our hearts has been mended. It is comforting and warm.
Until, of course, the inevitable (?) happens. His wife taps into his email account and reads all of our letters. She is hurt and angry at the thought that he had feelings of love for me during the early days of their marriage. Even more angry that he should reach out again all these years later to find me. Marc tries very hard to argue for days that he and I should continue to talk, but I am skeptical – afraid of causing more damage. Eventually, it becomes too much for both of us; but he is the first one to draw a line in the sand and say that, until he and his wife can resolve their issues, we should probably stop talking. I agree. That was one week ago and we haven’t spoken since. Somehow, despite all good intentions, I have lost one of my oldest and dearest friends – for the second time.
So, my question is: Rabbit, what have I done wrong? How did I lose such a dear friend – not once, but twice? Was I wrong to be honest? Should I have realized that my feelings still had the potential to cause harm? Would it have been safer to take them with me to the grave?
I had such naïve hopes this time, Rabbit. That our friendship could be conventional and without complication. I really thought there was a hope we were heading in that direction. That our spouses and children could someday be friends with each other. That our family could see their family twice a year and grill hamburgers in the backyard. That at least, minimally, we could enjoy each other’s company. Talk about books and movies. Talk about kids or the weather. It wouldn’t really matter. Given how challenging it is find a good friend at this tricky middling stage of life – someone who really knows or understands you and is going through all of the same things – it could have been very fulfilling.
For what it is worth: I have told my husband this whole story. He was very kind and supportive. ven supports my friendship with Marc and he wishes that everything could have somehow worked out differently for us. He has been great about trying to lift my sprits. He is, quite generally, awesome. I love him and -- just for the record -- have no intention of ever leaving him.
But I also wonder this, Rabbit: is there a flavor of love that should or must be ignored and written off as irrelevant?
Dear Twice Lost,
Well, first I have to admit to a prejudice against corresponding with long-lost-friends/ lovers/ wannabe lovers out of the blue, fishing for a taste of intrigue, pondering what might have been, revealing true feelings, revisiting the past, etc. Even though these things might start off on pretty solid ground – “Hey old friend! What’s happening with you these days?” -- both parties are always clear on the point where it slips onto shaky territory. “How did you feel back then? Wow, I always thought that…”
You start walking down that path, and things get weird fast. We all google old boyfriends and wonder what they’re doing, without thinking twice about it. And every now and then, maybe someone contacts you out of the blue, and it sends you back to how you felt a long time ago. Things always seem unduly romantic when you look back at them from 15 years later – or unduly tragic, or unduly mysterious. They’re larger than life, particularly when your life consists of wiping shit off a small person’s ass several times a day.
I think that when your life is stable and predictable, there’s some part of you that wants to be back in that unpredictable, rarefied space where a look makes your heart drop, where you feel powerful and alive and full of lust for someone you can/can’t/shouldn’t have. When you make mundane decisions and complete mundane tasks for a family every day, occasionally your subconscious mind, at the very least, wants to float free in a heavy, romantic, swooning, exotic, youthful mire again.
So your eyes met, and you stopped breathing. That’s how you described the all-important moment when you both knew you were in love. See, these are exactly the sorts of relationships that we tend to get nostalgic and romantic about: Platonic relationships that never went further, affairs that ended prematurely, even people we always had crushes on, way back when. You’re craving that one split second BEFORE you fuck the guy, and nothing more. Most of us are hung up on that moment, thanks to being flooded with its supreme significance through every minute of our waking hours on earth. But keep in mind, just two seconds later, you’re breathing again while Marc fumbles with his boxer briefs, and you’re worried about that scar on your back. It doesn’t get much better than the minute your eyes meet, and you know. That’s the pinnacle, but it’s just one tiny moment, blown out of proportion. If you’d actually dated Marc, you’d know that he was careless with people, tended toward self-obsession, and farted incessantly in bed at night.
And personally, I have to say that I distrust the man or woman who goes out looking to find old friends or lovers and ends up waxing nostalgic via email night after night as his/her marriage falls to pieces. That’s the easy road, a distraction from the hard work of sticking with someone, or even deciding not to. In my opinion, if the other person clearly isn’t telling their spouse, that’s a red flag. If they’re obviously in love with the idea of you and have no idea what a bossy bitch you can be, you’re just an escapist fantasy dressed up in sensitive, intellecutal sheep’s clothing. It’s nice to get verbose, heartfelt emails from anyone, but sometimes you really have to look at the whole thing in the cold, hard light of day. In many ways, you’re as glorified and imaginary as someone he met in a chat room.
