Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Historical Landmarks

I have always wondered what the deal is with people wanting to preserve everything.  We insist on preserving old falling down buildings when they could be put to better use being razed (and not to make condos!) because they're historic, we place high value on first edition books as collectibles even though they're too fragile to be read, we hang onto the idea that our first love should be our only, and we insist on telling people we will be friends forever when that realistically cannot happen.  Our obsession with holding onto things of the past keeps us from enjoying our present and future in many cases, with the exception of paying a lot of money for old books I guess but even then you could argue that $120,000 could be better spent.

I have never really been able to hang onto close friends for long.  It's hard when you see someone so frequently and spend so much time talking to them about everything to not gradually become annoyed with things they do, or become so similar that you're almost in competition for everything.  I guess in that sense most of my friendships have been like passionate May-December romances: you meet and things seem meant to be and you spend all your time together until it just burns out because nothing can keep up with that intensity.

The friends I've had for the longest are probably the ones I speak to with the least frequency, and that is a good thing.  I don't really like talking on the phone or texting all day so if someone wants me to then I just can't really handle it.  I had a very close friend (our era of being BFF was longer than May-December but similarly short-lived when you compare it to "forever") who was like this - she would text me all day and come to me with all of her issues (and she had a lot of them) and that was fine until it just became too much.  I have no problem helping friends out and I even love having them come to me for my opinion and advice but it's so hard when the friend is in constant turmoil and needs so much from you.  It became like more of a relationship, a relationship I would have not stayed in had she been a romantic partner, and I realized I was hanging on because of some sense of duty to her rather than actually enjoying being friends with her.

With the amount we argued and disagreed on, if she had been a boyfriend I would have very quickly removed myself from the situation.  I don't like those super passionate breakup-to-makeup relationships although I can see the appeal for some people, and I wouldn't want to be in one with a romantic partner, so why was I staying in one with a friend?  She has been trying to keep in touch with me recently and I've noticed a tremendous change in her life and demeanor towards me, which is good.  I am interested in how she's doing because I care about her but I am also hesitant to get back into that same toxic relationship where she makes me feel bad about everything about me and then I tell her that and she calls me too sensitive or a baby and then we don't talk for a few days and then we make up and are best friends again.  Maybe I am too sensitive (actually I am sure I am), but then maybe that also means I just can't handle being friends with someone who can't be similarly sensitive to my sensitivity.

So why can you dump a boyfriend but not a friend?  Why is one fundamentally more stigmatized than the other?  How come promises made of "forever" to a friend are for some reason more binding than those made to a significant other?  I find a lot of people grappling with this, particularly men.  Men are more likely to have big groups of friends and they just will never eliminate one from the group.  Even when a group member tries to break away, they will ostracize him for it and try to bring him back by guilt tripping him.  But that doesn't make sense to me - people change tremendously over a short period of time during their teens and twenties, so if someone wants to do something different why can't we just let them go their own way?  If they said they no longer got the same enjoyment from being with a girlfriend and didn't have the same interests anymore we would encourage them to let go of the relationship, but for whatever reason we always encourage people to keep trying when the relationship is a friendship.  Making friends definitely gets harder as you get older, but so does finding people to date so I don't really see why hanging onto one is so much more important than the other.

I loved going to Las Vegas with the girls I did because I really didn't know any of them super well.  There is very little fighting involved in the early stages of getting to know someone, assuming you already know enough about them to know they aren't different from you on the most basic levels.  It was nice and refreshing to be doing something typically reserved for lifelong friends with new friends, and I am really glad I did it.  Hopefully, I even made some lifelong friends in the process.

I would share some stories but really, even though they were fun and interesting to me they're probably hardly different from other interesting stories other people come back from Vegas with, and I'm sure you're about as interested in reading about them as I typically am in reading about others' (which is to say, not at all).

I am going to post some pictures but preface them with the fact that I do not make good picture faces.  I really don't.  I don't know why, I need to practice my picture smile I think, it's just bad and uncomfortable looking.  It really belies my social awkwardness which is a shame because usually otherwise people would never guess.


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