About friendship

Until I was ten, my family lived in the country, and I substituted TV characters for playmates. My favorite program was The Huckleberry Hound Show, and I cried each afternoon when it went off.

I made friends readily when we moved into town, and I didn’t feel lonely again until I was in my mid-twenties. During the years when I had a satisfying number of friends, they and I visited one another frequently and without notice. I still miss that, but even at the time, I thought that some people carried it a bit far.

My high school friends and I came from low middle-class families and were under-achieving outsiders. I loathed wealthy, high-achieving insiders because they were snobs, yet I longed for them to like me. I have never gotten over my hatred.

After college, I discovered that people often lose friends to marriage. I can think of various reasons for this: (1) Your friend’s spouse will sometimes hate you—or you her; (2) Even if your friend’s spouse likes you, she will have first dibs on his time; (3) Jobs and children deprive people of leisure and spontaneity; (4) Our interests—and hence our friends—change as we age.

As I progressed through my twenties, I became increasingly lonely. I still had a few male friends, but I wanted more depth than I was getting, so I often felt bored and disappointed. I began having affairs, and these relationships were characterized by excitement, intimate conversations, and boosts to my ego. I therefore lost much of my interest in my male friends. As the years passed, I came to miss them, but not the women. Unfortunately, most of them are dead.

I tried to cure my friendship deficit in various ways. One thing I did was to get a pilot’s license because I didn’t want to move away from my house and land in Mississippi, and I thought that my social options would expand if I could fly. The problem was that my little Cessna was slow and easily grounded by bad weather.

I then decided that I wanted more than just friendship; I wanted people to share my life with, so I decided that I would like to live in a commune. I spent most of two years visiting such places all over the country. I wanted Peggy to go with me, but she wasn’t willing to give up the security of a job, so I went alone, and had her fly out whenever I found a place I thought she would like. Our desires were so different though that the place I liked most (an intensely personal international commune in NYC) was the place she hated most.

Then I found out about a new social movement called “polyfidelity,” which was defined as an egalitarian group marriage. Right away, I knew it was for me. Peggy wasn’t so keen on it, but she wasn’t closed to the idea either. The headquarters of the movement was in Eugene, so that’s the main reason we moved to Oregon. Within a week, I had more friends in Oregon than in Mississippi.

Peggy and I eventually became involved in a polyfidelitous relationship with a woman named Vicki who was a doctoral student in Minneapolis. We lived there for two years until that relationship failed. During my time in Minneapolis, I continued to have a satisfying number of friends. However, I was ecstatic to move back to Eugene where, again, both friendships and affairs flourished.

I soon founded a group called Family of Choice Network (FCN) that quickly grew to fifty members and sponsored two support groups and frequent social events. What I discovered about this group (and others since) was that I had no problem with finding enthusiastic supporters as long as they weren’t expected to do any of the actual work.

In the late ‘90s, things on the friendship front began to fall apart due to the demise of FCN and of the polyfidelity group that had brought us to Oregon. I also had a serious falling-out with my best friend, Walt, and, worst of all, I became involved in a peer counseling organization known as Re-Evaluation Co-Counseling (RC). I threw myself into the intensity of RC whole-heartedly, and became the darling of many people in the female dominated community.

Unfortunately I committed the cardinal RC sin of becoming romantically involved with two of my co-counselors, one of whom was an RC leader. When these relationships fell apart, I experienced severe anger, which I had imagined I could work through with the help of other co-counselors. Instead, I found myself shunned, and I became thoroughly disillusioned with RC and with people in general. During the seventeen years since RC, I’ve only had two affairs and one close friendship—all of but one of which ended badly. Nothing remains of my former idealism regarding the possibilities for human intimacy.

By contrast with my own friendships, Peggy’s friendships are characterized by an absence of drama and intensity, and whereas she never loses old friends, she sometimes gains new ones.

Aside from one male friend and three or four platonic friendships (I sometimes have trouble distinguishing a friend from a friendly acquaintance) with women, I have no face-to-face friends. I’ve substituted blogging friends to a large extent, but friendships with people whom I have never met and who live thousands of miles away have their limitations. Of course, face-to-face friendships have limitations too.

