How Most Friendships and Relationships Work: The 3 Phases
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer…
I've always had a hard time keeping friends. I find that it's easy to make friends and remain distant, as in not involved in each other's lives on a personal level, but once you visit that person's house frequently and start speaking to each other over the phone, and they start dropping in unannounced, it becomes more of a hassle than a relationship.
When I was young, I would make friends quite easily in my own class, and from there for next few months, things were fine. After that initial acquaintance, when people start relying on you, demanding things from you, and essentially becoming baggage, I started to duck them most of the time. I wouldn't answer the phone, or I would say that I was going fishing (which I actually hated), or was going to the mall to buy something. Anything that I could think of was fair game, as I would lie my way out of having to be unhappy in the company of others.
I don't quite know why I have always been this way, but I prefer to be on my own, or only occasionally being around others as I don't have the patience or sympathy in some cases to delve into really ‘deep and fulfilling friendships'. On occasion, when I've tried, it only back-fired, as the other person would be the first to wince, and steer off course before colliding in our game of chicken, seeing who would get sick of the other first.
I suppose a lot of men have these shallow friendships, where they get together, drink, laugh, watch TV, and do other things before heading home, back to work, and only having to engage in their social undertakings every weekend or so, and that's great, as you have more to talk about, more to laugh about, as opposed to just being there, and not having anything to contribute.
You see, there are three phases in friendships that generally apply, and if you bothered to pay attention in English class in school, you'll realize that they are idioms that are recognized the world over:
1) Familiarity breeds contempt.
2) Out of sight, out of mind.
3) Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
The first phase comes after you've been together as friends, or even in loving relationships with a partner or spouse, for a while. This can be weeks, months, or years even. It depends on a person's tolerance level, so to speak. Some people can tolerate a lot of nonsense in a relationship of any sort, and others will drop you in a second if you're the type that walks in to another person's house uninvited and make yourself a big triple-decker sandwich, clearing out the fridge from time to time (I've been accused of doing this; perhaps showing up at someone's house, but not making a sandwich. I usually have the decency to have lunch at my own place).
Anyhow, you grow tired of each other, or at least one party does, which can leave the other person very bitter, and wondering what they've done wrong, when it may actually just be time to take a break for a while. Of course not everyone is accepting of this, as I have found out on many occasions.
After you've either mutually decided to take a break, or very unceremoniously split and caused tensions a mile wide and gone in to hiding at another friend's house for a while (something I'm all too familiar with; the thrill of making plans with someone else, and getting away before the undesirable one gets a chance to ruin your day!), you're free, for now.
You go about your own business, do the household chores, go to work, stay at home and enjoy your own company, and do anything you want to do without having to worry about anyone else. You may think about the other person sometimes, or you might want to completely forget about them for the better part of the next few thousand years.
The very worst situation is when you want the friendship to end altogether, and you don't want to get back together ever again. If the other person either doesn't share the same sentiment, and is completely infatuated with you, or doesn't have any other friends, it will be a very hard situation to handle, and what's worse, they can go around and tell other people about what a horrible person you are, or spread rumours about you, and make your life hell, so be prepared; get there first if you have to, and pull the trigger on him or her before they get an army to come against you, the sorry losers.
In situations like this, these sorry losers can actually become popular as they rally everyone up against you. He was the runt that nobody liked, and all of a sudden, he's on top, as people hang on every word he has to say about you, as though he's the town crier. And to think, you might actually deserve it.
In the third phase, if it ever does happen, you might speak to or phone each other up, and things will be back to normal, except now you have restocked your ‘tolerance' to deal with more nonsense, before the entire cycle repeats itself over and over again.
It's true, what they say, that a little mystery, and playing it cool, can go a long way to preventing your friendships from ending. People hold the same ideal with relationships, where if one partner is too clingy and nice, they get bored, and seek that excitement that might have existed right at the beginning. I've been around long enough to know that this is true. It's just that when you see a person too often, it grinds on you, and you want a bit of space, a break, even for a while.
Some people are lucky enough to have life-long friendships, but perhaps they've also been through break periods, where they didn't see each other when going to different schools, getting a job, living in another country and only talking on the phone every once in a while, or sharing e-mails or communicating online in another fashion.
I've had shallower, acquaintance based friendships for the past few years, and I find it suits me just fine. I can do my own thing for the most part, and then meet up with the guys every now and again. It's called having your own life and your own plans without relying on everyone else or needing attention all the time; it shows a little maturity. Then again you may just dismiss it as the opinion of a cynical, maladjusted and bitter man. If that's the case, perhaps you need to take a little break from me.
"Love and friendship exclude each other."— La Bruyere
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© 2008 Anti-Valentine
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