Feeling Friendly: Part 5 – Pretend Friends

Life is busy now.  Life is different now.

Everyone says it.

What we learn from our relationships with other people often surprises us.  Because we learn what we do not expect to.

Often our relationships show us more about ourselves than they do the other person.  Or the combination that creates the plural you.  A lot of our learning – especially on a spiritual level – is reactive.  Those ‘ah ha’ moments are born from our reaction to something, someone.  And when we realize that we are in fact staring in a mirror, and not into the eyes of another, we tend to freak the fuck out.

Everyone does it.

Life has changed.  Now.

Knock, Knock?

Did you ever have one?  An imaginary friend.  A friend no one could see?  But you.

I was not that kind of imaginative child.  However.  I wonder if I have one (or more) now…

Sometimes I wonder if my “social media friends” are actually my “imaginary friends” since my “real friends,” I would assume, are the ones with whom I share real, in-person interactions.  AND if that is the case, then I am happily (and imaginarily) involved in several “friendships.”

Given that I do not have a true collection of “real friends” (more like a handful of neighbours and relatives) I relish the fact that out there I have a world (wide web) of support.  Like you fine folks who stop by here to read my posts.  Or the people who follow me on a certain pictorial outlet, who like and comment on my art (both edible and not).  Or the lovelies who follow (and order from) me on my wee little business page.  I personally like the distance and the closeness provided by these relationships.  Weird as that may sound.

It isn’t that I want to hide.  It isn’t that I am socially awkward (though I believe we all are in some way, the world has dictated changes we are not in control of and that is a hard pill to swallow).  BUT.  It is a way for me to flaunt my artistry.  And that is helpful.  I am not very good at self-promotion.  That is largely why my success is s-l-o-w-l-y trickling in…

DomestiCATed

Human beings are pack animals.  Sure you get the occasional rogue but for the most part we like “others” around us.  And that’s probably why (in addition to creating a working relationship with them) we domesticated animals.

Companionship.

I lasted all of ten days on my own.  When I got my first apartment.  And that was longer than I thought I would last.  One day, after work, I trotted off to the SPCA and adopted the greatest creature ever.  My cat.  TerrorAKA The Dudes, Dudey, Munchie Cat, Monkey Man

Our ‘pets’ (if forced, we prefer the term fur babies, but rarely differentiate between us and them) are a part of our family.  We consider them, and their complete well-being as we do our own, in every decision we make.  People bring animals in to their lives for many and different reasons.  Some do it for the right ones.  Some do it for the wrong ones.  Not unlike the people we bring in to our lives.

But in all of their lovely cuddles, kisses, entertainment and companionship we cannot lose sight of the fact that we chose to bring them in, we ultimately dictate their entire lives – we decide when and where they relieve themselves, when, what and where they eat – and we decide their purpose.  Shame on the people who take advantage of that.

Because ultimately the relationships we have with our animal companions is one that is greatly unbalanced.

Spousalships

Do we humans really need friends?  Are our ‘mates’ our friends?

I think all people benefit from comradery.  We undoubtedly feed off the energy created when a person becomes people.  We gain perspective, become enlightened, find inspiration when we interact with others.  And the benefits can become a source of support if the interaction is continuous.

I do not believe in plural marriage.  In fact, I think it is more cowardly than I do barbaric.  It really takes a lot of stuff to buckle down next to another person and embark on the wild ride of life.  People who think partnership/marriage is easy are just flat out wrong.  It reminds me of my first year at university.

I went away to a school that only offered residence (on campus) to first year students.  What will I do second year?  So I applied to and was accepted to be a don.  Phew!  Payment for the job is residence.  Boo-ya!

Until everything fell apart.

And a gal on my floor, whom I thought was a friend (I was a witness at her wedding earlier in the year, she had married her gay best friend for tax breaks on school, etc.), told the “administration” that I had attempted suicide (something apparently Brother Three protests to be true, though he was not there and the ripe old age of 8) and had been irresponsible regarding the maintenance of my diabetes.  They revoked my offer.  But I digress.

The point was supposed to be about the number of people living on the floor.  Most dons had 20-25 first year students.  My floor would have 11.  I was very put out.  I assumed the low number was a reflection of what they thought I was capable of or something to do with my diabetes.  Concerned I inquired and was told that it was indeed a reflection of what they thought I was capable of.  Fuck.  I knew I sucked.  And nothing to do with my diabetes.  I was told I was given what they had deemed to be the most challenging floor.  Management of the few is harder than the many…

Anyways.  Can our ‘mates’ be our friends?  I think so.  If you put the extra work in to it.  I think you can (and maybe should) have a friendship within and separate from a partnership/marriage.  This kind of relationship allows you to remove yourself from the love enough to be practical.  I have that with my husband and I am quite grateful for it.  Not because I have a hard on for the practical but because it has helped us make some very hard decisions with minimal hurt to either one’s ego or feelings.

The friendship shared also helps to bridge the gaps in the relationship.  Sometimes life takes twists and turns we don’t expect.  Sometimes there isn’t room for romance and passion.  Sometimes that friendship isn’t the relationship demise it has been portrayed to be; sometimes that friendship saves the relationship.  People are always in a hurry.  They want their desired outcome.  And they don’t want to do any of the work.  Sometimes you simply need to pause certain parts of your life in order to properly address other parts.  Been there.  Done that.

The hubs and I suffered a breakdown.  The last few years have been a rollercoaster.  In every imaginable way.  The distance between our hearts was quite great.  More and more it felt like we were co-existing.  And we were.  But whether we were silently conscious of it or not, we recognized an opportunity.  And became closer friends than we had ever been.  It was like our realization of that relationship allowed us to be more at ease in our marriage.  Circumstance had forced difficult conversations.  That required the love be put aside.  And that, in turn, created opportunity.  To open dialogues and delve deeper.  Laying it all out on the table, baby.  And then realizing that if it all falls apart we would still – on some level – have each other.  For more than the sake of the child we share.

I don't know this couple.  But they clearly need to work on things.  Hopefully it all works out for them.  Like me and the hubs.
I don’t know this couple. But they clearly need to work on things. Hopefully it all works out for them.

Like me and the hubs.

What does friend mean if merely not foe?

We need to be kinder to each other.  More understanding.  Maybe even just mind our own business and realize no one is thinking about you as much or in the way you may think they are.  Because they have their own shit to deal with.  Because life gets busy.  Because everything changes.  Even our relationships.

Because it is supposed to…

2 thoughts on “Feeling Friendly: Part 5 – Pretend Friends

  1. Each one of your sections could have been a post on its own. Now I see why my posts drive people crazy.
    🙂
    I loved that first part comparing virtual to imaginary friends, yet clearly not equating the two.
    The pet section was a novel take that I, at least, have seen no where else, for all the reams and reams written about pets. In really very few words, how much you say about the odd nature of a friendship that isn’t, a love that is, a relationship that has at its core the power imbalances of need and feed.

    I also have never seen the basis for a marriage’s success said quite that way. Yes, I’ve heard people say “My spouse is my best friend”, or “Your spouse should be your friend.”, but you explain that there need to be two threads, as if running side by side, so that one is always suspending the marriage above the chasm should the other one fray or break.

    Nicely done, Rebecca.

    • Thank you very much. I am very passionate about practicality which tends to rub some people the wrong way. I can come across cold. Which I understand, however, in the right frame of mind, I am sure people would understand that really isn’t the case. Life is a very tricky game of scales…

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