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16 April 2006 @ 11:36 pm
As promised  
A couple weeks ago, I promised a reaction to speedball's latest post.  Several things have prevented me from making that post, not the least of which being that I don't really know how I feel about it.

My initial reaction was, of course, to the extent of the oversimplification.  You take the very basic gist (he hurt me, I hurt him too), and expand it one minimal step, and you get what he posted:  "I trusted him with information that he didn't want to know, and he shared it with people that I asked him not to."  This does not get to what actually happened nearly to the extent that it deserves, and makes me out to be a horrible horrible person.  I deserve one of those horribles, but the other belongs squarely with him -- for you see, the information he shared with me was hurtful to another of my friends.  It eventually (roughly eight months later, mind you -- that's how long I kept the secret) became hurtful to another of my friends, who he did NOT specifically ask me not to tell.  That's the one I arranged to be told.

Whatever the case, that's all irrelevant at this point.  It was just my initial reaction, which is the only reason I mention it.  What I just typed was another extreme oversimplification (the only way to avoid that is with the complete story -- which is his to tell, not mine, so don't ask me), and makes him out to be the sole bad guy.  He wasn't - I had indeed promised not to tell anybody (except lightways), and while I technically didn't break that promise, I went so far outside the bounds of the promise that I may as well have broken it.  It was a scummy thing to do, and while "I just couldn't take the torture anymore" may have been my reason, it's no excuse.  I broke my promise, and that's not cool.

My second reaction was an extreme "me too."  Things got way out of hand between us, both of us acted selfishly (although to be fair, it's not like we didn't know how the other was feeling -- the two of us did talk to each other while the relationship was falling apart), and I really do miss what we once had.  It may or may not have been an illusion...  but either way, sometimes the steak tastes better inside the Matrix.

That second reaction has been driving me a lot lately.  It's caused me to start the conversation with speedball a number of ways in the past few months -- he's taken his time about responding (and sometimes incompletely), but it's invariably been me that broke off communications again.  That's because of my third reaction.

The third reaction is that, while everything he mentioned about his actions is true (and can almost be construed as an apology, although neither of us has gone that far yet), he has yet to mention the worst thing he did.  The "he hurt me, I hurt him" thing can be resolved - I'm actually ready to do the apology exchange for those things.  But they're completely overshadowed by the "he hurt my mother and fiancee (at the time - wife now) - not to mention me - in extreme ways that can't even begin to be described - all with a single sentence."  I've asked him about it, and his response was to admit he did it while pointing his blame finger elsewhere.  As my classmate Mona says to her children, whenever you point your finger at someone else, you've got three more fingers pointing back at you.

Until I get that he understands why that was wrong, and that he's genuinely sorry for it - and not just for having been caught - nothing else matters.  It was so acidic and hurtful that no level of frienship can be retrieved with it unresolved.

This is the poison in the friendship.  He's the one with the power to at least attempt a fix.  So far, he hasn't even tried.
lindasings on April 19th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
You've caused me much reflection on the nature of relationships. There so much flowery stuff (especially on the net) to define "Friendship," but I think it's really much shallower.

"Friendship" isn't far removed from "Good Company." It comes about when you find someone you like to hang out with. You have common interests. He makes you laugh. You can look forward to a good time with him. After a while you have a shared history, which deepens the relationship. Beyond that...? Well, a really good friend will drop everything to help you out when you need it -- but you, as a really good friend, will do your best to not need it. After all, you've got your life partner now, and your family, and that's the appropriate place for inter-dependence.

To maintain a friendship requires only that you enjoy his company and that you tolerate his shortcomings. First, of course, you need to identify and understand his shortcomings so you know if you can live with them. If he's an alcoholic, for instance, you know you'll need to take over the driving when you go somewhere with him. If he's a kleptomaniac, you won't invite him to your house.

So the only question is, does the displeasure caused by his shortcomings outweigh the pleasure found in his company? Once you make an informed decision, that person cannot hurt you. The worst he can do is cause you irritation.

I told you about my exchange with Speedball, not to drive a further wedge between you, but to help you understand exactly what kind of person he is -- in a word, immature. I put it to you also that he's unlikely to change. It will be difficult to anticipate his reaction to anything you do or say, because he is incapable of working things out in an adult manner. That means the responsibility for keeping the relationship stable rests with you. It's "high-maintenance" and you need to weight whether or not it's worth the trouble.

(BTW, it's normal for a person who has been hurt by a long-time friend to blame his friend's shortcomings on the new person in his friend's life. If Speedball felt that his relationship with you had changed, it's understandable that he would blame your fiancee for changing you.)