I would offer the following thoughts about friendship—sexual and otherwise—which are based upon my own mistakes and about which I’ll write in the first person:

It is important that I listen to what people say about their past friendships, because they will almost certainly behave the same way toward me—despite their insistence that they’ve changed.

I have always found that it’s a mistake to attempt to fix a friend even if she (so far, it has always been a she) asks me to.

I have had such bad experiences with people who are charming or charismatic that I’ve come to think of these traits as like fresh paint over rotten wood.

My worst mistake has been that I often mistook sex, drama, and intensity for intimacy. I have since come to realize that these things are usually destructive in the absence of commitment.

No matter how big and strong she makes me feel, I must never assume that I have the upper hand in a relationship with a woman because women have disillusioned me of that notion too many times.

I must never expect anyone to save me because they really and truly can’t, no matter how together they seem or how much they want to.

It is best to assume that other people are just as fucked-up as I, no matter how they appear.

Unless I am really intimate with someone, I must never ask him or her to give me more of themselves than they freely offer because they will almost certainly pull away.

The most trust that I can give to another person is to loan him or her money (I don’t mean just a few dollars for the sake of convenience), but doing so creates a lasting awkwardness in the relationship.

I can never know how someone is going to behave in a given situation until I’ve seen him or her in a similar situation—if then.

Most friendships are founded upon shared beliefs, interests, and geographical proximity, so I must be prepared to lose my friend when any of these change.

Even long-term friendships sometimes end, and I can’t always see it coming.

Having lost friends to death, I’ve concluded that it’s better to be more open, loving, and mature than I might sometimes feel than it is to be haunted by regret when it’s too late.

All friendships have limitations.

I know of no better gift than to take what my friend says seriously.

No matter how strong or prudent I am, intimacy is risky.

50 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

'Intimacy is risky'. You are so right there. And I have found that it is not always worth the risks either. Nonetheless, slow learner that I am, I will mostly take that risk. And while Piaf might have regretted nothing I have quite a few regrets but they are mostly for the risks I didn't take rather than the ones I did.
Thank you for another heart felt thought provoking post.

Snowbrush said...

Thank you, Child. I think this might well be the most self-revealing post I have ever written, although many of the ones about religion surely come close. I would also offer that I don't think people generally understand how emotionally connected I am to many of my posts that are intellectually oriented.

Camp Fustian said...

I never feel lonely. When I am with a lot of people, I feel terribly alone (and often bored)...

Why do you feel the need to be understood? Is it not enough that you understand your Self?

By the way, not all wealthy, high-achieving insiders are snobs (within reason)! But admittedly, I am also biased when it comes to the middle class (don't like most of them).

The Elephant's Child said...

And your emotional connection to your posts is what makes them honest and rewarding and I suspect is a large part of why you have so many fans.

The Blog Fodder said...

Interesting observations on friendship. Thank you. Much to think about.

Natalie said...

I find friendships very disappointing. In recent times, I have severed contact with my so called 'closest' friends because I couldn't stand it any longer. I much prefer friendships with men, and some older women because they are just more sensible.I have also come to realise that the best, most intimate friendship I can have is with me. Having said that, I have a very decent friendship with my husband, and also a male co-worker which is purely platonic.
I am his mentor, and when he learns all he needs to learn from me, he will go away. I am trying to prepare myself for that day, even though it will sadden me greatly, as he too, is a very decent human being.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

This is rather timely for me. I had something I had to drop off at a former friend's house today... we haven't spoken in months but I had promised her daughter -who I held the day she was born - a bead. I placed in the mailbox and drove away. It's so sad to lose a 23 year friendship.

Pondering it all today...I feel disappointed by most people most all the time. I like being alone for that reason....but I am lonely and regret that I never married or had kids. But then, I'd probably be disappointed in them too by now.


Great post Snow!

kj said...

you are so honest and forthright, snow. i don't think most women could talk about affairs so freely, and i admire you for it.

i think you here and there talkingabout FOB: friends with benefits--and that made me smile. so things are as old as the hills.

your observations are quite wonderful. the one i reread is:

'Unless I am really intimate with someone, I must never ask him or her to give me more of themselves than they freely offer because they will almost certainly pull away.'

even if intimate, i've reluctantly learned that accepting the gifts of another person is a whole lot better than asking for them.

about blogging: i am forever reminding myself that my blog friends cannot substitute for my in person friends. i am lucky that several REAL friends have been born from the blogs.

i enjoyed reading this very much, snow.


kj

Kerry said...