Yes, you bared your souls, way back when. And what’s the answer, break off all connection to old friends and old lovers? Probably not. But when the correspondence starts to feel even a tiny bit sneaky or addictive, it’s probably not all that good for you or him, since you’re both married to other people.
If you mention your spouse but the other person doesn’t like talking about him (or about his spouse), if there’s a lot of “If only we knew!” and “Too bad the timing was wrong!” and rehashing of those one or two magic moments, if you’re laying out your life philosophies like you just started dating or just fell in love, then you’re whipping up intrigue. You’re manufacturing mystery. You’re stirring up a cheap imitation of romance. You’re wanking – not waxing – nostalgic.
And look, we’re all human, and our souls want what they want, no matter what our hearts and minds are committed to. Even if you cut all contact with ex-crushes or dangerous strangers out of your life, you still might go to bed at night and have a dream about fucking George Clooney. (If you’re lucky, that is. If you’re unlucky, it might be the mailman, with his unsightly patches of body hair and bad teeth.) No one is perfect and pure, not even Jimmy Carter. The best thing for all parties is to keep it to yourself. When people get online and try to get some reassurance or some charge from exlovers or excrushes – it’s an act of fantasy, in my opinion. It’s not about a real connection. Dressing it up like it’s this whirlwind, magical thing is wishful thinking, and it’s sort of self-indulgent and it probably just means that he needs more from his wife, or needs more from his life, and you want to make some change as well. It’s probably not a big change – you’re happy now, after all. Maybe you just want to share your thoughts and ideas with old friends – just not this particular old friend.
He may be the absolute greatest, but I doubt that he’s really, truly all that important in the big scheme of things, and I don’t think that losing your friendship with him deserves all that much mourning. It’s sexually charged for him, he’s lonely, the whole thing operates in his life in a totally different way than it operates in yours. It’s nice that your husband is trusting and recognizes your need to connect with an old friend, but Marc isn’t even a reasonable or safe person for you to befriend, for the sake of your marriage, even if his wife were ok with it. Avoiding screwing up your marriage is partially a matter of avoiding situations where the lines are blurry. If your husband said to you, “I’m going to have lunch with my friend M. She truly understands me. We never slept together, but I always wanted to. Oh well. I hope I can be there for her as she’s going through this tough time.” I think you’d laugh in his face, then hide his car keys.
Your soul can want what it wants. It can want George Clooney or the mailman or Marc. But you have choices about which fantasies you feed and which you wave goodbye to. So you’ll never get to know what it would be like to be with Marc. And now you don’t get to share anything with him, and you don’t get the charge of seeing his name in your In Box (Honestly, sometimes I think that’s half of the appeal – breaking up the monotony of your work day and interrupting the mundane realm with something that has the illusion of romantic divinity.)
Buy the book “Soul Mates” by Thomas Moore and read it – he writes very convincingly and poetically about the crazy shit that our souls crave as we get older, things that have nothing to do with our everyday lives. Before I read that book, I didn’t even like the word “soul” all that much – too New Agey and, well, middle-aged-sounding. But it’s a really great book about figuring out what forces are working on you when you’re in crisis, and finding ways of feeding your innermost needs and desires without toppling your entire apple cart to do it (in most cases, anyway).
Moore is pretty open and loose about why we want the things we want, and his whole tone is much less dismissive than mine, so you’ll like it a lot better than this response. Like I said, I’m prejudiced about this stuff. I feel strongly that people wander into dangerous territory all too often, when really, all they want is some way of connecting with someone outside of their family or marriage, or some way of expressing some part of themselves that’s been latent for too long. Having a marriage and a kid doesn’t mean you stop wanting to be a person in the world who’s recognized and has her own power and her own desires and ideas. And as women, we have to face the fact that we go from being the most electrifying presence in the room to being ignored completely almost overnight. I still feel great now, sure, but I’ve watched my mom go from being flirted with everywhere to being treated like a clown or dismissed outright without even opening her mouth. Women have a fucking hard road, aging-wise – it’s totally unhinged and unjust and downright creepy, really.
