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The one where they all stop talking to each other - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
The one where they all stop talking to each other
Answering questions about the strength or otherwise of friendships is always hard, but even more so at the moment when I feel like everybody is at odds with each other in one way or another. And, before anybody reaches for shift-8, all the well-intentioned "*hugs*" in the world aren't a substitute for what's missing.

I feel like the strong friendships that I thought would last for years have all fallen away, and I don't know if I was just being naive in thinking that any friendship would last that long. I worry that it's all my fault that my friendships have drifted away, for reasons that I'm not allowed to talk about.

But I feel like I don't have any spare emotional energy to try to rebuild friendships that have faded; and most of all I don't feel I have anything to bring to a friendship at the moment. I don't do anything, I don't think anything, I can't help anybody, I'm neither useful nor beautiful. I don't see what the point would be of trying to force this parcel of misery on people who have enough problems of their own.

The worst of it is that this doesn't make me despair; it just makes me feel flat and empty. I feel like the colour is leaching out of everything, like everything is tending towards zero. And all I can do is sit and watch the world run down like a wind-up toy that has fallen over, no longer running, just kicking slower and slower until finally, imperceptibly, motion becomes motionlessness.

Current Mood: empty

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nou From: nou Date: November 30th, 2003 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope I don't count as having drifted away. It's more my fault than yours that we don't see each other much at the moment; you've been to visit me and I haven't yet successfully managed to get all the way to Cambridge to visit you.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: November 30th, 2003 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if this will be a reassurance or an annoyance, but the thing about friendships is that you can't help it if someone else decides to like you, and (even taking the standard complain about the misnomer of LiveJournal's capital-F Friends into account) there are a lot of people who like you, from your high points to your low ones, enough to care about you and follow your life. I am one, but I don't want to start a "So am I!" "Me too!" "Me seventy-four and my badgers!" cascade. I also happen to believe the converse is true and took great comfort on the occasions when you have unexpectedly showed it in the past.

Now admittedly all the weak-swapping-friendly-LiveJournal-comments-and-meeting-once-a-year-hopefully friendships in the world may not be as fulfilling as regular-contact, unbounded friendships (which, I guess, is exactly the point you were making in the final sentence of your first paragraph) but I hope you can see their good points as well as their considerable shortcomings.

Para three: no enshifted-digits required, but I know what you meen and do feel like that myself from time to time, particularly when considering some of my weak-but-might-once-have-been-strong {F|f}riends.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
you can't help it if someone else decides to like you

But you can like somebody without being their friend.

I hope you can see their good points as well as their considerable shortcomings.

I do, definitely; I like having those sort of friendships as well as closer/deeper/whatever-er friendships. But at the moment I'm feeling like it's all very ... unreal, I guess; I feel like I'm exchanging words with people but it doesn't mean anything. It's not that I think people are being insincere; I just don't feel like the words connect properly. If that makes sense. Everything feels distant and deadened.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: November 30th, 2003 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was at this point about 3 years ago. I won't say that what happened to me will magically happen to you, that would be fatuous. But you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. Friends reappear, new friends come along, friends that are barely there continue to be good when they are and one just realises that that is the pattern of that particular friendship from now on, and so on. There's no point my persuading you here that you do have plenty of stuff to bring to Friendship; you don't sound like you're in a place to accept that right now (even though I mean it and I'm sure you know it).

Emotional energy is hard to come by. But let it be and it will recharge.
From: rmc28 Date: November 30th, 2003 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beauty (and utility for that matter) are in the eye of the beholder. And sometimes helping someone else is a good distraction from one's own problems.
lnr From: lnr Date: November 30th, 2003 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was nice to see you this evening, even for a short while. And I'll look forward to lunch on Friday. I don't mean to have drifted, it just feels so difficult sometimes. Especially when you feel like you're not allowed to talk about things.

I know what you mean about not having a lot to offer to friendships at the moment though, I feel a lot that way sometimes too. Less bad this week than a week or two back I guess.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
It was nice to see you this evening, even for a short while.

It was lovely to see you, and I wish you could have stayed longer.

And I'll look forward to lunch on Friday.

Me too!

I don't mean to have drifted, it just feels so difficult sometimes. Especially when you feel like you're not allowed to talk about things.

<sigh> I don't mean to have drifted either, but it is difficult, and I really don't know how to make it less difficult. I wish I could though. :-/
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: December 1st, 2003 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)

why?

Ouch.

Who says you can't talk about 'it'? You, on the premise that "least said, soonest mended"? (Sometimes true, sometimes not: there is a time and a place for most conversations, but what do *you* need?) If someone else says you can't talk, why? What is your silence worth to them, and at what cost to you?

What is the worst thing that could happen, either in your imaginings or in reality?

BoPeepSheep has a good take on this: you don't know what may yet happen. The friendships you may think are faded may be just lying fallow for a time. Now is not forever, it's just now.

You do do things: you don't give yourself credit for them, which is different. You worked the bar, I think, last Thursday: you solved a couple of problems for at least two people by showing up and doing your job, and doing it for pay doesn't demean having done it. You went to St. Botolph's and looked and found out something new you didn't know before.
You do your work, whether you admire yourself for it or not, and that is good stewardship. Right now, you have to live on little satisfactions, day to day, but it won't be like this all the time, forever.