You have so many ideas in this post, each of them worth its own space in a separate post.
Personally I think that commitment is the key to all relationships, but especially to one's partner/spouse. I'm not built to handle anything but a monogamous relationship there! But friends seem to involve commitment also, and sometimes that's hard to give.

I am amazed by adults who have lots of friends outside their marriage; how do they find the time to nurture those multiple commitments?

ellen abbott said...

well, friendship has to be nurtured by both sides. a couple of times I thought I was friends with someone, thought we were friends. eventually it occurred to me that I was the active half. when I stopped calling or dropping by, I never heard from that person again.

I have few friends right now and that's OK. I could have more but it takes too much time and effort. time and effort I would rather spend on other things.

Strayer said...

Over the years, the friends I've had and kept, are the ones who accept me as a faulty human being and that I accept as a faulty human, too. I have a bus driver friend. We don't see each other much, but we are nonetheless connected for our lives and probably would do anything for one another. I have some animal people friends I get mad at or they at me, and just as quickly, we forget and forgive each other. These friendships are years in the making, slow growing, and while not all have families and busy lives, so we're not that close, I treasure them.

I discovered over the years, although I forget sometimes and old resentments boil, that no matter what social status a person enjoys or wealth, relative to mine, everybody has issues and problems and most are messed up, whatever that means. I expect for some reason that educated and wealthy people have great lives, only to discover how unhappy many are, or how rife their lives are with drama and issues.

I had no idea you had such a history, Snow, with affairs and all that. You've lived a very interesting unusual life.

As I get older, I take more risks. Less to lose.

dana said...

When I'm surrounded by people, I am the more forlorn and miserable person on earth.

People mistake asinine chatter as transfers of information. When a woman past her childbearing years gears up to recount her hours in labor, or younger mothers expound on the joy of Pete's first Poop, I escape.

I've been abandoned as "friendship material" because I was ill more often than not, and had no interests or abilities for tennis, swimming and shopping til I dropped.

So far, I have only found a few men of friendship material, and then it was because they were honest and I learned a great deal about how men look at life in contrast to how I looked at it.

I still remember words of advice from the MEN I've been friends with. For the most part, women were more interested in talking about their husbands and kids.

It sounds as if you mistook lust for "deeper feelings" when they are just "different" feelings and not prone to in depth bonding as some people would presume.

And through it all, Peggy was there. First, foremost and everlasting.

I've never TRIED to forge a strong friendship because, unlike marriage, at the first sign of "you think that way and I think this way", friendships start unraveling.

I've always lived by the motto: Your best friend will make your worst enemy.

Lorraina said...

Very interesting read Snow; i feel like i've lived a very boring life in comparison.
I used to have friends; well, i thought i did but after becoming a semi invalid due to my PBC i found that most if not all really wern't good friends at all; just people interested in the same things as i was at the time otherwise nothing in common. I think i was a very good friend to them in a million ways; i was a yes person but they often hurt me with their insensitivities or disinterest in me, my life, who i was etc. while i was constantly being fed all their bs. Thats when i realized i really didn't even like those people much at all and wouldn't tolerate that stuff today. Now, i have a few good memories but mostly i kick myself for not moving on earlier.

Zom said...

It sounds like you have learned a lot. That is a life well lived.

Robin said...

Hello Dear Snow!'Intimacy is risky'....such true words! And this comes from a trusting soul whose heart was broken after a 17 year relationship...and last year losing a "friend" after 30 years....

But.......I would not change it - because I believe you must remain open to trust - both in lovers and friends....

You have lived quite a life....and you feel more than some because of your intelligence - and...(here it comes) - because you are a sensitive, caring man.

No matter what has happened - you have the wonderful Peggy....you have Blue and Brewsky....and....you have your Blogging Family who truly care about you and want you to be as pain-free as possible... knowing you is a good thing!

Hugs,

♥ Robin ♥

Joe Todd said...

Always hated the down side to those temporary "ego boosts." Happy Friday 13th.. Here is a link for you:: http://www.ftsociety.org/

Stafford Ray said...

Ditto Kerry. All through this I could not help thinking; 'What did Peggy think of this?'
She is still there, so whatever you do, hang on to that one!

