Posts Tagged With: friendship

Broken Walls


I read a quote once that went something like, “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” That was ringing in my thoughts after a conversation I had with my brilliantly insightful wife about friends a while back. See, for a long time I couldn’t say that I had very many close friends. That’s not to say that I didn’t have people that I cared deeply about. But aside from my wife and parents, there were maybe 2 other people on this earth that I felt I could trust implicitly.

The more I thought about it, the more it made me wonder if perhaps I had created walls that I was silently hoping people would care enough to break down. Was I baiting people? Were my friendships going to be based on some arbitrary display of perseverance? Would I take the fact that people hadn’t yet attempted to circumvent my relationship walls to mean they don’t really care about me? And then, in the absurdity of it all, turn around and feel as if this would allow me to not care either and so cast them aside? fist-break-through-wall

Heaven forbid…

It’s not that I thought people were disposable. But I could very well have pushed them away unintentionally with these walls of my own invention. The design of which is really not very fair. I mean, what kind of deep relationship could I really expect to gain if I made someone jump through hoops that THEY may or may not even realize exist?

I had to do some soul searching to figure out what this was really about.

It became clear that it was partly/mostly my own fault. There were people with whom I believed I could have a really close relationship. Some of them had actually pursued me. But I hadn’t reciprocated much if at all. Was it because I was a horrible person? I don’t think so. Instead, I’d convinced myself that it’s an issue of time. With all of the chaos that I’d been dealing with at any given moment, I told myself that I didn’t have the time to dedicate to the cultivation of a deep friendship with someone else. At one point I actually said to someone, “I really enjoy hanging out and talking with you, but I can’t give you the kind of things you want from this relationship and I don’t want you to constantly be disappointed when I don’t come through.” Unfortunately, this went against my own belief that you will make time for those things (and people) that are important to you. My wife called that a cop out.

So where did I go off track?

I think it was simply a defense mechanism. After being wounded in past relationships, I hadn’t really allowed an opportunity for anyone get close to me. I mean, not REALLY close. Yeah, I could share interests and show compassion and provide encouragement to others. But that was all about giving and nothing about receiving. Few people knew the details of the things that I struggled against on a daily basis. Heck, my blog audience probably knew (and still knows) more about the intimate details of my life than people offline. I believe it was an underlying fear of rejection. The less I put myself out there, the less chance I had of getting hurt. But I couldn’t live my life in fear of potential pain inflicted by others.

After that talk with my wife, I found myself lamenting the lack of deep friendships. It was then that I decided that I needed to pursue people.

Slowly. Just 1 or 2 in the beginning. But it was a start.

I’m curious if I am alone in this…

Does anyone else struggle with developing close friendships? I mean, the real friendships. Not superficial, mere acquaintances or people who want to be more but you’ve friend zoned them. I’m talking Best Friends. People you’d protect with your very life if necessary. Is that a challenge for anyone else?

Because in spite of the obstacles I’ve created in the past, I genuinely want those kind of people in my future.

Broken walls and all.

break-wall

Categories: personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Random Dove Thought: A Blind Eye


I’ve realized over the years that many people prioritize their friendship in two very distinct ways.

They have friends who become a priority for the things they do. They are mostly seasonal. Temporary. Prone to spoil. They last for as long as their unique action or mere presence is meeting a particular need. They are a convenience. Once they cease to be useful, they are discarded. For instance, some people become friends because they work together for the same company at the same location and can spend most of their time together… but only at work. As soon as either one of them is promoted, transferred or finds another job, all of a sudden maintaining that connection doesn’t seem as important or necessary. It was seasonal and the season has passed. Like a summer romance.

Then there are those people who become a priority friendship simply because of who they are. These are the people who are kept around because they push you to improve or encourage you toward success. They offer you hope in pursuit of your goals. They can be mentors, counselors or people who share a life experience. They are usually permanent fixtures. You talk on the phone, connect through email, IM and text messages. You invite them to parties and celebrate milestones together. They are, for all intents and purposes, here to stay.

