Pride & Prejudice

This weekend was ridiculously lazy. Got absolutely nothing done on Saturday from my mental “to do list” so I crammed it all in to Sunday and still managed not to go nuts.

This weekend was also one for thinking.

Lately it’s like everyone I know is either getting married, having a child, or both. Certainly I’m happy that good friends have found that level of fulfillment but really, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been left out of some big secret. Someone said to me that “Generation X is growing up” which I guess to some extent is true, even if it is still a tad creepy to see people you grew up with, went to high school with, or shared “significant” times with to be walking down the aisle or pregnant.

But as I felt creeped out I asked myself why I was feeling this way. Surely I didn’t feel as if some people were meant to do certain things while others languished in a limited area. Or did I?

Those misconceptions, preconceptions and ideals I had about people are gone. This past year and half has been something else, boy. Let me explain. I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship – what does it really mean? who’s really a good friend to me? who have I been a good friend to?. Nothing earth-shattering and certainly I’m not the first person to have this kind of introspection, but important for me because I know quite a few people and get along with them OK enough but when it comes to sharing my thoughts, fears, dilemmas, etc… I immediately draw back and end up bottling things up. So I started to take a hard look at things and realised that I have very few friends, and even then, I was prompted to examine those friendships closely. How?

Who remembered my birthday? Perhaps the simplest and most overlooked indicator but it’s the one day truly for you so I figure a friend would not forget it, and would have the courtesy at least to give best wishes. And it’s not simply a matter of forgetting the date and having an inkling or remembering days later but completely forgetting?! Not gonna work. Who returns my phone calls or calls me every once in a while? Trus’, ain’t nothing more annoying than feeling like a damn stalker because you’re always calling to say what’s up. Needless to say, some numbers got tossed from my phone. Who can I trust to talk to openly and without fear that what I say is gonna make it half way around the world? I’m not a needy person and prefer not to depend on people even as I recognize that I need the support of others but a friend should be there for me to talk to openly and honestly as much as humanly possible. Not talking about endless 3 a.m. bawling phone calls but if you’re always (notice the strong emphasis) too busy, or babbling on about your life without listening to what I have to say, or aloof then the message you’re sending is that you’re not interested in a friendship. What you have in mind is more of a shrink-patient relationship. Since you’re not paying me, enough of you.

On all of these ‘conditions’ I’m on the receiving end and since friendship is, after all, a busy two way street I’ve been thinking hard about how much of a friend I have been. I’m confident that I’m a good listener and that I try my best to find the time to listen when people are talking to me about anything at all, and to give honest feedback.  But the preconceptions I have of people are really bad.  I’ve found that I’ve cast some people in very stagnant roles since forever. The ‘bad’ girl from high school is always the ‘bad’ girl? The (seemingly) sophisticated, popular person stays the same? Surely not…?! First impressions may last but they don’t necessarily have to be the only impressions you have; people change and so should the view of them and their actions. Actually, I think that impressions are really pre-judgments on the character and personality of a person so they shouldn’t stand forever at all. It’s not only the clichéd prejudices concerning race or gender or religion that are dangerous.

How willing are we to accept that people change and so should our ideas of them? Does it sting your pride a bit to admit that you were wrong about people, especially if you only ‘knew’ them from afar? I guess I’ve always known that people change but it feels like a giant and important step to admit that my ideas of them should be revised. Sounds simple but feels more complex.

As for the pedastals upon which I had placed certain relationships: they’ve come crashing down. Gone are the assumptions that me and so-and-so would be bosom buddies regardless of whatever went down, or that we’d never leave each other out. That some friendships inevitably outgrow the individuals involved is beside the point as it has more to do with how we think about treat and think about each other than anything else. If you’re meant to be friends from birth or whenever until forever then it will happen because you’ll keep in touch and in tune with each other throughout all that life brings. But if a friendship falls a part at the mere mention of disagreement or the existence of some distance then weren’t we kidding ourselves from the outset?

This has been some year and a half long journey. Think about this way: at your wedding or funeral, who do you see standing up in front of all present to say this was my friend and I’m proud to have been hers.

Maturity is not about getting older, but the acceptance of responsibility. – paraphrase of Pastor A.R. Bernard.

2 Responses to “Pride & Prejudice”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Surprised this post got no comments. Trust me, you aren’t the only in the situation. Again, and again, I wonder what happened to the bonafide friends I had in high school and what role I played in those friendships disappearing. What kind of an effort do we make to get in touch with our friends, and keep in touch? Somehow, between all the classes, hours of work, running chores, etc, we all HAVE to make time. Now to actually taking my own advice…Love&Peace [SR-L…figure me out]

  2. shumpynella says:

    I’m speaking to myself. Nothing new. Four years later I’ve decided to not stress anyone’s role. I just try to be the best person I can be. Often, I fall short of actually doing what I aught to but on some occasions I make it there. That is what works for me and everyone is doing what works for them (except some people are in the ME ME ME game ::sigh::). The people that appreciate me for the imperfect being that I am have stuck around, and those whose imperfections I can handle are still here. Sometimes you have to let go to receive. Weird I know but not everyone you want to be your friend should be one…

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