You're allowed to let other people help you without calling yourself a "parasite" (a word you used about yourself with which I categorically disagree - you are being far too hard on yourself): you're allowed, I am sure, even to turn up at your parents' and say "Mom, I'm absolutely whacked and I want to sleep for a week and drink hot chocolate when I'm awake" and the worst thing she would probably say is "OK, but you have to make it yourself sometimes." And if not parents, then you do have friends in whom your faith will be justified - all you have to do is act on that faith in them. I once turned up at a friend's house at 9 p.m. without so much as a toothbrush or a clean pair of knickers, in total collapse, and stayed for two days, with knicks and toothbrush provided 'on the house'. If I hadn't faced up to how low I was and asked for help I still might not know what a good friend that person was (and still is). Your friends will come through if you give them a chance.

And if some of your friends are at odds with each other, that is their responsibility, not yours. Several seem not to be at odds with you, and that's the main thing.

Have a hot drink on this cold and rainy day. xx





lnr From: lnr Date: December 4th, 2003 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: why?

And if some of your friends are at odds with each other, that is their responsibility, not yours.

I wish I could make myself see it like that. Then it wouldn't matter if I have to be quiet about seeing one set of friends in case the others object (or vice versa), I wouldn't care if people avoid me because of who I'm with, it wouldn't hurt watching people I care about pointedly ignoring each other across me. No-one's fallen out with *me* so obviously everything's just hunkydory.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: December 5th, 2003 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: friends & responsibility

lnr wrote I wish I could make myself see it like that. Then it wouldn't matter if I have to be quiet about seeing one set of friends in case the others object (or vice versa), I wouldn't care if people avoid me because of who I'm with, it wouldn't hurt watching people I care about pointedly ignoring each other across me. No-one's fallen out with *me* so obviously everything's just hunkydory.

To which I say that (a) do you want people who behave so badly to be *your* friends, rather than backing off and just reckoning them to be acquaintances? (b) You can't make people be friends with each other, but if they can't be civilised or mature enough to avoid judging you for having friends they don't like, they have the problem, not you.

There is no reason why you should put up with people behaving so selfishly and unpleasantly in your presence: if they want to ignore each other pointedly across you then get out from the middle and put a pox on both their houses. Your own company in front of the television with a box of popcorn, or a good book and nice cup of something, would be 1,000 times better than hanging out with folk who seem to have the emotional sensitivity of a pack of fifteen-year-olds.

Unless of course everyone in this instance is fifteen, in which case you should all be at home doing your homework and not making each other miserable with hate-parties... (VBG).

No, honestly, why put up with it?

j4 From: j4 Date: December 5th, 2003 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: friends & responsibility

No, honestly, why put up with it?

Generally I find that when people are acting like that it's because they're hurting, for one reason or another. The problem usually seems to be that somebody feels betrayed by somebody else, and that does upset people, and does sometimes make them act irrationally.

Perhaps it would make things easier if I disowned my friends when they were struggling with their own relationships and friendships, when they were acting irrationally and foolishly as a result of their own problems. But I don't think I'd be able to face myself in the mirror. And to be honest I don't think I'd have very many friends to worry about anyway after a short time of behaving like that.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: December 6th, 2003 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: friends & responsibility

There's a difference between empathising with struggling friends in pain and internalising their warfare. If Group A criticises me for spending time with Group B, and I then take that criticism to heart, then it's destructive to me.
My responsibility is to do one of several things: (a) don't take it to heart and let them know I don't or (b) take myself out of the firing line, out of an entirely proper self-respect.

Spending an evening, or three, with yourself in preference to spending it with warring friends is not the same as rejecting them forever. It is sending them a message that their behaviour is hurtful to you and that you don't care to have that pain continued.

People who in some way expect you to choose between your friends (if you hang out with A then I'm gonna make you suffer for it the next time I see you) are playing head games with your insecurities about respecting your own choices, whether they recognise that or not. *Their* hurt is *their* responsibility, not yours, and saying that if you don't hurt with their hurt, if you don't internalise their pain, then you aren't their friend, is simply childish.
lnr From: lnr Date: December 5th, 2003 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: friends & responsibility

Your own company in front of the television with a box of popcorn, or a good book and nice cup of something, would be 1,000 times better than hanging out with folk who seem to have the emotional sensitivity of a pack of fifteen-year-olds.

What Jan said. And it would get awfully awfully lonely after a while.
bjh21 From: bjh21 Date: December 1st, 2003 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Neither useful nor beautiful

You generally strike me as being useful, albeit not in a very immediate way. Sort of like the random stuff that fills the cupboards at work -- we don't actually need it at the moment, but it's clearly good stuff, and we'll doubtless have some need for it at some point, and if we don't, someone else will.

As for beauty, I think some of your writings here have something like that -- that last sentence for instance.

This comment by contrast, really is neither useful nor beautiful. It doesn't even relate to what you're writing about.

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