But I think it’s smart to look at these things early, and ask ourselves what we want to continue to do, the things that sustain us and make us feel like vital, important and full of possibility. Jesus, I’m talking like a really annoying yoga instructor now!
You know what I really think? I think that the attention of some married man from your past is beneath you. Yes, I know it’s just a friendship. But come on. He’s just some guy. If I or one of your girlfriends met him, we’d say, “Oh, him? Whatever.” He could be George Clooney and we’d feel that way. The fact that some guy gets hard when he thinks about you – and let’s not dress it up as much more than that, because no matter how wonderful and enduring your friendship was, it wasn’t important until he got lonely and his wife slept around. The thing with Marc, it’s overrated. What you really want is to feel that you’re hot shit, regardless of what anyone else thinks. You want to feel important, and charming, and pretty. You want to have all that energy back, the energy to write long, long emails about your beliefs and your ideas. You can write those things to your husband. You can write them on a blog. You can write them in a journal. If you made time to write long emails, you can make time for something else – long emails for you. Because this is about doing something for you, being who you are outside of a mother and wife, expressing yourself and putting yourself out there and feeling like you’re making your mark. If you do these things for you, then they aren’t an escape, they aren’t addictive or compulsive, they help to sustain you, they strengthen your confidence and your sense of self.
This isn't about Marc. It's not about an affair. It's not about friendship, or helping out an old friend. It's not about your marriage. It's simply an existential crisis. Hurray! Existential crises are fun and legitimately romantic and full of possibility, and - bonus - they don't wreck your home life or anyone else's. You're at the beginning of a new path. All you have to do is get to know yourself better, and make some new, fresh decisions about how you want to spend your time, and organize your thoughts in new ways. You're ready to try new things, to get stronger, and to feel more alive.
Friday, May 09, 2008
SHINE THE SILVER AND THROW OUT THE GOLD
Sometimes when I look back on my glacial maturing process, I excuse it away by saying, my parents had eighteen years in which they systematically fucked me up, and that I simply needed as many years un-fucking myself. If you do the math, Rabbit, that landed me squarely in my mid-thirties. Now I’m in my early forties and in the interim I have gone thru this shedding process you speak of in your latest posting concerning the “disappearance” of -- presumably -- long-term friendships.
I belong to a group of about a dozen and a half friends and spouses from college who’ve been together for as much as twenty-five years now. We’ve celebrated that friendship in hundreds of ways, year after year with engagement parties, weddings, divorces, religious-conversions, births, hospitalizations, deaths, gay comings-out, activist demonstrations, at New Year’s weekends, on ski-trips, in car accidents, one-on-ones, in crushes, as roommates, at goings-away, returns, promotions, the whole array of life’s experiences. The longevity of this group has been an amazing feat, but now, as I look back, it was probably due in large part to the ways in which we filled out certain positive and negative familiar (and familial) roles.
It’s a highly successful, largely creative group. Between us there are a couple self-made millionaires, philanthropists, news producers, film directors, book writers, book publishers, television actors, professional songwriters, and movie professionals. On any given week we have sought the emotional and professional generosity of the others, and have received it in boatloads (WARNING: Don’t send your kid to a cheap school that doesn’t boast a wide mix of social classes). It is also a boozy, intimidating, dark-humored group, whose certain members can be vicious, biting and cruel. We would all make the perfect subjects of a book about how a particular college group stood and/or didn’t stand the trials & tribulations of time.
Over the two-dozen plus years many of us spent a lot of time re-enacting with each other bad relationships with our alcoholic, emotionally arrested or otherwise undeveloped parents. Personally, I spent a lot of time fretting over this group’s often withholding or seeming disapproving opinion, not ever realizing that it wasn’t they who’d moved away from me -- in little sub-cliques within the group -- but that without a meaningful event I had grown apart from some of them. I simply hadn’t had the inner strength and courage it took to make an obvious break. I was needy and unmet.
However, over the last few years eventually I did. It helped that in that time I also moved, picking up a lot of long-lost and fresh blood, got married and inherited many quality friends from my wife. Wonderful people; the kind of people I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy outside of my original little group. Smart, funny, generous, open, curious, supportive, enthusiastic, soulful people. People you can get really excited about as you imagine a bright future spilled out before you. It’s hard not to compare the two.