Sometimes the difficulty with establishing friendships is knowing into which category you fall. One of the worst feelings is finding out you were temporary when all along you thought you were permanent. I don’t think anyone ever wants to feel as if their friendship is disposable. But the reality is that as deep as you think the well of connection may run, the other person may consider your friendship as shallow as a rain puddle. Temporary in the worst way. I’ve become very careful to quickly identify my position in someone’s life. When you know where you fall on the friendship list, it’s easier to deal with the inevitable conclusion.

I think the ambiguity of this process is exacerbated when it comes to online friendships. You put yourself out there and try to show yourself friendly in hopes of making a real connection. But some people can not reconcile the black box nature of technology and the internet with the fact that there are real people with real emotions at a particular IP address. They’ve convinced themselves that these people only exist online and when they sign off, they’re essentially on pause until they return. Like a relationship DVR.

Some try desperately to find ways to circumvent the devaluation of their humanity with attempts to email, talk on the phone or meet offline. They want the other person to acknowledge their humanity. Affirm their worth. They hope that by these actions they might win them a coveted spot on the permanent friends list. And they turn a blind eye to the signs of the other person’s changing season.

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Slow Down!


Is it just me, or don’t most people prefer to get to know someone over time? I mean, if you meet someone for the first time and you’re starting a relationship (dating or otherwise), isn’t part of the fun discovering new things about him or her as time passes?

Let’s try a scenario… Say I’m goin’ on a date with this girl… I’ll call her Bizzarabeth (Beth for short).
Okay, so Beth and I head out on our date… when I first met her at a mutual friend’s birthday party, everyone was calling her Beth so I call her Beth. On our way to dinner we make idle chatter and she mentions that her actual given name is Bizzarabeth. After successfully masking my initial shock with a throat-clearing cough, I tell her my name is Myxllence Doviticus. She does a double-take to see if I’m joking and then laughs in disbelief. I tell her I was kidding, but now the ice is broken and we’ve both loosened up. Now see, THAT kind of info is cool…no problem… no real big horror stories or traumatic life experiences.

Now let’s try another scenario…
I go to pick up Bizzarabeth from her house. I ring the doorbell and she invites me in while she gets her coat. Several people are sitting around watching TV in the den so she escorts me into the room to introduce me to everyone.

“Everyone, this is Myxl Dove” she smiles and begins to point as we move around the room.

“Myxl… that’s my father on the couch with the amputated leg… he’s a war veteran. My mom is the one sitting next to him nursing the oxygen tank.” Then she whispers, “She’s got emphysema cause she smokes so much!” I arch a brow and remain silent.

“That’s my brother. Ugh! …the 16 year old jail bird!” she says with disgust. “He’s a part-time crack dealer too.” She looks at me with earnest eyes, “If you get a chance maybe you can talk some sense into him?” She smiles and continues to lead me around the room. I force a smile, but my mind is sufficiently blown at this point.

“Over there is my baby sister.” She points at what appears to be a 4 year-old zombie in a playpen near the kitchen. “She’s blind in one eye cause my mom drank heavily during the pregnancy. Oh! That reminds me! How long will we be out?? I’m wondering if we can stop by the pharmacy to pick up my dad’s Viagra prescription before it closes?”

At this point I would most likely provide any outlandish excuse to get out of there as soon as possible. It’s not so much that her family has issues, most families do. The concern is that you don’t drop all this heavy info on someone you’ve just met. I’d rather find out about your dysfunctional family after I’ve built a strong foundation of friendship and/or love for you. You should never be anxious when cultivating a relationship… allow it to grow in it’s own time. Some people you automatically feel like you’ve known forever… some people you feel as if you’ll never know…

Categories: humor, opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Forever Wounded?


Today I recalled a discussion with my wife a while ago where we talked about healing… more specifically, Emotional Healing.

This is a topic I believe many people often misunderstand.  Unlike other types of wounds, emotional wounds typically extend deep, manifesting with both physical and emotional scarring, and requiring an extended recovery period.  The length of time it takes to heal emotional wounds can depend on different variables including:Photo by Nisha A

  1. The type of wound… whether it be betrayal, abuse, a bad reputation, public ridicule or even neglect.
  2. The person inflicted… some people have a higher threshold for pain and can therefore endure far more than others.  So what may be emotionally fatal to one person, might be seen as simply an emotional abrasion to someone else.
  3. The person who caused the injury… in some cases it can be far more damaging to be wounded by a family member than a friend.