The Bipolar Diva said...

Very well written and much to ponder. I seem to be able to have better friendships with men than women. My husband doesn't get that, and I guess sometimes he shouldn't get it, after all you know how I am sometimes. Next time I ride through Eugene I'm going to email you ahead of time. You, my friend, are much loved.

Chrisy said...

blogger's been having problems here...have commented a couple of times but won't let me publish...so just trying a little one to see how it goes...i wonder how different our lives would have been without 'hormones'...

Snowbrush said...

To those who wonder how Peggy feels about all that I have written.

Peggy, unlike myself, obviously, is a private person, and so I tend to write about her only inasmuch as it is necessary to tell my own story. This is not what I want to do, but it is what I must do out of respect for her wishes.

kj said...

but is peggy ready to hit you over the head for writing this tale?

i hope not, but if she is, i hope the frying pan is soft.

:^)

love
kj

Snowbrush said...

KJ said: " is peggy ready to hit you over the head for writing this tale?"

I have no idea if she's read it. She reads all of my posts--and most of the comments--eventually, but I rarely know when because she doesn't usually say anything. As for whether she would be mad, I doubt it, but my belief is that it's my story, and so I had the right to tell it. I couldn't write it without mention of her, of course, yet I kept her out of it as much as possible. The only thing I might have left out about her without damaging my own account was my statement about her never losing old friends, although she sometimes adds new ones, but I had no thought that she would object to that because it constitutes high praise.

Like many posts I write, I'm greatly surprised that, so far as I know, I haven't lost a single reader over it. Since a great many people--women especially--have been devastated by their spouse's affairs, I fully expected to (a) be slammed and (b) lose readers. All I can figure is that my readers have come to expect a high level of forthrightness about what many people would consider to be inflammatory topics.

Strayer said...

Well, I'll tell the truth then, after your last comment, Snow. I think you should be neutered. Free you up to stop chasing tail and live your life. I'm not kidding. It does sound like you've mostly followed after your penis.

What people are saying is, I think, through all these ups and downs, pursuits of yours and affairs, there's been one constant in your life, someone who has not rejected you or left and that is Peggy. After this last post you wrote, I now believe she must be some sort of saint.

Selina Kingston said...

This is an amazing and enlightening post. I too have a lot of issues with friendships. i have lots of people that I call friends but I resent the fact that I don't have a close "best friend". But that is my fault for refusing to let people get close because effectively I refuse to trust anyone. Sex has far too often taken over what should have been a close friendship...and I never seem to learn that !
My, you are a thought provoking writer !

kylie said...

i wrote a post for you, snow.
not brilliant, probably barely even ok but there it is....

i've struggled with loneliness most of my life and i doubt it will change but when the opportunity is there i have no fear of intimacy. it's probably naivete that stops the fear but i have rarely regretted the intimacy i have found.

R. J. said...

Great post and I hesitate to wade into a heavy topic like this armed with nothing but my amateur thoughts and impressions. You have inspired me to think a lot about the issue. As we all struggle with loneliness and yearn for intimate friendships, after 66 years, I feel several things I have observed bear mentioning. I like to go back to that old standard written by Dale Carnegie called How to Win Friends and Influence People. The solid values he proposes seem valid to me. I notice that people who have the most friends seem to have a lot of interests/hobbies from which friendships with like-minded people have sprung. When I try to focus too much on the friendship, it evaporates--better to focus on the hobby. Shared interests anchor the friendship. I think I have ruined some potential friendships over the years by being too judgmental. Now I am more inclined to avoid the discussions of religions and politics or any hot button issues that divide people and instead nurture the common ground we can share. I am also reminded of the movie When Harry Met Sally and he observes that men and women can never be friends because sex always gets in the way. I don't have male friends. I have my lady friends and hubby and I have our friends who are couples. We have clear boundaries in that regard. In my value system, that is the only way to preserve the friendships. The dialogues of the friendships are too important to complicate them with anything physical. Just me. I recognize I can't have everything and that is how I choose. Whatever floats my boat might not be for everyone.

Mim said...

