Monday, October 08, 2007

Man in the Mirror

Been thinking a lot about this topic. You don't just break up with men - your boyfriends and your lovers. You break up with your friends, too. The latter gets little attention.

I have never actively broken up with a friend. Passive aggressively, certainly. Those are the friends whose phone calls you gradually stop returning and you never have the conversation you owe them. "You are irritating the fuck out of me for XYZ and I need a break." "You are a toxic drunk [substitute any addiction here] who embarrasses me or, in any event, makes me question going out in public with you." "I need to unsubscribe to your daily crisis newsletter." "I can no longer remember why we were friends." "Everything about our friendship seems one-sided and I feel taken advantage of." Also in this category are other friends who didn't necessarily irritate the fuck out of you, but from whom you clearly needed a break. Likewise included are the friends with whom lifestyle changes have distanced you and you no longer have the energy to maintain a long-distance relationship - in every sense of the word -- and you just let it taper off.

In my frustrating experience, there is a breakup of a friendship where you are the dumpee, so to speak, and the dumper lacks the sack to confront you. Unlike the passive aggressive endings that I fantastically described above, these are the relationships where one person feels wronged, but doesn't fucking say it. It is one thing to conclude that the relationship needs a break because of your reactions to it. It is another to be actively pissed off and not having the sack to say why.

Maybe this is all just the receiving end of the passive aggressive break up, and, in at least one of my friendship breakups, that is certainly true. I had that same experience in law school, with someone I have mentioned before. L was my friend in law school that I shared almost everything with and was someone I believed to be a friend for life. Unfortunately, L had little going for her in terms of network connections, and our friendship fell victim to her opportunistic aspirations. In short order, she sold me and our considerable friendship out because she thought she might be able to hitch her wagon to a stronger carriage.

Sadly, I have recycled this friendship more than once. She is not the last person I went out on a limb for, only to find out that the friendship wasn't worth it. I will spend the afterlife contemplating these and other folks. I feel guilty about every slight, unreturned phone call, etc. I cannot imagine abject betrayal, although I do think I once blogged about revealing a quasi-friend's STD to a very close (male) friend. I am still haunted by that and am not at all sure I did the right thing. I have mentally composed an apology to the quasi-friend a million times.

In an effort to come full circle, I think I am getting a taste of my own medicine. I have had a friend not return a phone call (understandably, I guess, as I had checked out for the past two months), and had another former friend not return a letter. Without sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, I am nonetheless wondering about the folks who shy away from direct confrontation. I never have. All of my passive aggressive endings were just that - passive -- where the former friend didn't challenge it and it just sort of died a semi-natural death. I returned H's calls (by way of example, and a great story for another time), as well as those from T and R.

I think I just hate being passive aggressive or being perceived as such. It would pain me to know someone out there thought I was a pussy. It really would. Am a lot of things, most of them flawed, but not a pussy. And tonight, for the very first time, as I was contemplating platonic friendships, I realized something that really helped.

MRE is a pussy. Big time. I wouldn't allow myself to think it, let alone write it, but now, I kind of need to. Such a fucking pussy. And worst of all, he has to know it, every morning when he looks in the mirror. Fuck , that has to suck. I have no idea how such folks can look in the mirror, although I suspect it involves a great deal of self rationalization. Good night and good luck with all of that. I would hate to know that someone I once loved thought of me as I think of MRE. Or B, for that matter. Although B has a lot more balls and spine.

With the litany of mistakes and missteps I have made, I can still say that I have no reason to blink at my reflection on account of being a pussy. I truly cannot imagine walking down that cowardly of a road that you cannot man up and have a frank conversation with someone you used to love. Perhaps that is why I cannot completely ditch B, or anyone else I ever loved, on whatever level. On this particular topic, B and I are strangely of like minds.

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