Friend Maintenance

I’ve seen a lot of notices on journals lately about Friends list maintenance. For myself, I generally keep a pretty short list so it’s rare I need to do anything with it. I did eliminate someone once who’d found me on a random search (before I was “Friends Only”). His rampant insecurity was reflected in post after post about his mountains of cash and all the flashy things he had planned for said mountains. It was both boring and irritating, so we parted ways. I did not feel obliged to tell him I was cutting him. My guess was that he wouldn’t notice.

But this all has me thinking of real-life friend maintenance. Because I enjoy writing, I’m known for the long, chatty emails. I know that not everyone loves to write, so I don’t expect a quid pro quo. But recently, and for the first time, I’ve been paying a little more attention to what I put out versus what I get back. I’m normally a social socialist. I give what I’ve got to offer and take whatever is offered in return with little attention to balance. But two friends (who shall go unnamed) who’ve repeatedly and egregiously dropped the ball this year have brought the issue into relief. I can’t claim I don’t have any hard feelings, but I can honestly say that I don’t feel badly hurt or anything like upset. But I also feel comfortable at this point withdrawing. Not in a dramatic way. Not in a way that seeks to change their behavoir. And the truth is that if either friend would read what I’m writing now, s/he would be sad and ashamed and disappointed. Both of these people are grade A, really.

Maybe it’s because I’m married now, although I hope that’s not it. But I’m clearly moving into a time when I’m going to need to see adequate (which is, of course, totally subjective) efforts made in order to sustain my friendships. And of course I understand that time and circumstances change people’s ability to be there. And that’s cool. Whether it’s fair or not, I also apply different standards to different people? Got a kid? Then you’ll get a ton of slack from me. To a certain extent, existing friends are grandfathered in. Let’s say I’m still willing to do more of the work much of the time, just not most or all of the work. But new people in my life are facing a higher standard. I find myself avoiding deeper acquaintance with people who look like they will be needy of a lot of attention. I take this as an indication that I will wind up an emotional wet nurse if I stick around. And I don’t want to do that for someone who I don’t believe could/would do it for me.

I feel just self righteous enough about all of the above to know that I actually feel a bit guilty about it.

I’m trying to restrain myself from writing a thousand caveats. I’m lucky to have most of my friends. I don’t need a ton of attention. I don’t think what I have to offer is particularly special or better than what anyone else has to offer. Etc. Etc. Etc.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Its the way of the world. You crawl into a hole when you get married and you dont come up for air until you remember that you really do need other people.
    Oh sure, you will pay lipservice to it for a while, but your other friendships will take a backseat for a while.
    Its okay.
    Anyone who has a problem with it, well its not your problem
    Enjoy the honeymoon period, bolt the door, turn down the lights, crack open a bottle of wine and watch your favorite tv shows with your honey. Forget to invite anyone else over.
    Believe me, this is the best part

    Reply

  2. Grandfathered in! Woohoo!
    I am so going to take you for granted.

    Reply

  3. Thank you

    Reply

  4. You guys are a hat trick. You:
    — Are friends I hardly deserve
    — Have a kid
    — Are grandfathered
    So I think that means you can pretty much take rampant advantage if you like and I’ll probably thank you for it.

    Reply

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