Snow - you write that you are surprised that you haven't lost a reader over this post. You haven't lost me - but I have so many mixed and stunned emotions about this post that I have to work them out in my head. It's certainly forthright, honest (at least I think so - there were moments when I thought it was all a tall tale) but to me - sad and upsetting. I have to also work out the fact that at the base of it all, I am rather a prude.

More another time.

Putz said...

i am your friend because you called me a genius, even though you might not mean that, i do appreciate the thopught<><>i have accomplished exactly wwhat i wanted in my blog except to get peopkle interested in mormonism<><>>that also includes you<><>my family thinks i have sold them all down the river and wished i hadn't BLOGGED, but that is now all water over the bridge

Just_because_today said...

very interesting and honest post as all of yours are.
Friendship is difficult, I have found. Maybe more difficult than love relationships because in a marriage and other couple relationships, there are other elements such as sex and a life together (house, children, etc) to keep the relationship going. Friendship depends on each other, nothing more to bring to the table than what each can offer.
I have also found that the friendship I long for is only in my imagination, nobody else seems to share the kind of commitment that I think friendship deserves. Oh well, I'm an odd ball.

rhymeswithplague said...

I am your friend even though you have never called me a genius. And I do think Putz means water under the bridge, either that or water over the dam.

After re-reading your post, I had the distinct feeling I was attending a meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous (if there is such a thing): "Hi, my name is Snowbrush and I'm a sexaholic"..."Hi, Snowbrush"....

The word polyfidelitous made me laugh. We non-Oregonians have another word for it.

Snowbrush said...

"The word polyfidelitous made me laugh. We non-Oregonians have another word for it."

Meaning that you consider it immoral, I assume. Given that your morality comes from the Bible, can you give me a verse to support your belief? The only one I can think of is in the NT and relates specifically to elders of the church. Certainly in the OT, group marriage was the norm. Of course, there was nothing equal about it, just as there was nothing equal about how god himself viewed women versus to men back in the days when women couldn't even show up for a worship service while they were on their periods or after they have given birth--at least not until they had "purified" themselves. All that's been thrown out, of course, although I've never seen a verse to support doing so.

rhymeswithplague said...

I think my comment went off into the void, so I'll try again. If it didn't, just delete one of them.

I don't want to get into a battle of "my verse is better than your verse" ...but there is "thou shalt not commit adultery" which does not confine itself to elders of the church. "Poly" juxtaposed with "fidelitous" seems disingenuous to me from the get-go, as in "I will be completely faithful to you and I will also be completely faithful to her, and her, and her" which is being "completely faithful" to none. I know each society's cultural norms determine how many wives a man may legally have. Ours happens to allow 1. To say "I don't know what I would do without Peggy" is one thing; to say "I don't know what I would do without Peggy and Amanda and Betty Jean and Veronica and maybe even that new neighbor across the street" is another, Sister Wives on TLC notwithstanding.

These are my own opinions....

The Depressed Reader said...

Snow,
This was an interesting post, thanks for sharing so much of yourself. I doubt I will ever be anywhere near as open about myself on my blog.

Wine in Thyme said...

Interesting. Will re-read.

kylie said...

snow, whatever anybody thinks of your behaviours i will take my hat off because you have kept trying.
you were lonely and you got hurt and you kept looking for remedies. it's when you just give in and live miserably that there is a real problem
xox

Bernie said...

Snow I truly feel sorry for you. I do not think you have been truly loved or loved truly. If you had you would love, cherish and respect others as well as your wife but more importantly yourself. You keep trying to use the shock and awe effect with your post, intellect - don't think so, my dog knows more about love, loyalty and respect. Gotta love free speech eh Snow.

dana said...

Snow...are my comments not getting through? Did I say something that made you angry?

Snowbrush said...

R.J. said: "I have my lady friends and hubby and I have our friends who are couples. We have clear boundaries in that regard. In my value system, that is the only way to preserve the friendships."

I have no problem maintaining platonic friendships as long as they're with people who I lack physical passion for. The more I age, and the more the women I know age, the easier this becomes.

Mim said: "there were moments when I thought it was all a tall tale"

Peggy has a postcard on the refrigerator that reads: "Incredible as it seems, my life is based on a true story." A marriage counselor once suggested to Peggy that maybe she stays married to me because she knows that I will keep her life from ever becoming a bore." What with my pain and disability, I'm afraid that's no longer true, but I still do what I can.

