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.