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The friends who go away for a while

I'm not a very good friend. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'm terrible at being friends with people. 

I don't text much. I forget to reply via text and messenger until hours or days later. I don't often hang out with people and I feel awkward asking them to. I'm always working or at rehearsal or whatever. Sometimes, it's just too exhausting to try to interact with people. 

But, I do still try to be there for people in whatever capacity I can. And I do at least try to let people know I will be there if they need someone to talk to. 

Because I know that when I need someone to talk to, and there's no one there, it sucks. 

I have a few close (closer?) friends. I'm not a social butterfly. I don't have a giant network of friends to fall back on and my family is also more or less useless in that regard, so being ghosted sucks. It's the worst feeling. I would much rather someone tell me "Hey, I don't want to hang out anymore" and go away rather than wondering for months what I might have done wrong or whether they will eventually respond. 

Mainly, though, I get worried. Especially when there's a relationship involved. Twice now my friends have ghosted only to reenter my life because an abusive relationship was isolating them.

It's when someone has reentered my life, and I've tried to help them get over the bad relationship and move on, and they've apologized for being so absent, and they seem to get back on their feet and then move on and possibly meet another person -- and then ghost you again -- that's when I feel a little more justified in feeling hurt.

I guess I just wonder how many times someone can drop you before you stop picking them up again. 

I should probably feel angry, but mostly I just feel worried. Does that make me a loser? I want to know they're OK. If they've moved to a new part of their life and don't want to be friends, fine, as long as they're happy and OK. Maybe I'm just a reminder of a shitty part in their life that they need to cut loose before they can move on. That would be fine. I would get that. 

But looking back on this pattern of people's romances dominating their lives to the point where it becomes isolating and abusive, and then seeing another pretty close friend drop off the face of the planet, it makes me concerned. 

I don't know where a friend's place is in all this. Am I wildly overestimating my friendship level? Maybe I've been thinking of myself as a Level 5 Friend, when I'm really a Level 2. What business do I have butting into someone's life and nosing around asking if they're OK? This is where I start to psych myself out. 

The problem is, this kind of back and forth is really draining. I have my own issues, and I am torn between not wanting to be an emotional drain on my friends but also not wanting to be used by them as an emotional dumping ground. Because using me to offload all their problems and then vanishing when I happen to need a friend is not very friendly.

This doesn't mean I won't be there whenever a ghost friend wants to resume the conversation. But I think that next time I may make it clear that this sort of arrangement isn't very fair to me or healthy for either of us. I really want to put more effort into friendships, but it needs to be a mutual thing. 

Comments

  1. Despite my best efforts, I have people vanish from my life, sometimes from the closer circles, without explanation for the act. Some have come back, but most don't. Damaging though it has probably been in some ways, I almost never expect new people to stay in my life very long anymore, and I tend to relate to them accordingly.

    Some of them have, like you mentioned, been lost to romance. Because in many of those cases they don't "return" I can't say if any of them were in abusive relationships, but from my angle, the partner became an all-consuming thing. When they needed something, the partner was there to absorb anything and everything with the bonus, of you know, sexy time, in most cases. Such people, in my view, are going to talk, and vent, and sap and drain the next closest thing to a romance whenever they are single, because that's what they do. They dump their shit on people, especially those they claim as "friends" until that dump is no longer required, and the romantic partner takes that position. Then when there is a break up, they need that out again, and so on. Naturally, they rarely if ever act as a conduit for the fears and issues of others around them. It takes more effort.

    Even if there is no romance involved with someone, a lack of reciprocity is to me, among the worst sins one can commit against an alleged friend. It's vampyric. I just invented that word, I think, but it applies; sucking all of the energy and life force out of someone else when weak, only to turn into something else and fly off when they have had their fill..leaving the "victim" drained, as it were.

    You're not a loser for wandering if such people are all right, especially once they have a established a pattern of entanglement in abusive relationships. It means you tend to have more empathy for the well being of other people than they do, for either others or themselves.

    I have found that I overestimated my friendship level with people at various points in the past, so maybe that's part of it. I don't think I do it as much as I used to, but its effects remain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vampiric is totally a word.

      I do have a pretty good sense for people who tend to do the kind of dumping thing you talked about, but I do try not to get too close to those people. It's when people don't necessarily do that and then ghost that I start to wonder. I never mind hearing every gory detail of someone's latest personal issue or whatever, as long as there is some reciprocity. We all need to vent once in a while. As long as my friends are willing to listen to me vent after they vent, I'm good.

      What I think is really problematic is continuing a friendship with someone whom you no longer like very much and only tolerate out of habit, but who still thinks you are good friends. At that point, just end the relationship.

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