Nothing Special, Really

Friday, February 9, 2007

Caution: Mostly Whining Ahead

Every once in a while, I'll post something on here that's less of a tongue-in-cheek recap of what's been happening in my world and more of an honest outpouring of my thoughts. This is one of those times.

When I moved up to Seattle I knew that I would be fracturing many of my relationships with my friends. I've had friends move away before, and it's usually when someone moves away that you find out just how strong your friendship. Inevitably you will lose all but the closest of friends. How long someone keeps in contact with you will vary and it's not always based on the strength of your friendship, but when distance is put between friendships it makes it harder to stay in touch because you're no longer a part of their immediate life. Out of sight, out of mind.

I haven't been blind to this and I knew that I would become victim to this as well. Now, in this day and age we have things like email and Myspace that allow distant friends to stay in contact, even become reaquaintted with little effort from either party. I've been able to use both of these to keep in contact with friends back home who otherwise would have drifted off into the distance, only to reappear whenever I made a trip back to AZ. What has been the source of frustration is how many friends I have that I considered to be "good friends" that have drifted away. Friends that I thought would stand the test of time, that wouldn't be burdened by the distance between us. I'm realizing now that this isn't the case.

Before I continue, let me throw out some disclaimers. One, there are a handful of good friends that have steadfastly continued to keep in contact, even putting more effort into it than I have, and for that I am eternally grateful. Two, I am more than willing to admit that I have not kept in contact with others consistently as well. There's a number of reasons for this: I really don't like talking on the phone all that much, I'm inherently lazy, and I have other relationships (one in particular) that I'm continuing to build as well.

However, my counter to those who try to throw point two at me is this: I have, in most cases, been the one to initiate the contact, especially after I moved to Seattle. And I'm not talking just about my generic mass emails I send on occasion, I'm talking about actual phone calls, voice mails, specific emails, birthday wishes. Did I fall off the face of the Earth for a while? Admittedly, yes. But I've always made a point to make up for my disappearances, which is all I really expect in return.

I recently sent an email to the wife one good friend, and she herself is a good friend as well. In fact, these two were some of my closest friends for a good period of time. I hadn't heard from them since my last trip to AZ, except once when I made a flurry of phone calls on one lonely trip to Oregon. It was nearing Christmas time and I wanted to get in contact with them, if anything, to get their home address, but also just to check in. I knew they had quite a bit on their plate recently, so I wasn't upset after my first phonecalls and voicemails went unreturned. But when the second one didn't, nor did my email, I couldn't help but feel disappointed.

I finally heard back about a month later with an explanation of what was going on recently, and it was then that I sent off the aforementioned email to the wife. I hated to communicate my feelings like this, especially since my disappointment was more with her husband than her, but this was the only chance I knew I'd have their audience. I explained to her how I felt and that I was upset with their lack of correspondence, and I did so in a tone that I felt was non-threatening or harsh. I've yet to hear back from either one of them.

The two friends in question are not the only ones that I feel disappointed with. I have admittedly been more sensitive about theirs than others because, especially in the case of the husband, he is one of only less than five guy friends I have right now that I consider to be good friends. In fact, all of my friendships with my close guy friends have changed to the point that it's tough to call them close friends anymore. I've never been one to be part of a group of guys that are "like brothers", but these guys have been the next closest thing. I tend to forge friendships with girls easier than I do with guys for a number of reasons, so my good friendships with other guys mean that much more to me.

But this isn't about just one person, it's about the nature of friendships in general. I had a conversation with my girlfriend last night, and she pointed out that some people are just bad at getting back at other people or keeping in contact, and that they eventually become friends that you see when you visit but that's about it. I agreed that there are friends like that and I've come to accept that, but I don't believe that all friends should be like that, and I believe that in the case of a good friend, a failure to keep in contact or even return a phone call (however long it takes) is more than just a personality flaw, it's (for lack of a better term) disrespectful.

Or perhaps that it's just a symbolism of differences in each other's perception of the friendship. Perhaps what I perceived to be strong friendships are viewed as casual friends or drinking buddies by the other. Maybe the solution isn't to expect more from certain friends. Maybe the solution is to just be content with the friendships that I still have and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe I should stop feeling so slighted when I don't hear from certain friends and just accept it as what our friendship has become.

The problem with that is I'm fiercely loyal to my good friends and I feel that certain friendships are worth fighting for, even if that means that I have to put forth more effort than the other. I get upset when I don't feel that efforts are being reciprocated fairly, but I also don't know if that's worth abandoning friends over. But I can't help but feel upset when some can't even remember a fucking birthday.

(Yes I know, I'm not always on time with birthdays myself, but at least I'm close, or at the minimum very apologetic if I miss it)

The other part of the problem too is that I'm not always the best at making new friends. I'm a bit of a recluse and often shy, and it's difficult for me to find someone that I'm comfortable with to truly be myself and become friends with. Most of my friends up here I've met through my girlfriend, and those that I've met elsewhere I hardly keep in contact with. (Note: for those that I've met elsewhere, I COMPLETELY admit to the possible hypocracy of this post and the fact that you very well could make the same comments to me). So I get bothered when I feel that my friends back home are drifting away because I don't have all that many friends to begin with.

I don't regret ever moving to Seattle, and given the chance to go back I would still make the same decision. I wouldn't give up what I have right now for anything in the world, but maybe that's because I've already given up enough. Perhaps I'm just naive and idealistic, but it's been eye-opening to me what I've had to sacrifice by moving to Seattle.


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