Friendship is important to me. Isn't it funny when we catch ourselves assigning our values to others and then becoming shocked when it is revealed that others do not share those beliefs? This has happened to me recently about friendship.
For some people, friendships are like cars. You get one, are excited about it for a while, and then you let it go for something else. That's not me. If you are a friend of mine, you will ALWAYS be a friend of mine unless your behavior is toxic and it makes being around you unhealthy. Even then, the breaking of the relationship is only a step to reconciliation.
However, to wily nily end friendships is absurd to me. My best friend from my childhood is also named Jeff. I haven't talked to him since sometime in high school. Yet, if he called me today and wanted to meet, I would exhaust every effort to meet him. Why? Because he is a friend of mine and that is enough.
I have another friend who just flat out gets on my nerves. When he calls me, I cringe. He talks incessantly and will not allow you to get off the phone. I could say to him, "Look, this friendship has ran its course. It is not doing it for me." I dont' do that, however. Why? BECAUSE HE IS A FRIEND OF MINE. He has his faults as do I. However, there is something stronger there than to just be dismissed just because he sucks the life out of me sitting on the bloody phone.
How some people can go through life and burn bridges, I don't know. It is their life and they can live it any way they choose, but when they try to transfer that value (or lack thereof) to me, that's where I have problems. When someone asks me, "Why is keeping that friend so important to you?", I consider that a nonsense question.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I have been urged to end a friendship because someone else has a problem with it (and not really a valid problem). I thought to myself, "what am I, in eighth grade, going around breaking up with friends?" Maybe I should toilet paper my soon ex-friend's house as a way of saying, "goodbye". Sheesh! Some of you may disagree with me about this issue. As a matter of fact, I have been surprised by the number of people who do tend treat friendships like cars. However, it doesn't matter if we disagree to me. I won't break up with you over it.
I'm right there with you, Jeff. My friends are extremely valuable to me, and I am loyal almost to my detriment sometimes.
Your post makes me want to call a friend up and share a watermelon with right now. Don't know why I thought of watermelon, maybe it's cool, sweet and thirst-quencher, just like your wonderful words :)
After reading the other comments I feel kind of bad saying this.
Growing up I had a few friends two moved away and I never saw them again. One was around, but he kept getting me into trouble and hurting my feelings. I kept at trying to be his friend until I loaned him one of my video games. I never got my video game when I asked for it back, and I never got any explanation as to why.
His mom and my mom were friends, but my mom refused to help me get it back, so I just ended my friendship with him.
If their comes a point in time where someone has you know pushed you too far, something has to give. If its just someone that just takes to long to talk to on the phone...I dunno.
I have a uncle like that...he'd go over his minutes on the phone if he has a lot to say.(Kind of like my comment). A friend can still be a little annoying, yet likable. Everyone has there flaws.
The last time anyone asked me to dump a friend was my gran not liking a friend of mine as a teen. I said "no."
I'm not sure what I'd do if anyone demanded I let go a friend now. I have had friends who hated each other. I still do have friends who really don't like each other. It's tricky because I never could get a group party thing going with everyone happy. I don't think I'd let go the friend if someone else demanded it, but it might depend on who demanded. If it was my husband?
Tough one, Jeff! I don't envy you being out in that position. :-\
hollygl: It doesn't surprise me. We see eye to eye on a lot of things.
mother: You're such an encouragement. Thanks.
charles: You shouldn't feel bad. It sounded like your friend's behavior had a toxic effect on you. I submit that is an exception to my rule even for me. However, I would reconcile if he apologized and changed his ways. He would be on probation, though. ;)
michelle: Yep, it is tough and something that can potentially harbor resentment all the way around.
I think this is a great post, Jeff.
Have you heard the song "High School Never Ends" by Bowling for Soup? Your situation reminded me of it;)
This is an interesting new take on an age-old dilemma: holding on or letting go. It's certainly given me food for thought as I have ended a few friendships because of the "toxic" factor. Maybe it's time to rethink a couple of those situations.
Hmmmm... I guess I've always thought (and still think) that people come and go in life, some stay longer, and some don't. To me, being a 'friend' is something that I don't take lightly.
I have lots of aquaintances, but few friends. Which is why I think people tend to come and go....but true friends stay til the end.
Chris: Nope, haven't heard it. I should look it up.
Jimmy: It has really been simple to me. You keep friends (not beyond their will), but you keep them unless they are toxic. Then, you always reserve the opportunity of redemption.
Mermaid: People do, indeed, come and go in life. That IS life. I mentioned my best friend from school in my post. He is not in my life at all. He came and now he is gone. However, to force an end to a relationship without those toxic reasons I mentioned just seems so . . . uncaring, unnecessary, and quite frankly, shallow. I am glad you hold on to the thought of "true friends stay till the end." That's what I am talking about.
Hi, Jeff! Friendship is very important to me as well. I think only the people who have real friends know the meaning of friendship, and how it does affect our lives when something has gone wrong. Great post. Thanks!
Thanks for pointing me to the post Jeff. I've replied at http://midlife-journey.blogspot.com/2007/06/for-sale-friend.html
I'm so glad to know there's still other people in the world who feel this way. There have been several times in my life when I've had to distance myself from the toxicity of a relationship, whether it be a friend, family member or lover, however I simply do not have the capacity to walk away completely. People are just too important to me. If I ever love you at all I will always love you, even if you annoy me, anger me or hurt me, I just may not spend that much time around you ;-) As for others demanding I sever friendships...well, I'm not much for demands anyway, especially ones so callous.
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