With Friends Like These….

Not realistic…even for millennials.

November 7, 2018 – This past Saturday (November 3) I learned a sad but valuable lesson on friendship. Like most people, I’ve always desired good – and even close – friendships with others. I’ve never been a “popular guy” (based on someone else’s definition of popular), but I typically make acquaintances easily, and – in most social settings – I tend to be a go along to get along type person. At the same time, however, I’m very independent-minded and I prefer solitude to crowds. This contradiction – easy-going and somewhat likable versus independent, loner – inevitably causes strain in my relationships with others.

I’m also a sort of shy and sensitive person who reacts – Vicki would say “over-reacts” – to verbal and physical cues. I typically think that others are immediately judging me – especially when I meet someone for the first time. So I tend to almost always have my guard up which makes others think that I’m stand-offish or snobby.

It’s also hard for me to brush things off. A slight or an innocent faux pas festers inside my head until I feel the need to lash out or “get back” at someone. It wears on me and Vicki. Hence, I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish this post once I started it. (I didn’t complete it until the end of December.) But I decided I needed to share a piece of myself.

– – –

As we grow older, it seems our circle of friends gets smaller and smaller. That smaller circle is a normal result of life’s changes: death, divorce, moving away, and growing apart. All of these factors contribute to an ever shrinking circle. And, frankly, that’s sad.

For me, that circle has narrowed substantially in the last ten years. In fact, I may now be in the low single digits. Saturday’s episode (Nov. 3) certainly contributed to the loss of another friend. It was all over something stupid, but men, being men, have a hard time letting things go. Honestly, I’m not really sure why I let a stupid comment about pessimism get to me. But when someone says that you “suck” as a human – and you thought of this person as a friend – it’s real difficult to forgive.

Context note – Remember, if anyone has a reason to be pessimistic or negative about life, I think I have. Likewise, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, too.

Initially, I was going to share other examples of friends who have essentially abandoned Vicki and me. But I now realize that we all have endured the pain of broken trust (and friendship). It’s all part of life and part of being a grown-up.

And, yes, it still hurts.

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