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Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 at 4:12 pm by flerly.

Here I sit, staring out at the world through these windows called eyes, knowing for sure only what exists in my own mind, but constantly being asked to anticipate or explain things that happen to/with other people and their minds. It’s all guesswork. I can sit here and try to logically look at the rundown of actions and see if any of it compares to anything I’ve ever done myself or seen done before, but none of it makes a damn difference. All I really care about is me, anyway.

You see, I’m selfish. It really is all about me. And for you reading this, you’re the same way. Don’t pretend it’s not all about you. We’re supposed to be that way. I worry about my family only when it suits me. I take the scant reports of what’s going on in their lives and make it into my own drama that I have to deal with. It’s all about me. I worry about my husband because he is right there in my life, day to day, and things that affect him affect me. Have to keep him happy so he can keep me happy.

So, basically, most of life, most of our relationships are all about the question “What have you done for me lately?” Where does a person get the urge to go out of their way to do something for someone else and ask nothing in return? I sure don’t know. Friendships are 99% about maintaining a relationship that offers something back to us… getting something for our investment. Sure long term acquaintances may result in more give than take for a while, but usually there is a cycle to this that we learn to “bear with”, still expecting the eventual return that makes the investment worthwhile. But what makes people friends? It has to be a commonality of some sort, probably proximity to each other, some method of enjoyable interaction that can be maintained, giving something to both parties. Nobody rides for free. Everybody contributes and everybody is expecting to get something out of it. It’s all about me.

Me… I usually know exactly why I maintain relationships with the people in my life. Hardly ever is it because “it’s expected of me.” It’s mostly give and take–what do you have to give or what can I take… You disagree? I don’t. There is a tolerance meter. I have to allow said person such-and-such amount of time to gripe about their life today whilst I nod politely in order to earn such-and-such amount of time to gripe about my life next week while receiving polite nods of sympathy in return. Is that friendship?

I dunno. That certainly is some kind of relationship, but what is friendship, really. See, for a long time I have been calling one really dorky guy who is a real jerk one of my best friends. We have a long history together, good and bad, and thus I guess developed a really high tolerance for each other’s crap. Recently, though, I did get sort of fed up with him and decided that I would stop trying to make contact with him for a while in order to see if he would take the initiative and contact me for a change. It took a little while, but he sure did. That was my test, and it was probably stupid, but it worked out exactly how I had expected it.

What if it hadn’t, though? What if I decided to break off all contact and wait for him to contact me, but instead he just said, “She doesn’t want to talk to me? Fine then. Who needs her.” What does that say about all the time we put into the relationship before that? Well, theoretically, since it’s all about me and he hasn’t done anything for me lately, I should have been fine with that… and well, since it didn’t work out that way, I guess I really can’t say whether I really would have been fine. I can say, however, that I was happy when he contacted me.

This just all got me thinking… if everybody sees this from the point of view that I have…. “what have you done for me lately?” and I want to lay out some stupid test to see “if they really are my friend or not” because I’m feeling taken for granted, I guess I really need to ask myself, what are they thinking… what have I done for them lately… and if I can’t think of anything, then I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised when they don’t seem to care that I’ve broken off contact.

See, there is this thing that happens every day that’s called life, and as these days go by this life thing it gets piled up until you reach this point that you look back and you can’t remember how things were because you can’t see that far back for all the life that’s piled up everywhere. There were things that brought us together… like where we worked or where we lived… that in the time that has gone by have all changed pretty dramatically. What used to be a really good, convenient idea somehow turned into a thing we had to go out of our way to accomplish every week. Nobody wanted it to happen, it just did. Did it mean we didn’t feel the same about each other? Well, probably not really. Mostly it was the other things that changed in our lives, and suddenly things that used to work out without a care became something we had to work to achieve.

Everybody is selfish. Everybody puts their own lives first. Nobody is a mind reader. Frequently it’s the people you see the most often that you are considerate of the least. These people tolerate me, you think. I don’t have to say I appreciate them, they should know. I don’t have to say the good things about them, they should know. It’s been said before. It gets to the point that the only words out of our mouth are to point out the new and bad things going on. Everybody has an opinion. Everybody has the selfish desire to put in their two cents. Everyone has the selfish notion that their two cents are more valuable than anybody else’s two cents, and thus when the advice-ee may not follow their wisdom, they are appalled at the poor lack of judgment… yatta yatta.. babble babble blah.

Bottom line, we are merely friends–that is to say I’m not your mother, not your sister, and not your psychologist., no matter how much friendly wisdom I may try to impart. In the end, there’s not any blood or monetary reason that says I have to put up with your “take take take” and not get any of the giving. Same for you. If it’s not convenient for us to remain close, then why remain close? Does it mean I hate you? No. I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all adults here. This is life. This is how it happens. We take what we can get. We don’t need to cause additional stress and drama with each other because things in our lives may conspire to change things between us. We don’t need to do stupid “friendship tests” that we may pass or fail, because how sure are we that we could pass a test ourselves… let’s not go judging other people. There’s something about throwing stones that applies here…. can’t quite remember.

So how does it end? Does Jed strike black gold and become a millionaire, where he’s forced to move to Cali-for-ni-A and leave all his “friends” behind? Who knows. We’re just living. Day to day. Trying to get by. We all have our issues, our dramas, and our own journals where we like to ramble on about things. We all think we ought to be allowed to say anything we want in our journal or comments while reserving the right to throw hissy-fits based on what others might say in their journal or comments. We all tend to assume the world resolves around us, and thus any vague comment made must surely be referring to us. It happens to everyone. Now we’ve spelled it out and know it’s happening…. so let’s just get over it. Know what friends lists are for? They’re for creating a handy-dandy list of people who’s lives you are interested in so you can read their rants, share in their lives, and attempt to keep some kind of contact with people that you might not have the time or opportunity to keep in person. Well, according to LJ if you put someone on your friends list to keep up with them, then by default, they are able to share in your life as well. That’s how friends work. So, if someone were to make an ultimatum, say, and remove some friends from their list so they couldn’t share in their “private” lives anymore, how much sense does it make to continue to read those people’s journals? I want to read about YOU but you can’t read about me. Nah nah. To me, that scenario means one of two things… a) I’m a stalker or b) I’m being childish. I’m not going to name names or point fingers. You know who you are and you can categorize yourselves.

But, as I’ve already said. We’re all childish, in so far as we’re all selfish. It’s all about you, and I understand that. But you understand this, I’m all about me. I’m not here to hold your hand, I’m not here to mend your fences, and I don’t put out fires on bridges. There is no us against them. The only side I’m on is mine. I don’t care who shows up at cheese and who doesn’t. I don’t care where cheese is. I don’t care if there even is a cheese. There are some people I like to hang out with because it gives me pleasure, and I intend to keep doing that. It’s not about the cheese. When they don’t give me pleasure, I don’t have to force myself on them ritually. I have other things to do. The world doesn’t end.

But the story does. It ends with me here shaking my head at the silly people I don’t understand.


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