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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How to Test a Friendship

I got to thinking last night about the number of relationships I've lost due to one little thing: a single instance of dissidence.

Here's what I mean:

A family member who asked me for an opinion on a Precious Moments decorative plate (yes, seriously) and when I gave it, it became instantly clear that it was the wrong opinion. Boom. Years of not talking to me. Guess I should've been given script ahead of time. I didn't know my lines.

Another family member who asked for suggestions on what to do with her kids, one of which is autistic, because yelling didn't seem to help. When a friend suggested spanking and the family member agreed, because that had always worked in the past, I offered another suggestion. Boom. Years of not talking to me. I always get confused when suggestions are asked for, but clearly not wanted.

A friend posted a hurtful, fat-shaming meme. I sent him a story I had just read that day about the woman featured in that meme. Boom. Haven't heard from him since. That's something I would've wanted to know. Turns out, not everyone does.

Another friend, a self-described defender of women, allowed a friend of his to attack me and other sexually assaulted women on his page. I said two words to him about it, "I'm disappointed." Boom. Evidently, that was too much for our friendship to take. That's some strength right there, I tell ya.

Now, in the name of full disclosure and fairness, I used to be the exact same way...when I was a teenager. It didn't take much for me to write someone off. One little disagreement had me sending you packing. When I think back on those days, I cringe. Thank goodness for time and the growth that, hopefully, comes with it.

I have no real point. I have no answers. I guess I naively figured that this character flaw (and yes, having been there myself, I do believe it to be a flaw) was one of youth and immaturity, one that would have long ago been outgrown by those my age. I just don't know, but I know it wasn't likely to get off my mind until I wrote it down, so here we are.

I'm not sure I'll ever figure folks out, so I'll just keep trying to be the best me I know how to be, learn lessons and improve along the way, and teach my son to do the same.

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