Bloggers and Friends

It appears to me there are some similarities between bloggers.  Some compulsion pushes us to do this.  I think we are all trying to be heard, and don’t feel really heard elsewhere, or that we want to connect with other people.  I know that is part of my need to write.  I need a connection with others.  I need a bigger audience.  I’m not sure what that says about my ego.  H says I have a big ego.  I think he’s wrong.

Just as I want to give up and go live in a yurt somewhere, there is this constant loneliness.  How lonely would I feel if I were truly alone?  I remember feeling lonely as a child.  Lonely in a house of ten people!  True, we all know that we can feel acutely alone even in a room filled with people.  For me, it’s wanting to be heard, to be seen.  A way to be noticed and to connect on some meaningful level.  I can talk weather and sports with anyone in an elevator, but I want more from people I call my friends.  I require more than that.

Family doesn’t teach us how to nurture relationships.  If  anything, I find many people who grow apart from family as well.  Seeing them only at holidays, weddings or funerals.  And most of us don’t want to that much.  I banned myself from all future family funerals after they wrote me out of my dad’s obituary.

Friends are difficult.  I guess my biggest problem with friendships is I don’t know how or why they work or don’t work.  I think as very young kids we all think friendships will last forever.  Then we go to school and we learn that sometimes someone is your friend only when no one else is around, and that from one day to the next you were never quite sure if you were still friends with someone.  As we get older, we supposedly gain understanding that friendships need to be nurtured.  You’re fifteen, what do you know about nurturing?  Then,  in college some of us made “lifelong friends.”  We learn to connect to each other, find common interests.  Interests that won’t change over the years.  Or will they?  Maybe for the first few years, then some of them start to fall off, seen only at periodic reunions, where you hug ecstatically and promise to stay in touch, which you won’t.

How do you nurture a friendship?  It’s not the same as nurturing a child, or a relationship, so how is it done?  I’ve always tried to be nice, caring and concerned.  I ask about someone’s health, and actually expect a response.  I try to remember their kids’ names and ask after them.  I try to think of their feelings when I might get upset with them.  In a word, I care.  And it hurts when you think your friend cares too, only to discover they don’t.  It does make one hesitant to take on the task of nurturing a new friendship.

Each time I leave a job, I leave friends behind.  I try to keep it going, but friends don’t necessarily travel well.  I mean, they live where they live, and the only thing you really have in common is your work.  I tried to share my interests with others, unfortunately, probably some of the time they weren’t interested.  When I knew I was going to retire, I started making jewelry and set up an online store.  Of course I told everyone at work and sent them the web address.  Not one of them said, “wow,” “good job,” or “atta girl.”

I met them for lunch and brought them samples of my stuff, all excited to share what I had created.  They all said nice things about the jewelry, took the free samples I offered, and that was the end of that.  Two of the women actually bought some items, and it made me feel so good.  Even if they never wore any of it.  It felt like they supported me.  Not that I expect them to support me financially, but at least a token?  My stuff is only $10 and I know these women spent more than $10 on costume jewelry weekly.  That’s not very fair of me, I know.  There are many reasons they wouldn’t choose to buy my jewelry.  I’m sure the style is not for everyone.  (The photos are of a couple of my rings.)  I wear them when I go out, and I get comments on them often.

Of course, with my jewelry not selling, I have over 100 pieces in stock.  What I would like to do, when I finally close my online store when I go back to work, I would give pieces away to new friends and acquaintances.  But then gift giving comes with a host of requirements.  What did I expect in return?  Did I expect something in return?  With over 100 pieces and far fewer friends, I have to stop this hobby before I get buried in cheap bits of glass and metal.

I haven’t studied much on friends and friendships, what makes them work.  Surely there are many self-help books I could turn to.  Maybe reading one would help.  I’ve always been a pretty solid proponent of self-help.  No matter how you get the info, through therapy at $250 an hour, or via a $14 book, you have to do the work required to make a change if you want a change.  I’m starting with Scott Forbes’, A Natural History of Families, sort of recommended by another blogger.  I hope it shines some light into understanding some of my family dynamics.  Maybe not really a self-help book, I think it contains some important information.

