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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More Research

A few months ago, one of the topics Therapist assigned me to investigate was friendship. He did this because he noted that I become extremely uncomfortable when my friends try to get close to me--to know me better. He said it's not a normal thing for me to expect people to accept a prolonged absence of a year or more, and then welcome me back. I told him it might not be normal for everyone, but my friends make that compensation for me. He said I should count my blessings. Then he asked, if I had a crisis in my life, which of those long-distance friends I would talk to. The answer: none of them. I would probably not talk to anyone. If it became unbearable, I would eventually talk to Darrin. Therapist said that's a lot of pressure to put on one's spouse, and mentioned that people should usually have a few people with whom they can discuss life's ups and downs, and not lay it on one person all the time.

So, I decided to try out the close friendships thing. I did it in a very safe way. I allowed certain people that I trust to have daily, or almost daily contact with me through chat or phone. But these people didn't live close to me, so I didn't have to face them frequently in person. I know, I'm a coward, but that's a start. I didn't analyze (or at least, I did it less than I normally do), or try to figure out what was going on or where it was going. I just enjoyed their company. If I misunderstood something said, I tried to talk through it rather than assuming I was being asked to leave, and I think I was somewhat successful at that. Result: wow...it's been kind of amazing. I fully expected that after a few days the conversations would cease and I would lapse into the once a month communications which would morph into non-existence eventually. When it didn't happen I was mystified, but sort of happy, too.

Four months later, only one of those friendships has had any negative results. But last week I came to the point where I had to do some investigating. My poor friends got the third degree as I questioned them at length about what their ideas were about friendship, what they wanted, long-term expectations, ideals, etc. As I often do when researching, I am posting some things I want to think more about. There is no logical thread to this, these are just bits of information I'm considering as I draw conclusions. Last time I did this I enticed unwanted visitors to my site--I can't imagine this thread of research doing the same, though it would be all right with me if bunches of "friend" people were lured here. They might help me with my research...

F1: I don't see you trying to keep a friend if you thought they were trying to leave.
Sam: Why would I? Friendship isn't something that should be forced on another.
F1: Sometimes people seem as if they want to leave, but really they're just testing you to see how important the friendship is to you. Will you fight for it? Will you tell them you want them to stay?
Sam: That seems dishonest. Why don't they just say, "I'm feeling insecure. Will you tell me that you love me?"
F1: That's not how people work. You're not the only one who ever feels insecure. And have you ever done that?
Sam: I have.
F1: Well, I don't think that's what most people do.
Sam: I think they should.


Sam: I think friendships should end quietly, without drama.
F2: If someone decided to stop being friends with you, you'd probably blog about it in one of your many blogs, then you'd hide.
Sam: I wouldn't hide.
F2: Yeah, you would. And you'd never tell that person that you missed him or that he'd hurt you.
Sam: What would be the point of telling him those things?
F2: Then he'd know you cared, and maybe he'd come back.
Sam: If he's been in contact with me on a regular basis, there should be no doubt that I care--I tell my friends all the time that I love them and think they're the best people around--you've heard me say it to you more than once. To do so when someone says they've had enough, seems manipulative and pathetic.
F2: I don't believe you wouldn't be hurt if someone stopped talking to you, and you didn't know why.
Sam: It might hurt at first. It would stop hurting after awhile.
F2: Do you always just deal with being hurt or having conflict by waiting it out?
Sam: Doesn't everyone?


Sam: I'm trying to figure it all out. Not the perfect friend part, just the friend thing, in general.
F3: Well, I've had A as a friend for four years now. And we're just as close as we ever were. And that's pretty marvelous, isn't it? For me, the key has been getting into a place where I can be myself. Perhaps you've found your place now? Or one of your places?
Sam: Every time I think I'm getting close, I realize I don't have any idea what I'm doing. You and A are veteren friends.
F3: Well, no one knows what they're doing. We're all just trying.
Sam: Yes, but trying for different things.
F3: And there are still times when we have to say to each other, "Don't go?" Or we fight. Or wonder if it doesn't make us more tired to be friends than not.
Sam: It does seem to me that it is more work than it's worth. There's a lot of safety in being an interested observer. However, it makes me happy that you have her--that she has you, and that friendship has lasted a long time (in Samantha years).
F3: Well, she's maddening, but loveable. What is it about friendships you don't understand?
Sam: Well, I suppose the longest lasting friendships I've had are the ones where we only have limited contact. I call once or twice a year. We exchange Christmas cards. Occasionally we visit. But I'm told that's not really a relationship. So I'm trying to understand why a friendship with close contact is better.
F3: For one thing, it's a lot more dangerous, and therefore more self-affirming.

2 Comments:

  • At Sunday, January 21, 2007 7:32:00 PM, Blogger Stephalumpagus said…

    Yeah, friendship is tricky. And it is a lot of work sometimes. But it's so worth it. Sometimes I wonder why people would ever want to be my friend. What do I have to offer them? Sometimes I think they are just nice people that put up with me and pretend to be my friends. But then when I'm bored on a Friday night, they call. When I'm in need of help, they are there. When I need to talk, they comfort and advise me. And that's why it's worth it. Having at least one good friend that you can turn to no matter what is one of the best things in the world. You'll find that your friends will never cease to amaze you.

     
  • At Sunday, January 21, 2007 7:46:00 PM, Blogger kittywaymo said…

    sohi samantha, i sent you 2 emails from my private email address, please let me know if you got them allright. I also created a link to your blog the only way i know how (cut and past -w link) 'cause i haven't switched over to new blogger template.
    Anyway, i have similar issues and i'm a straight female! My issues were that both my ex-husband's staff and dr. h(my current/only) were my only female friends. Obviously, when i divorced dr. b, i lost those friendships by choice out of respect for his practice. now, i enjoy affiliation with staff,however i was the biz manager/wife so i always wonder if they'd have me as their friend without being staff. Insecure i know. That comes from years of being a major nerd in high school:) anyway, thought your post was insightful~

     

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