Depressed said: "I doubt I will ever be anywhere near as open about myself on my blog."

My limits are as follows: I try to avoid anything that would be likely to get me sued or jailed, and, as I pointed out somewhere in the response section to this post, I also try to avoid violating Peggy's privacy except inasmuch as it is unavoidable in telling my own story. Other than that, I don't much care. My primary goal is to make my blog interesting to myself and to my readers. As I see it, too many bloggers do the first but not the second.

Putz said: "i have accomplished exactly what i wanted in my blog except to get peopkle interested in mormonism<><>>that also includes you"

God, Putz, are you ever a screaming optimist! Back in the 70's a couple of wonderful Mormon ladies came to see Peggy and me several times without making a dent in my skepticism regarding Mormonism, and that was back when I was still trying to believe in god, so, dude, it ain't gonna happen.

Snowbrush said...

Strayer said: "I think you should be neutered."

I have often had that very thought, although things are getting much easier now that I'm growing older.

Selina said: "I refuse to trust anyone."

Well, it's not all or nothing, of course, but since I'm sure you know that, I think you're saying that it's easier to withhold trust than it is to limit trust, and with that, I would agree, at least in the short term. In the long term, withholding trust makes for a sad life.

Snowbrush said...

I just deleted my response that included a pasting of a rather long response from Robin that I thought Blogger had lost (it turned out that Blogger had simply put it in the wrong order), so I'm going to put my response here without Robin's response being included.

Kylie said: "i will take my hat off because you have kept trying."

Exactly, Kylie. Down one fork in the road lies wisdom, and down the other lies bitterness; and we must decide which one to take again and again and again. Whether I've turned the first way more often than the second, I cannot say.

Bernie said: " Gotta love free speech eh Snow."

In the absence of rationality, the right of a person such as yourself to free speech is no more profitable than the right of a drunk to puke on the sidewalk.

Rhymes said: "'thou shalt not commit adultery' which does not confine itself to elders of the church.

The OT patriarchs seemed to make do well enough without any condemnation from the "prophets" of their day, so I don't see why you should have a problem with multiple relationships. You have every right to disapprove, of course, but don't imagine that your authority comes from the Bible.

Dana said: "Did I say something that made you angry?"

No, Babe, I just feel overwhelmed at times by the number of blogs I want to visit and the number of responses I want to answer. I've been conducting business on the computer, but other than that, I've taken a bit of a break. If I don't do this from time to time, I would become resentful.

Natalie said...

Checking in to say hi!

I see we have survived the rapture! xx

Marion said...

Hmmm...can't find my comment, it must have been one of those Blogger lost the other day.

This post is so honest, it almost hurts. This part struck home..."Unless I am really intimate with someone, I must never ask him or her to give me more of themselves than they freely offer because they will almost certainly pull away." I don't know how many times I asked for more from friendships or lovers until I finally figured it out.

Thank you for this truly incredible and inspiring post, Snow. And I hope, today, that pain is somewhat less than usual for you...xo

Robert the Skeptic said...

My wife experimented with a Polyamorous before we met. She came away convinced that it is too difficult to build a multi-faceted intimate relationship with more than one individual.

The only successful similar relationships I have seen has been among Swingers who are able to engage in sexual intimacy between others because the primary relationship between their committed partner is open, secure and inviolate.

C Woods said...

Years ago, a guy I dated asked what I thought about (using your term) polyfidelity relationships. My answer was that I didn't think I could handle them. He liked that answer because I wasn't condemning them for others, but was honest about thinking I couldn't deal with them myself.

I've never been involved with anything like that, but I know a few people who were, and not one of them stayed married. One of the couple would always become emotionally involved. Then, that person would be hurt if the relationship went nowhere, or that person wanted out of the marriage to be with the new love, or the spouse become jealous. It never turned out well in the situations I knew about. In some cases that may have been, in part, because of our social "norms" ---what most of us expect in a marriage or what we fear others will think if they find out we are doing something outside of those expectations. Guilt? It has been so ingrained in many of us who grew up in religious homes.

I don't know if this is a good analogy, but I have several friends who have switched religions 5, 6, 10, a dozen times, always looking for something outside themselves that they need to find within themselves. I wonder if the excitement of a constant stream of new sexual partners is not much the same? Just a thought.