If I look back on it honestly, I can see myself desperately searching for a deep connection I was never going to get; a repeat of my relationship to my family. It was so nice when some of those relationships -- not all -- eventually evolved into just the thing I was searching for -- perhaps too eagerly -- all along. It was just as well that some of them fell away. My wife describes this dynamic in her own life with long-haul relationships, many from college. She says she thinks those people with whom relationships didn’t evolve were the ones where they’d froze their impression of her when she was struggling and then an adjustment was never made to make room for the newly emerged person. Perhaps respect was lost in all the listening that was endured. Perhaps it was easier to slap a simple label on it. Perhaps the evolution that did occur disrupted the pecking order, who knows. I’m sure it’s something caveman. Either way, it is what it Is - life. And, what’s more, it’s not over yet. What I mean to say is, I’m thrilled to have made it through my struggles (with more to come) and to have arrived here beside this wonderful person.
You’ve heard it before, Rabbit, from your mother probably, but it bears repeating, because it’s no less true thirty years later: sometimes, perhaps, we simply need new friends.
What do you think, Rabbit?
New friends, new friends. I have trouble wrapping my brain around the concept of new friends until I meet someone new I really like and want to spend more time with, which doesn’t happen all that often these days. So, while I agree in principle (and certainly the new friends you describe sound solid), there’s something distasteful to me about the whole concept of comparing new friends to old friends, whether as silver vs. gold or as people who don’t meet your needs and don’t inspire you vs. people who do.
Maybe that’s because, ideally, new friends should really have nothing at all to do with old friends, just like developing a little crush on your secretary shouldn’t come to bear on a long, happy marriage. Of course new friends -- who never saw you through your most achingly stupid and immature times, who never heard you blurt out something angry in a weak moment, who haven’t come to understand you as a complicated, flawed, but well-intentioned human being over the years – are always going to seem much more generous and easygoing and reasonable than old friends, just as you’re going to appear to be much more generous and easygoing and reasonable to them than you do to people who’ve known you since you were a total wreck. And while it’s absolutely true that there are those old friends who will always put you in a tiny box of your worst flaws, or they’ll be disappointed that you’re not a drunk loudmouth anymore (so boring!) or they’ll just annoy the fuck out of you with the same old problems and obsessions and short-sightedness that they’ve had for years, a lot of these stumbling blocks can be circumnavigated or even addressed along the way, with enough mutual trust and a forgiving enough attitude.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that, while I know exactly what you mean when you describe outgrowing a group dynamic that’s condescending or aggressive or competitive or unfair or just doesn’t serve certain individuals in the group, and I totally understand the notion of feeling needy and unmet by people who really, truly will never, ever get you, no matter what you do or say, I feel certain that the generous, lovely new friends you describe nonetheless have just as many dysfunctional twists and turns in their pasts, you just have the privilege (or misfortune) of not knowing about them.
Furthermore, just as you might not be served, as an individual, by your group of old friends, you should take pains not to confuse the group dynamic with the actual personalities of the individuals in question. It’s easy enough to say: “Those motherfuckers, with their nasty, overachieving, competitive, condescending, judgmental ways!” But then you look at specific people, and you’ll see: This guy is my friend, and if I drop him completely, eventually I’ll feel the loss of that friendship.
For me, personally, any friend who’s remained in my life since I was in my 20s or earlier gets a free pass to piss me off and annoy me indefinitely. Any friendship that’s adaptive and resilient enough to have made it this far in spite of plenty of mistakes and some ill-chosen words on both sides deserves my continued generosity and devotion, in my opinion. I’m not talking here about a group, of course – groups sometimes survive even where individual friendships inside the group would never have formed in the first place without the group to hold them together. I’m talking about people who know me very, very well, and I know them well, and we’ve listened to each other enough and challenged each other enough to feel like family to each other.
