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June 20, 2008


Mayor Jim

As an observer who likes the idea of being your friend, I think it's worth noting: Sometimes to have a friend you have to let people in. Some of those people will end up as friends, some not. But none of them end up as friends if you don't let them in.

And yes -- sometimes letting people in is dangerous.


Jim - I totally agree. What I'm feeling is a backlash from letting people in and then feeling used and discarded. I'm trying to resolve this feeling of betrayal so I can move forward. It's much easier to think about it than do, though.

Here's the other thing - since writing this post, I've been thinking/remembering about people who I would/do consider my friends - but we don't interact that much because we're both busy (me and friend). And these are people who I don't really follow on these social networks (or they don't post often) and so their experiences, comments get buried by others who I follow for reasons other than they are my friend.

It seems this is a case of Heather focusing on the negative, instead of the positive. (What can I say, I like to fix the stuff that isn't working, doesn't make me happy, etc.) Actually, I think this is the social network's fault with their faulty paradigm. Follow-up thoughts forthcoming as I have many.


the friend thing is sticky business.
i'm struggling with it, still trying to find people i have things in common with in l.a. and weed out the baggage.

i've also recently unsubscribed from a slew of blogs that i was reading that were cluttering up my space with commentaries that were as pointless to me as needy friends. allowing too much in by way of the intertubes can be a time suck that makes you feel connected when you really are not.

p.s. we're friends, you are awesome and fuck the rest of 'em!


I stumbled upon your post the other day and thought I would add a comment. Hopefully you can take something useful from what I want to say.

I've been pondering this very topic for a long time now. I've lost a lot of "friends" over the last few years, plunging me into a long period of mistrust and indecision. I've searched my soul very deeply and questioned myself thoroughly. Questioned my own understanding of the word "friend". What does that mean to me? What "friendship" actually means in practice...and I've come to understand some things.

Just because someone is not your friend doesn't necessarily mean that they are your enemy.

The way I see it there are two main camps of "non-friends":

Enemies: These are the people that methodically come after you meaning to do you harm (physically, intellectually or spiritually).
These are the people who enjoy seeing you fall, or seeing you become confused, annoyed or upset.
This can be difficult - because your "friendship" will start out just fine, but then something will change.
The way they speak to you will change. Instead of giving you support, they will treat you as "tiresome", they will laugh at your failures and belittle your achievements and what in life you hold dear. They will nitpick at the tiniest of your flaws or try to "educate" you as they of course know better. Anything to stop you feeling good about yourself and the life you are living. Anything, in fact, to make themselves feel powerful and that they are the better person.

These are the people to avoid at all costs. If you can't avoid them then at least don't let them win their little games. Give as good as you get!

Others: For the most part however, I've come to believe that people just really don't understand.
Either they don't understand the situation, or they don't understand you.
This can be for a variety of reasons - how well that person knows you, language barriers, level of education, lifestyle differences, cultural differences.

Often people don't realise that "they" are the person you are looking to for the support you need. Either they are so used to YOU showing THEM support they are not prepared for the tables to be turned, or they're distracted by something else that is going on in their own life.

These people you can choose to avoid or not. The choice is entirely your own.

What we as individuals must not do is:

- start hating people. This is the tough bit! Of course you are going to feel angry and upset when someone hurts you. But carrying that anger around and letting it grow into hatred and bitterness...this only harms us more! This will only push people away and block any true friendships from growing.

- blame ourselves when a "friendship" doesn't work out. Sure we make mistakes, but they're honest mistakes. Mistakes that we can learn from.

I suppose my advice for you Heather is:
- decide for yourself what you mean by the word "friend".
- think about what you expect from the people in your life.
- it is ok to have different "levels" of friendship in your life - e.g. from true-blue friends that you share everything with to people you simply say "hi" to as you pass by. There's no rule to say that you must become best friends with everyone you meet.
- it is ok to choose not to spend time with someone you do not like, or who does not respect you.
- don't rely on places like twitter and facebook for your relationships. Yes, they are great places to meet people, but so is the bookstore or the coffee shop. Use the same criteria in choosing friends "online" as you do "offline".
- be as aware as you can possibly be of who you choose to have in your life. How do they treat you? Do they make you happy? Can you learn from them? What do YOU mean to THEM?
- above all TRUST YOURSELF.

With apologies for the long post...!


It's fascinating that we (seem to) know more and more about the people in our lives, but - largely by virtue of the fact that we are typing on machines instead of speaking and touching directly - feel less connected, less known, less intimate.

In any case, I've been looking forward to some late-night cityromping with you (in person!) far more than I think about anyone's blog or causes or vampire biting or anything digital. I like that this is the case. I must (think I) like you.


This is what I would say to you, dear Heather.... Not everyone wants to be a friend; I think stats say that we only have 5 true friends in our lifetime. The old agage says "to have a friend, be a friend".


Miriam - Thanks!

looeess - great viewpoint. Thanks for writing!

neilalien - yes!

grammy - thanks for the words.

I think what was fucking me up was the hijacked use of the word "friend" by all these social networks. It's horrible. These are not my friends - they are just people - some happen to be friends, others, I don't even know. Their use of the word has diluted and twisted its meaning.

This post however has got me thinking (and thanks for everyone who responded in a comment and privately) and remember that my friends are not necessarily the people I interact on a daily basis - or necessarily mostly online.

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