Anyway ---you and Peggy are still together so you must have done something right.

Re: Friendship
I have lost contact with more friends than I have kept. As you said, friendships are founded on shared beliefs, interests, and geographic proximity. I will also add that in some cases an intense and/or unique experience holds friendships together. (In some cases that could also split them apart.)

Most of my friends were fellow classmates or co-workers. I have lost contact with almost all of them.

Some friends moved after retirement---to Florida or Arizona, so I see them rarely.

This week I am meeting with 2 former co-workers for lunch. The meeting came about when I contacted one with my condolences for the loss of her mother. We hadn't seen each other for about 7 years---and that would have stretched farther if her mother had not died.

The longer my husband and i have been together, the more we have taken on each other's worst characteristics. He has become "organizationally impaired" like me. I have become very much of a loner, like my husband. As a result of getting set in our own routines, even an occasional get-together with an old friend seems like a chore sometimes.

Most of my friends and I stay in touch via email, but even those messages are few and far between. One friend and I exchange links to sites we think the other will like ---rarely even write a short personal message.

Later this year, an old friend from across the country and I plan to take a trip together. We worked outside of the country for a while. Over the years, we have discussed returning to visit former students --and finally, after 40+ years, it is going to happen. Yet, in those 40 years, we have seen each other only 3 other times. I have kept in touch with only 2 of the 50 or so Americans i was close to then. But our shared (and very unique) experience have kept our friendships going.

Re: Loneliness
If one of us leaves home for a trip ---it is usually me. When I'm away, I don't miss my husband ---because I'm traveling, seeing the sites, attending a conference. But on the rare occasions when he is away, I miss him terribly.

But I rarely feel alone or lonely, even on days when my husband and I spend most of the day apart. I am comfortable with myself. I write a lot and create art work ---which transports me outside of myself. Books are often my best, albeit temporary, friends.

The Tusk said...

Friend,
Sorry I haven't written you in so long, but to spill your guts to get me to open up and write again, is beyond anything I would have done for you. I must now re- assess our relationship, it may not turn out to be the better for wear, but at least we are both moving forward, may be I too can open up and build upon what you have started here.

maybe not.

What I simply want to say is this.

I wish you had used bullet points instead of spacing your sentences as if they were paragraphs. My daughter a recent college graduate in education tells me as I write my Fairy tale, 'Dad' She says 'paragraphs generally have 3 to 4 sentences in them.'

Most recently I have been listening to a song from 9 crimes.

The words are about cheating it goes like this 'How am I supposed to hold your Gun, if you don't shoot it',.

Well Snow, you shot your Gun with this post, I'd be happy to hold it for you if you need.

I wonder if you ever heard of Genya Raven, Urban Desire, its mostly a gutsy Bluesy New York Experience from the 60's predates Rickie Lee Jones. I'm just wondering from your trappings where the similarities of the female voice might land.

nollyposh said...

"All I can figure is that my readers have come to expect a high level of forthrightness about what many people would consider to be inflammatory topics." ...Yep! and we still loves ya X;-)

The Tusk said...

here is a brief quote from emersons self reliance, of which I am now reading. Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Vagabonde said...

I enjoy reading your posts – you are genuine and honest. I have few friends and don’t see any regularly – and I don’t miss it. I get all my friendship needs via my blog now and enjoy it a lot.
I have been away for the last three weeks and read your past posts. One thing I heard several times in the countries I visited (Belgium, Austria and France) was that people think the people in the US are hypocrites. I was surprised really. But several times I heard that – many said the same thing – they said that people here are over religious but don’t care about the homeless, the poor or people who are not like them.

I hope that your pain is getting milder – life is not so much fun when you have a lot of physical pain.

Phoenix said...

Very thought provoking post, it's fascinating to hear some of your back story and personal history. I feel like I know even better where you are coming from.

I hope you've been well these days and are recovering quickly.

Linda said...

I recently moved from California to a tiny town in Oklahoma and having no friends, I started a blog. I've found I am more happy with my blog friends, and know more about them, than with any of my old friends. Okay, maybe there are 2 or 3 real life people who I still talk with and consider friends.
I usually am more lonely in groups than I am alone. I saw someone say that in a comment above, but it is something I normally say regardless.
You must have a lot of virtual friends, judging from your comments.