But groups of friends are different. They have unspoken codes of behavior, and tend to favor a blind all-for-one attitude while frowning on open, honest, emotionally relevant dialogue and/or a direct confrontation of problems that arise. Let’s face it, pallie-wallie, when it comes to groups, we’re all needy and unmet in one way or another. Keep revealing your innermost feelings or following your compulsions to express yourself around your new friends, and I’m sure you’ll hit similar walls. None of us can mature fast enough to be seamlessly OK and healthy in the company of a wide range of personalities that’s guided by invisible codes of behavior and shared beliefs. And don’t even think about pointing out one of those invisible codes or notions to anyone in the group – groups of friends are, by their very nature, composed of team players who have no interest in dissecting how the group actually functions, or which parties sometimes get the short end of the stick.
Ah, but I’m making it all sound so malevolent, when it’s all human nature and group dynamics (which spring, at least in part, from the family dynamics of the individuals involved). I guess what I really want to say is that you can make a careful, thoughtful decision about whether or not to remain friends with this old friend or that old friend, but throwing out an entire group in one fell swoop and then admiring the superior qualities of a new group, a group which, conveniently enough, is already in the loop thanks to your wife, sets off a few red flags with me. Keep your old friends or don’t, but the new ones certainly aren’t a replacement, any more than a flirtatious secretary is a replacement for the lifelong friend and caring partner you find in your wife. Maybe they’ll evolve into old friends, over time, and maybe they’ll generously accept you, warts and all, without being biased by your past struggles. But right now, compared to your old friends, these people are strangers. They’ll piss you off and disappoint you, too, and you’ll really only know if they’re actually friends or not once you’ve been through a little shit together. I mean, Jesus, some people really, truly come through when the shit hits the fan, and others completely disappear. The healthiest-seeming motherfuckers in the world are sometimes the most avoidant and passive-aggressive of them all, under duress.
You’re happy and content and grateful right now, though, and you seem smart and reasonable. I’m really just drawing conclusions and drawing lines in the sand where none exist, for my own gratification. Look, it’s my fucking blog, Pallie, and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want with it. God, why do you always have to be so judgmental? This isn’t about you, for once, OK? Whatever, let’s just talk about it later. I’ve gotta go. (Click.)
Hi, Pallie? Whatcha up to? Really? Hey, you know, it’s so funny, I was thinking about you and I realized that I totally went off on my own little trip for a while there. I get it. You were just saying that sometimes old friendships die for a reason. I agree with that. And if a friendship is really unjust and poisonous and wrong, it can really pollute the waters, emotionally speaking. Every now and then, someone writes to me, and I can tell that their entire microcosm is shitty for them, that they can’t relate to anyone they know, even though there are probably tons of people out there who would be so much better suited to them as friends.
It sounds like you’re in the right place already. I just want to take this time to advocate for the old friend. Sure, I’ve dropped old friends, and old friends have dropped me, and rejection sucks and sometimes moving on is the only sane thing to do. But those old friends who know your whole history, who put up with your quirks, who tolerate your occasional obsessions, who are absolutely there for you when big things are happening? Those people should be treated very, very well. Those are the people who, when they get dumped, you leave your kid in the other room with your husband and talk to them on the phone for an hour, then blow off work the next day to talk for two more hours. You throw them parties, you buy them stuff, and if they’re single, you listen to the mundane details of their day-to-day lives, because single people need to unload these things on someone, and they need to know that you’re like family to them and won’t judge them for being a little longwinded occasionally.
I’ve fucked up friendships, dropped friendships, bailed on people, offended people, annoyed and alienated friends to no end, so I’m not saying I’m fucking true blue across the board. But I do think there’s something to be said for really, really knowing which friends in your life are a top priority, and then committing to those people and honoring your commitment to them, no matter how inconvenient or annoying it is sometimes.
Old friends are really important and necessary and precious, that’s all. Maybe some of us need new friends, but do we simply need new friends? In most cases, it’s not that simple.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
THE BEAN EATERS
I wrote a piece about bracing for a recession here, in case anyone is interested. It was at least partially inspired by something I wrote here on Ye Olde Rabbit Blogge, so that's a nice reminder that Ye Olde Rabbit Blogge is a vital and important part of my life as a "writer." ("Why" would I put "writer" in "quotes"? What the "fuck"?)
I've been thinking a lot lately about how friendships change, mature, grow saggy and disappear in your mid to late 30s. Anyone want to hold court or gripe loudly on this subject? If so, I'm all ears. I don't know how I developed such a taste for unfettered whining, but I have quite an appetite for gripes of all stripes. Unfettered whining is a banana split for the motherfucking soul.