I Can’t Help What You FeelReading Time: 6 minutes
The reason I’m writing this is because at the time of writing, I have a couple of friends who are not speaking with me for various reasons. I’m both annoyed at them and hurt by their attitudes because ultimately, the issues are either of their own actions or their own decisions.
Whilst I’m not going to name anyone in here (as I don’t like to name and shame on my blog, lol), I’m sure those who I’m speaking of will work out what I’m saying and who they are. I’m not posting to be bitchy, it is because the behaviour isn’t something I need to pander to or be involved with.
I guess the TL;DR for this story is that, whilst you should always support your friends wherever you can, you are not there to be the crutch that they rely on for happiness. I’ll always try and help friends where they need help and will always be there for them whenever they need it. But with that, you should expect honesty, even if you really don’t want to hear it.
A is for…
For many years I’ve known this one (now ex) friend. He’s quite loud, can be very bitchy but always had his heart in the right place, even if his mouth was not. Throughout the years he has done a tremendous job of rubbing people the wrong way, to a point where I have a lot of other friends who really can’t stand him.
Though it really shouldn’t be my problem, I did try my best to work around these conflicts by avoiding having these friends all in the same social situations. It wasn’t ideal, but it was better than having to deal with the drama of these friends mixing together. Me and this friend had our own conflicts over the years, but usually we would resolve them and everything would settle down again.
Skipping ahead a few years, it was my birthday. So I made arrangements with this friend to go and see him for dinner and to go out afterwards. I had made other arrangements to go out with a group of friends on a bit of a wine tour in the Swan Valley in WA. This friend wasn’t invited to the wine tour. Why? Because 3 of the people joining me for the wine tour, all in separate occasions, this one friend had managed to piss off to a point where they felt uncomfortable hanging with them. I simply decided it was best for all parties if he wasn’t involved.
He wasn’t the only person that I didn’t invite. Many friends didn’t come to the wine tour. No specific reasons other than I chose a specific group of friends for this particular event. Nobody else seemed bothered by it either.
That evening, I get a message from this friend. He’d seen on Facebook that I’d been out with friends for my birthday and come to the conclusion that he hadn’t been invited.
At this stage, I was fairly annoyed. This friend was fully aware of who was at this particular event and fully aware that those people really didn’t like him. He didn’t like them either. Mutual dislike. I will admit that I didn’t reply in the most polite manner, explaining to him that the reason he wasn’t invited was because he had somehow pissed off half the guests that did come, and that I had tried to make time for him the next day.
Well, that didn’t go down well.
Prior to my birthday, this friend had lost his job. I admittedly didn’t respond particularly well to this news because it was the same story I had heard at least 6 or more times before from him. It goes like this:
- Bullied or don’t get along with my manager
- Didn’t like the culture
- They hired too many employees
- Unfair dismissal
I’ll be honest, I can’t recall what excuse it was this time. Normally I’d be supportive of a friend who had lost his job, especially if it was based on any of the above. The thing is, it is always one of the above with this friend. So my reaction wasn’t exactly graceful this time simply because “I’d heard it all”.
This was thrown back at me, whether it was fair or not is up to the reader to decide. I could have been a bit more polite, but at the same time, well, at what stage is it your own fault for losing your job again? I did make this clear that he had used the same group of excuses over and over, and in the time that I had lived in Melbourne (just under 6 years), he had at least 10 different jobs. That maybe he was the problem, not the jobs.
I put my foot down. I told him that I really didn’t see much point in continuing the friendship as it felt like we always had fights and that he was looking for any excuse to walk away. I gave him the opportunity to walk away or to fight for the friendship. He chose to walk away, not before leaving a nasty reply.
Did I make mistakes in the friendship? Yeah, definitely. I’m not naïve. I know that there’s probably a lot that I could have done better with this. But I also believe that he wanted to pick a fight. Not because he felt left out, just because he wanted the drama.
Ideally I would have loved to invite him, but the outcome would have been stress for all involved. Me having to worry the entire time whether everyone is getting along, and some friends being uncomfortable with each other. I was already worrying about that as the people who were invited were from 2 separate friendship circles who had never actually hung out previously. So I already had a bit of the jitters about friends meeting friends and everyone getting along.
I take responsibility for not reacting better to his job loss, or his mental health issues. For that I do apologise. I do try and support all of my friends as best as I can. But this time, I felt he wanted to fight and wanted to feel like he was hard done by. I felt that was the limit.
Admission: I actually started writing this post way back in March. It has been sitting in drafts since then. Why haven’t I published it until now?
Well, it is because of this 2nd ex friend. I simply don’t know what to write about this. This friendship has been a tricky one for many years now (and one that spanned across 2 states). Despite the trickyness about the friendship, it was one that I valued quite a lot.
It is also one that seems to have fallen apart over him having higher expectations of me than I could meet, which affected their mental health. I actually don’t know if that’s entirely true so I’ve been hesitant to write about it. I also had some hope that we could reconcile as I didn’t feel like this friendship needed to end.
I won’t go in to detail, but this is the high level points of it all. This friend did have high expectations of me and felt that I didn’t value the friendship because I would go periods without engaging in conversation. This was true, in that I didn’t engage in conversation all the time. ADHD makes me tune out to the world quite often, and the medication means that during the day I’m hyper-focussed, but come the afternoon, I’m exhausted and tuned out again.
I also don’t seem to have the same mechanism where relationships seem to decay in my mind if we haven’t spoken in a while. I have a number of friends who I haven’t spoken to in a while. No other reason than I just don’t always have the energy to do so.
Then there’s an incident that happened, which was the last time I really saw or spoke to this friend. We had gone out all day to take photos. Was a good day. Decided to stop for burgers for lunch at the end of the day. Me and another friend had gotten out of the car and were waiting for this friend to put his camera away. Suddenly, he stormed off in a bad mood. Decided not to eat with us. I didn’t know why until about 30 minutes later, when I was advised he had dropped his camera and smashed it.
So I’m not sure if he blames me for the camera (though I’m not sure how, I wasn’t anywhere near him when it happened) or because the unreliability became an issue for him that was too hard to overcome, or if it was something else.
I can’t help his perception of me. But given I don’t know all the details, I’ve been hesitant to include this and kept putting off posting about this. But here it is, for you to make up your own opinions on what is happening here.
But I guess, if there is an abandonment issue at play, with me being a bit hit and miss in my communication. Is that really my responsibility? At what point is his issue his to deal with and at what point is it my responsibility to push harder to stay in touch, despite my own issues?