Far too long ago, my virtual friend and blogger, Michelle Weaver from Pinky Poinker nominated me for a blogging award. To fulfil the award I needed to tell my readers several things about myself that they might not know already.
I’m pretty candid on this blog so most of you know most of my sordid secrets but one topic I do shy away from are my thoughts on friendships.
I’ve never been very good at the whole friendship thing.
Then I stumbled across this quote from Meryl Streep this week, and it summed up exactly how I feel at this moment in my life, about how my relationships with friends and my tolerances in life have changed with middle age. I couldn’t have verbalised it more succinctly myself.
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
It might be argued that Meryl has far more reason to feel arrogant about her lot than I do with mine, but like her, I can’t be assed with things that I take no pleasure from these days. In the past I’ve tried to attract friends through wining and dining them and pretending to be much more fun than I am, but I’ve come to realise that faking it doesn’t cultivate long-term friendships and many abuse that strategy anyway.
Which is how I’ve reached this point in my life where I’m finally brave enough to accept that if people don’t like me, I won’t slink away with my pride in pieces – we are all very different as people, have come from very different nurtures and developed very different nuances to our personalities and sometimes they simply don’t gel. It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t want to waste any more time trying to please people who don’t have a natural connection with me – because a forged connection cannot be sustained anyway.
Like Meryl, I am drawn to intelligent people – that is to people I can learn from whether that is intellectual intelligence or emotional intelligence. They certainly don’t have to be academically brilliant. But I won’t tolerate arrogance of any sort either. I have always despised competition and confrontation and nothing makes me put my runners on faster than feeling that friends are competing with me or if I feel a pressure to compete with them.
I am absolutely the worst friend you could have, in many ways. My few close friends will vouch for that. I forget birthdays, I am crap at being thoughtful and I never phone anyone unless it is an emergency or I need something from them. But I won’t ever let my friends down either. I am loyal to the point of stupidity, like a puppy dog, and it takes a lot to push me away as a friend. However, once that trust is broken, I will walk away and never come back.
I tire of people who only talk about themselves and never ask questions about me or mine, or who make assumptions about how I think when they know nothing about my skeletons. And I am super-sensitive to negativity because it wields a power over me that can drag me down into the reeds below until I can’t breathe, which is why I try to avoid it these days. Like Meryl, I judge people on their reaction to animals and the way they treat and talk about their friends.
In a nutshell, I don’t ‘suffer fools’, and that’s probably why I’ve never been very good at the whole friendship thing.