'Friend'-ly Disagreements

I've been giving this some thought; why do I have so much trouble, not so much finding, but keeping, friends? I think I may have figured out why. I have a hypothesis, anyway.

Basically, in some ways I'm less like my own person, and more like a mirror. If we're friends, then I'll invariably pick up A LOT of your mannerism, expressions, speech patterns, and ideas; and I'll do it very, very quickly. So much so that, by the end of a relatively short time period, we'll both have forgotten some of the parts at which you leave off, and I start. We'll become a bit like one person, sharing one mental wavelength. And for a time, all will be well.

However. One thing I am, is honest. I am honest about who I am, and I will be honest with you, unless you make it clear you don't want my honesty, in which case I'll shut up. Not forever, but long enough to postpone the death of our friendship.

Invariably, though, you will come to realise that, for all my inadvertent mimicry of your personal gesture and idiom, I AM actually my own person. You will learn that, on many subjects and in many ways, I disagree with you. You will learn that, for all my quiet, unobtrusive voicing of my own opinions, my beliefs are either A) rock-solid, or B) things about which I refuse to have a definite belief. Either way, you will learn that for all I enjoy hearing your opinion, and for all that I'm happy for you to keep it, your feelings/beliefs/wants/desires will have absolutely no effect on me, if they are contrary to my own.

Which is not to say that using logical, factual argument to change my mind will fail. Being unable to admit you're wrong, even when the cold hard evidence is slapping you in the face, is my DEFINITION of 'stupid'. I'd like to think I'm at least a smidgen above that. However, chances are, if you're arguing with me, you're either A) wrong yourself, or B) trying to get me to admit to an opinion on a subject which, by its very nature, is mutable/can have differing outcomes. In which case, my opinion will change accordingly.

When you realise, however, that YOU will not be the agent of change, in getting me to alter either my personal viewpoint of method of behaviour, you will become enraged. Incensed. Totally pissed off, not to put too fine a point on it.

And for all my protestations that I want to remain friends, and I don't see why you're so upset, and I really wish you'd just let it go, that'll be the beginning of the end. Whatever we disagreed about will come up in future conversations. It will sneak its way into the very fabric of our mutual existence. It will begin to permeate the very air we jointly breathe. And one day, you will make the mistake of calling me a liar/idiot--when, going by my recollections, you're the one who refused to believe the truth that was staring you in the face--and I'll respond in kind.

And if you're the kind of person who will call someone a moron, or try to paint them as a liar, because they don't take every word that falls from your lips as Gospel, you won't put up with having the same done to you. You won't see it as me returning the favour, or just giving you a little taste of your own medicine. You'll see it as being bang out of order, well worth calling off our friendship over... and if you do it enough, I'll stop trying to mend things. You'll get away with it once; everyone does, with me.  You'll probably get away with it twice, even.  But if you start to make a habit of it, I will cut you loose like the dead weight you are, and I'll keep chugging along, angry, hurt, feeling a bit vindictive, but justified in my behaviour.

And, like all those who claim to be honest, as long as the situation is just/fair/deserved, I can live with it. I may prefer mercy; but if you force my hand, justice it will be. You will lose me.

And dang it all, you will miss me once I'm gone. Everyone does. I'm like a very, very low-level addiction (caffeine, chocolate, sugar) and by God, you might not want to kill yourself once I disappear, but you'll have a darn persistent itch you can't scratch. And it will last much, much longer than you think. Which you deserve, you ignorant, narrow-minded, fake-nice....

Ahem. Forgive me. I digress.

To get back to the point; I am a mirror. I will treat you, for the most part, as you treat me. I may try to be a little nicer to you (especially if you're hurting my feelings without realising it--lead by example, etc) but eventually, although I cannot change my mind to conform to yours, I will alter my behaviour to match your own. How you respond, is a pretty good indication of the kind of person you are.

The people who don't like me, are just the people who don't like themselves.

Which explains 2 things, actually. 1) I have few friends, because few people really, truly, genuinely like themselves, and 2) the friends I do have tend to be male, because out of all the people on the planet, men are the ones who are usually the most okay with themselves. Conceited and arrogant, maybe; prone to random bouts of depression, maybe; superficial and immature, often; but reasonably well-adjusted, for the most part, yes. But that's a topic for another day.
The End

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