Either way, these wounds require delicate handling so that they are not re-opened accidentally.  We might get to a point where the pain has ceased, but we must realize there is still damage beneath the scar.  The funny thing about emotional healing is that when the pain is gone, some of us rush right back into the exact types of situations that caused the wound in the first place.  Not only does it set us up for repeat injury, but the wound then becomes compounded… causing far more damage and pain than before… and nearly doubling the recovery time.

After my divorce, the best thing that could have happened (and did) was to have people around me who would be firm and let me know that although the pain has eased up, I still had some healing to do.  It may take some time before I was at full emotional health.  Even though the desire to jump right back into matters of the heart can be compelling.  It can cause you to make bad judgments, and like any wound left untreated it will become infected and cause damage to other vital parts of your life.  I thank God for my family and friends (virtual included) who had my best interest at heart.  For that, I love you all.

But I must say that I am most thankful for my best friend, who also happens to be my wife. It is through her friendship and love that many of my deepest emotional wounds, especially those I initially kept hidden or refused to even acknowledge, were healed once and for all. ❤

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The Limitations of Teasing


My captivating wife and I finally fell asleep in the wee hours one Sunday morning several months ago. This was after an impromptu trip down memory lane that last for hours after watching, of all things, the movie “Couples Retreat“. I won’t get into the movie plot in case you ever decide to see it, but suffice it to say that it made us very thankful for the kind of marriage we have, and deeply appreciative of one another.

When the movie ended, we started recounting the many things that led up to our initial friendship and eventual falling in love. It was interesting to compare the different perspectives of how certain events unfolded. For instance, she remembers the first song I wrote for her called “Happy” (I may upload it one day) that freaked her out because although it wasn’t a love song, she was certain that it was the closest thing to it. I, on the other hand, saw the song simply as my expression of how important she’d become in my life. I certainly loved her. But was I in love with her at that point? Who’s to say. In retrospect, I was definitely blurring the lines with that song. The heart can have a mind of it’s own at times.

Anyway, one of the most interesting things that we both noted was the drastic change that took place regarding playful teasing once our relationship changed from “friendly” to “romantic“. See, we were best friends in every since of the word. We were in a band together, hung out writing music, talked on the phone for hours, and shared opinions on everything from office supplies to long lost loves. As friends, we would take playful jabs at one another. It was the kind of verbal sparring that’s harmless in nature, but is usually good for a laugh in group settings. Such as the time we were rehearsing with the band and someone commented on the fact that I kept yawning. I jokingly said something like, “Well I wouldn’t be so tired if Dre hadn’t keep me on the phone til 4am.” 🙂  With all of the teasing, many people thought that we were crushing on each other. But nothing could’ve been farther from the truth. We were just close friends with no romantic interests whatsoever.

However, as time passed and we crossed a line in our relationship, the teasing came to a screeching halt. I think I made a passing joke about something to do with what she was wearing and everybody laughed. She came up to me later and told me that she didn’t want me to do that anymore.

 

I was surprised since we’d been teasing each other for years. So I asked her why she didn’t want me to joke around like that any more. And she said, with an honesty that hit me right in the heart, “Because before, the things you would say wouldn’t affect me. Now, everything you say matters.” Looking into the eyes of this beautiful woman who owned my heart, I melted… and never cracked a joke at her expense ever again.

Now this isn’t to say that we don’t have fun and joke on occasion, but I understand that my responsibility is to always present my wife in the best light. It’s a reflection of her value and importance to me. I realized that making fun of her, even jokingly, could come across as disrespectful. It might also give people the impression that they have license to do the same. And it’s never okay for anyone to make fun of my wife… most importantly me.

 

I think some people go overboard with making fun of their SO’s to the point of degrading them and traumatically affecting their self-esteem.

What do you think?
Is it okay to tease someone you love?
Or is it their responsibility to tell you to stop if they don’t like it?

Categories: marriage, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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