“I know that we have grown apart and that’s as it should be. We learn what we can from certain people, then we move on after we’ve taken what we need. When we learn nothing new about ourselves in a relationship that’s when the relationship is over. Or it’s over the moment when we’re afraid to learn something new about ourselves.”
Garak in “A Stitch in Time”
In my life I have had some very good friendships. I’ve never been the one to have “lots of ‘friends'”. I’ve always had only a few, often times during my life only one or two real friends — or none. But if I had friends that I called that name, they were friends I could count on.
It was the kind of friendship that was succinctly defined by Doc Holliday in “Tombstone”:
“Doc, why you doin’ this?”
“Wyatt is my friend.”
“Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends.”
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson and Doc Holliday in “Tombstone”
But unfortunately, some of these friendships are in the past — because I have ended them. The last time I did this was a double act. I have had two very good friends who were also friends with each other. But I ended my friendship to them, among other reasons, because one of them became very arrogant over time and treated other people disrespectful without reason, and the other one became very conservative. But the main reason was not the way they acted towards others, it was the way they acted towards me. And it wasn’t that they changed in their interaction to me. The problem was that they did not change — when I did change.
Both treated me in a way, sorted me into a category, I no longer did fit in. I changed, but they did not notice it — and this constrained me, held me back. While I did develop, changed and (in my opinion) improved, they did see me as I was years ago.
And I could not make them see these changes.
They reacted to prompts automatically without noticing that their old and well-oiled reactions were inadequate for the person they were now facing. I could either let them force me into an old mold that no longer fit me or I could leave.
And since I liked myself more than them — I did leave.
It was a hard decision and I have often been criticized by later friends because of this. I have also heard that I am overly strict and should be more forgiving. There might be some truth in that, but I still maintain that it was the best decision I could make under that circumstances.
I am responsible for myself, I liked them but I liked myself more.
I think that friendship should be in the present and improve the future — it should not use up the present to reminisce about the past and impede the future.
But it was a hard decision nonetheless, and I have spend some time thinking about them. I feel that I have abandoned them, that my decision to end the friendship came without warning and was extremely unfair — and I think it really was. But I still maintain that it was the right decision — for me. It might have been inconvenient for them, but it was soul-damaging to me.
People can change — and they can also change for the better. But they cannot do it if their environment always tries to force them to stay the same, simply because that’s what’s best for them, because it is familiar and safe — and does not require any effort of them.
Leaving my friends has destabilized me, there have been times when I would have needed them, their support, their advice. And friends are hard to replace, especially in my age. It’s very hard to meet people with whom you want to be friends again, because the standards are very high and we are not so forgiving to strangers than we are to friends.
But even if I might end up alone, it was worth it.
I’m rather living up to my potentials and enjoy my life, than cripple myself to make life more convenient for them.
I can really relate to this posting and think I might save it to look at again. I also want to add that I just stumbled across your blog a few days ago when searching for exactly what you discuss in “Organizing Creativity”. I am going to be beginning graduate school in the Fall for Painting and have been accused of not being focused enough (I have many areas of interest). I’m one of those creatives that has been big on ideas, but lost sometimes in realizing the results. I’ve tried to ‘collect’ my ideas, but it always seemed to end up an inefficient method, leaving most of those ideas untapped. I look forward to reading your book in depth online and later ordering the hard copy. I have great hopes of collecting ideas in a way which I will truly use and realize. It is a great time in my life when I feel I have the time, maturity, and desire to put in the hard work required (I’m 44)!Thanks for your blog’s role in helping me realize such goals!