It sounds kind of stupid when you say it in that manner. “I need to work on caring a little less”. I mean, how many times do you turn on the news and think that the world would be a better place if only people cared more about other people?
For me though, part of the problem is caring too much. To be clear it makes me a great writer, the ability to observe and distill human behavior and situations. I take in everything like a sponge unfortunately because that is how I am built, personality wise. Introspective. Evaluative. I like to see how people work, why they do the things they do and understand their motivations. And in understanding other people, I learn to understand (and improve) myself throughout life.
I love people. Truly, one of the best things I enjoy is sitting somewhere busy and observing (like I did in Toronto). Sensory overload sure, but human beings are fascinating! From the interactions between a hot girl and her boyfriend, to a child ‘playing’ his Mom for some candy at the grocery store line, human beings are complex creatures. And to me, they don’t always make sense.
I have the kind of husband that is truly a best friend. Bless him, he listens to everything that comes out of my mouth. If you have ever had a conversation with me you know that is cause for a trophy of some sort. He finds ME fascinating and perhaps a little too sensitive, trusting in ways that he will never be. I am the first person to say “oh look, that guy is hanging with his friends” and Kevin will be like “Lori, that’s a drug deal…”. [Insert horror face] Or “Hey Kevin look, the Mexican guys are hanging out” and Kevin will be like “Lori they are waiting for some Texan to pull up and put them in the back of a truck for work today”. [Insert horror face]… particularly after the truck pulled up.
I have sent emails and tried to resolve with a few people (four actually) who I feel I have unresolved experiences with. I was thinking how much it would piss me off if I was hit by a car, dying on the road and taking inventory of ANYONE who had outstanding issues with me. The concept was that I would initiate a conversation with them (two way) to first listen…. to their experience and their side of the ‘story’. Then ask questions, because inevitably their side of the story would confuse me if I was hearing it for the first time. Questions are good. And then apologize for the part I played in the negative experience with the hope that the individual(s) would then be brave enough to admit their part… and apologize to me.
Then in my happy, less simple than I’d like it to be brain… we could both move on with our lives.
The goal of the “peace project” for 2015 was not to rekindle relationships that went south. I think that people outgrow each other constantly in friendships. It really has more to do with the stage you are in, within your own life. For instance, if you are going through a divorce and single, chances are you are going to want to hang around with people who are divorced and single. Not to say you won’t have other friends, but hanging out with happily married couples with kids … will probably rub you the wrong way and make you involuntarily feel resentful, right? I know because when my life progressed into relationships, I found certain friendships greatly challenged and it had a culling effect. Like speaks to like.
For the record, I am able to have relationships with single, divorced, super elite business women … (who I am slightly jealous of but love dearly and admire)… I like who I like.
Last week I was moved and delighted to have someone approach me with a sincere, peaceful apology. She was a friend of a former best friend, and had taken out a pretty significant online “hate” campaign against me, in defense of her friend who had not parted ways with me peacefully. I parted peacefully… I said I had had enough, and saw my way out of a friendship that was not mutually beneficial any longer. And I learned that walking away without fighting is sometimes even more painful for some people than trying to work it out.
See, I own that… I have always thought that walking away was a kindness when you realize it’s not going to work anymore. I understand the term is “Ghosting” and it applies to both romantic relationships and friendships. I’ve Ghosted my parents, some online friendships and certainly a few fellows I dated (although I think that kind of Ghosting makes sense… few people remain friends after dating).
I think arguing and negativity are a waste of resource and energy. I think it also dampens and exhausts the spirit. But in the past I have become entangled in relationships and situations where the negative just keeps repeating over, and over, and over again. And it strikes me that remaining in the negative is something of a comfort zone for some people. They know how to be angry and malicious. They know how to be manipulative or frankly, an asshole and there is comfort in that. It is far easier to remain in that zone than it is to take a mirror and start extrapolating WHO you are, WHO you are being, WHERE you are in your life and what you OWN in terms of the decisions you have made (good and bad) that have impacted other people.
It’s called being self-aware. Truly… truly self-aware, when you can point the finger at yourself first and own your actions.
To the lady who apologized to me, thank you. Yesterday my former landlady from Windsor, Ontario called me about a piece of “junk mail” and I realized that not all people matter enough for a resolution. She was a psychotic disaster… I have no desire to be in touch with anyone who is a perpetual pain in the ass. Psychiatrist I ain’t… I like happy people.
But resolution is not reconciliation. Friendships that burn out, burn out for a reason also. People change, needs change and lifestyle, goals, geography and compatibility all play a factor in determining the viability of a friendship. Diane, Christina some friends/relationships transverse that stuff. You are stuck with me ladies… I love you more than air and appreciate you every day. Sonja, Mel and Haley… thank you for getting to know me and letting me start to know you.
And I am sorry that “Ghosting” was the wrong approach. I sincerely thought it was the least painful way to see myself out of something that wasn’t working friendship wise rather than arguing or emotional sniping. And I have made a few efforts to “own” my behavior and feel good about that. But I do think it takes a certain strength to own the less flattering bits… and not everyone is able to do it. Acknowledging that, I won’t hold my breath for apologies anymore. It’s kind of like asking a worm to roller skate right? Right.
Who is in your life is meant to be in your life. I have faith in that. And those that have left, make room for new and wonderful friendships with people you have more in common with. I think it’s really that simple. I am a slave to the people I love… but it is impossible to love and be loved by everyone. It’s best to focus perhaps on the ones who love you back.
I’ve heard a rumor that I am an amazing wife, Aunt and Step-Mommy… I’ll work on being a better friend in the future.