And not real friends after all
Many responses I’m getting to my rabid anti-fascist/pro Antifa threads, here and elsewhere, and that I’m seeing other writers speaking about in other postings, deal with and consider the end of friendships.
Some of these are long-term and once much-cherished friendships, now destroyed, apparently forever.
So I thought this posting about friendship, perhaps a slightly deeper analysis/commentary/expression/I-don’t-know-quite-what, might be of some value.
It’s about a standard, vanilla-style ending to a friendship that never really existed in the real world in the first place.
Her association with me always felt situational in that she based her desire to be friends on her belief that maybe I could do something for her, something that would advance her career as a writer.
Many writers who have had a bit of luck and received attention for our writing, have faced things like this.
The first time we met she had reached out to me and asked for an interview for an article she wanted to write shortly after I’d won a big, national literary award.
I was excited to be famous, or whatever I was about to become, and I was happy at the prospect of meeting her and talking about myself (inflated ego anyone? But I digress, that’s a subject for a different posting).
We agreed to meet at a chain restaurant at 1:00 p.m.
By 1:20 she still wasn’t there. I was angry; If I go to the trouble of getting someplace on time, I expect the person I’m spozed to meet to be on time also, NOT 20 minutes late. Especially if I’m the famous one, offering my time to the less famous one . . .
When she finally showed up and started in with no mention at all of being late, no apology, no acknowledgment, I scolded her, “I’ll never wait 20 minutes for you again, EVER.” I said, in my famous-man pants.
She started in with a bunch of excuses, none of them too great: no bleeding children, no emergency appendectomies, no flaming auto/train/airplane disasters.
We got on with the interview.
I kind of let it go and we kind of became kind of friendly. After that, she was almost always late whenever we’d meet but never 20 minutes again and often with a better excuse.
This all happened some years ago.
Why do I tell you this? If it instructs anyone on the value of showing respect for others and not letting one’s passive-aggressive desperate need to make the world prove how loveable and worthwhile you are (by making someone wait for you), or to make you feel like you are no better or worse than anyone else, if it does that, it will be worth it (at least to me).
Further, I think if COVID-19 and our present insane politics have taught us nothing else, they’ve made it clear that we are all in this thing, pretty much on our own.
Reevaluating who we love and are loved by, thinking about what the more important elements of friendship are, seems like a good idea to me in these times, especially for those of us putting ourselves out there with what we publish.
We must get away from competitiveness in our friendships, by seeing what we are doing, owning our own b.s and spotting it in others.
At my age now, although, come to think of it I’ve always felt this way, I don’t want to have any enemies.
Yet I know there’re several (maybe more than several) people, once friends and intimates, who either hate me or intensely dislike me often out of their love for Trump and his fascistic ilk and their anger at my loathing of him when I express these views in print.
In each case where I’m aware of their animosity, I think I largely understand why they feel as they do. We have had words and fallen out and there seems no way back. And I don’t want to try and fix it any more than they do.
The cause of these social problems is often something specific to our previous friendship and sometimes based in the now of madness of our culture and my need as a writer, to comment on it.
In truth, I’m not real fond of some of these folks anymore either.
I fear that if one is living a life of integrity, it’s impossible not to accrue some animus in the hearts of some people. It simply comes with the territory, whether inspired by jealousy, envy, or disagreements across a wide range of matters.
And yes, I’m aware of how high and mighty this sounds and that it could be that I’m the problem given that the common denominator in each of these situations is me. So be it.
As writers we have no choice but to stand behind our voices. It’s important to know that sometimes there is a big price to pay or this.