15 thoughts on “Bloggers and Friends

  1. I don’t know about your family dynamics that would make them leave you out of the obituary…that is plain crazy and more than hurtful…but I think your way of trying to be friends is exactly as most of us would do…Like you say some people just drift away..I’ve had it happen too…You just need to meet the one(s) that stick around and they’re hard to find ….Diane

  2. my youngest sister and i have a great friendship. being sisters does not guarentee the friendship though. we work at our relationship the way most relationships take work.

    i have been reading and thinking about your loneliness and friend issues. a couple of things occur to me. first it is easier to be friends with us because we are not going to judge you. if we did not care or want to be friends we would just not read your posts. second the old saying about you need to be a friend to have a friend is very true. since you seem to have little tolerance of the traditional nuances i have to wonder how serious you are about having friendships.

    the more you process this issue the better you will understand what you really want and what you are willing do to make it happen.

    wishing you peace of mind, soul and heart

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. When you say I have “little tolerance for social nuances” what do you mean? Not defensive here, I’m trying to grasp what it is I miss. Because obviously I am missing some cues. As I said, I try to do and say the right things, but apparently I’m rarely successful at that connection.

      1. the traditional social nuances include the very rituals you have expressed near contempt for. please keep reading, it is not my intention to offend you in any manner here.. see i too deplore the phoniness of such rituals. if someone says they look forward to getting to know me i wonder why. of course like most people i have learned to keep such questions to myself.

        one of my very best friends is someone who used to work for me. being the supervisor of two units and a large staff came at the cost of “work friendships.” however, one day i walked in to her office and said it appeared that we could be really good friends if we both understood that work was work and had nothing to do with our friendship. she agreed and even though we no longer work together and live a 1/2 hr apart we are dear friends. once after i retired some time had gone by without word from her. i called and set up lunch where i asked if i had offended her or done something she could not be straight with me about. she told me she has few friends and one reason was she fails to call. it is not something she means to do but once some time passes she is too worried the other person is angry and doesn’t call at all. we agreed that i would do the calling or texting and that has been our pattern. the funny thing is she has begun to call if she doesn’t hear from me:)

        i used to tell patients that friendship is much like a marriage. we meet people and think – okay your strange but i can handle your strange, others we meet and say nope too strange for me! sometimes i warn people that i can be a bit too direct but have the best of intentions. growing up i had no friends for reasons i won’t go into here. then joined the military and moved atleast once a year. i was 40 by the time i realized i liked this thing called friends.

        wishing you peace of heart

      2. I’m not offended, just confused. I’m surprised by the words you’ve chosen. I didn’t realize that’s how I came across. Like you, I consider myself to be pretty blunt, and give people similar warnings. I don’t think all social conventions are inane-just some of them and it’s more about the chosen words we say when meeting someone new. Pleased to meet you just seems a silly thing to say. How can it be true?

        I know I also have very strong opinions about many things. Sometimes inappropriately strong, but again, I’m a work in progress and don’t always mean to say things so strongly. Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe I choose strong words when a less agressive term might be better. Thanks for the help. 🙂

  3. There is a lot out there about breakups with romantic interests, but not so much about friends. I wrote a post about a lot of this stuff on a site called A Canvas of the Minds
    It’s about how we never really get away from wanting to sit at the cool table no matter how old we are.

    Post some pics of your jewlery on the blog like you did just now. I’ve seen people sell photos, promote books, all sorts of stuff. A lot of people like shopping online. Don’t give up a fun hobby because it doesn’t make a lot of money – do it for yourself! I’ve had to tell myself this about my blog. I’d love others to read it, but it’s most important that I do it because it’s something I love.

    Maybe I sounded preachy. Just my thoughts.

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