Thursday, April 06, 2006

Reply to Anonymous #3

Listening to: nothing at the moment

First of all, I'll put an update of what's going on in my life soon...been quite busy (not necessarily with revision, which is a bad thing).

Right...on to what this is about. Anonymous #3, I'd like to thank you for your comment on my last post. In a world of undue judgment, it was refreshing to see some (mostly) constructive criticism. Something about the way you write (which, by the way, I greatly admire) makes me think that I know you; but since you haven't given me your name, I'll never know. If we haven't met, then I'm surprised that you feel you can pass judgment on what type of person I am just by reading a few rants. If we have met...then as you're not feeling courageous enough show your face, ideally I don't feel I need to justify my actions or opinions to you. However, for the purpose of posting a reply to your comment (and because at the end of the day, all of us feel the need to justify our decisions), I will attempt to address the issues you have commented on.

You've mentioned that I have to accept my friends for what they are, in order for them to accept me for what I am. I do, to a certain extent. The only issues I have with these people is when it comes to the meaning of friendship. To me, friendship is about being there for each other all the time, not just when the times are good. Friendship is about not being afraid to stand up for your friends when they're being treated unfairly, even if it makes you unpopular. Friendship is about trusting your friends enough to place your life in their hands, and being trustworthy enough for them to put their lives in yours. Friendship is about sharing laughs in the good times, and sharing hugs in the not-so-good. Friendship is about not being afraid to tell your friend when you think they're wrong, 'cos at the end of the day it's for their own good, and you want nothing more than for them to be happy...and being able to accept it when they tell you that you're wrong, for the same reason. So when my 'friends' do things that disagree with my ideas on friendship, I get upset. You say that changing myself doesn't necessarily make me fake. In my opinion, changing what I believe in just so that people like me, does.

You also mention that I should take matters into my own hand, and if these friends aren't a part of that future, it's their loss. I agree, I should. And I believe one of my main (if not my main) shortcomings is that I depend too much on others for my happiness. I have improved over the years, but the road is long and sometimes I falter. I am not perfect. I do try to improve though...hopefully I'll get brownie points for that.

In another paragraph, you question the suitability of this blog, with respect to the reactions of those who read about themselves in it. I have two things to say about this. One: those whom I comment about in this blog, already know how I feel about their actions. I have no issues with confrontation, and my blog entries are usually made after they have been informed of my opinion. So if they were to be pushed away, that would've happened before they got to my blog. Two: surely if my blog is pushing away those who upset me, then I'm effectively taking your advice (and that of many others) and ridding my future of these people?

There are a few other things you mentioned, which I feel are less constructive...but I'll address them anyway.
Change yourself or change your friends.
Would it not be more beneficial if both changed? A compromise, more than a give-take?
You're grown up now, life isn't fair.
I don't recall ever saying that it was. (to be honest) come across as someone who spends too much time feeling sorry for herself
One blog post maybe once a week (sometimes less frequent) spent lamenting about things that I can't change is 'too much time feeling sorry' for myself? Unless you know me, you won't know what I'm like at other times. And if you do know me, then you can't truly care about me, or you would've told me all this to my face.

Hmm...I finally feel I have adequately addressed the points you raised. So now I shall go and study. Thank you once again, Anonymous has been a truly invigorating discourse.


  1. Hey Sam,

    just a word about friends, about my experience...
    I used to be like you in the sense that I had a huge wish list about what friends should and shouldn't be, and in my immaturity at the time I even had 'criteria' for a best friend title to be bestowed upon anyone. Since I came to Holland, and was forced to adapt to a totally different lifestyle and find a way to hook on to the life and ways of the people who grew up here, I also had to think about the nature of friendship and what it was I really wanted. True, it's great if any one person fulfills all of the criteria you mention, but the truth is there are really very, very few people out there who are truly friends, then. And I truly believe that it is not the problem of anyone other than yourself when someone does not fulfill your expectations, in this case, your 'friends'.
    When I abandoned all the ideas I had about friendship, and let friendship happen to me, I started to realise how wonderfully different each friendship is. And of course, there are friendships in which you two are much closer to each other than in other friendships, but that's not a reason to call one person a 'better' friend. It's more about what is important to you, and really what you wish to depend on for your happiness.

    Now, in all reason and logic: which is the only factor you truly have under control? Right, you, yourself, toi. So while it is hard to let go of hopes and expectations like 'I should be able to place my life in my friends' hands' (because hopes like this provide, in a strange way, a sort of comfort) it truly does serve you better to enter any relationship without expectations, and try and remain without any expectations at all, and just be like the smooth stone in the stream that doesn't try and influence the flow of the water. That way, you essentially adapt what is important to you to a new and different situation. I know, it's hard - I don't always succeed at it - but where the 'friendship' part is concerned, it really worked out and I accept my (new) friends for what they are and I am not indignant when one of them forgets my birthday, just to name something trivial (which once was a huge criterion to me).

    Is it not a Buddhist teaching, that one should let go of one's desires in order to be truly free from suffering? Well, you're suffering, and I believe it would be vastly alleviated if you let go of your desires governing your conception of friendship.

    Remember, everyone has a different conception of what friendship is. It's no use feeling bad because your conception doesn't turn out to apply to anyone you hope to call a friend. In the end, it's you who runs your own life and if you're in trouble, your inner strength will be what ultimately saves you, and you should not need to depend on anyone or anything.

    My experience is also that once you let go of all of these expectations, 'new' friends will appear on your stage, and while they may not (always) play the part you would have written for them, the show is much more generous than you can probably imagine at the moment. Try and relax more where this is concerned, try and see everyone's good sides and focus on those instead of their shortcomings, and you will be much more content. That I can guarantee you.

  2. I'd like to say I can completly understand your situation but since I don't know you I can't really do that, but I am in almost exactly the same situation.
    I've read most of the comments and alot of people have made very valid points, but if it were me, I wouldn't compromise what I believe in just so I'd have someone to hang out with.
    Then again some could argue that this thinking has got me to a place where I am virtually friendless, and I feel like I'm the only person who will ever understand me, but you know what.. That's fine by me. Because over time I have made 2 of the closest friends ever, even if at times I foudn myself with no one to turn to. I'd rather save my time and energy for someone who will truely value the person I am, and someone who I can truely value back. It's pointless to me to have just fair weather friends that are around when everything's fine and gone when you need a shoulder to cry on.. I hardly call that friendship and is not worth the effort. People like that may definitely care about you, but end of the day, they care about themselves more and that's the only person that they're looking out for.

    That being said, people aren't perfect, like you said, you yourself aren't perfect.. and what I got from your post is that while you don't expect perfection, you expect the basic fundamental things of your version of friendship to be there, and I completely agree.. I think the same way.

    Don't go changing yourself to fit in. But on the other hand, you should also look at yourself and judge yourself by your same standards. Would you be your friend knowing everything there is to know about you?

    On the topic of ranting about people in blogs. It's always a dodgy situation. Somethings are better left to yourself if you have a blog that people you know can identify you by. Unless of course you are prepared for a little backlash, in which case it's fine. Most of the time people don't like hearing the negetive about themselves, even if they've been "pre-warned" about it.


Speak now, or forever hold your peace (well not really)!