December 08, 2013

Taking Out the Trash



Willful ignorance.



What do all these words have in common? They all refer to a stage in a relationship. Some friendships are made to last, withstand anything and everything. Others are made to last just long enough for either or both parties to glean what they need and move on. The problem is how the split happens before the moving on. There are a few classic ways a friendship can crash and burn. Sadly, none of these are confined to high school. This is real and prevalent in adult society.

You've got the “you slept with/stole my significant other, go to hell” This one is pretty straight forward, there was a blatant betrayal whether the friend was seduced by the significant other and caved or whether there was a willful act by both parties. Every now and then the friendship can be salvaged i.e. the bros before hoes/chicks before dicks clause. It is never quite the same afterward though.

Then there's the “Frenemy” This happens primarily with women, I'm sure it happens with gay men as well, but for now I have little to base that conclusion on. Frenemies are friends that are actually enemies that are kept around because you need to. Think: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This will always end in a fiery clash of attitudes, behaviors, and flat out ugliness. One cannot maintain a false relationship with someone and it not end badly, period. Many times these endings are permanent, but there are those who carry out these relationships on and off for years because they crave the chaos that goes along with such unions.

There is the “you jacked with my kids/spouse/family”. Mama bears everywhere have taken out what was once a close friend due to some kind of major betrayal in regard to family. Sometimes it's a quiet, “get out of my life”, others it's loud an clear: “you come near us again and you will be ruined.” This is always a permanent rift. There may come a day of not so awkwardness in the grocery store, but there will never be a friendship again.

There are many stages of friendship and betrayal and ultimately end. I've had relationships end because the person/people in my life were no longer on the same life path as me. I've had them end because I've done things that they couldn't abide. I've had them end due to the deceit of others, and I've had them end due to my own conscious choice to not harbor a “frenemy” or maintain a false friendship.

When a couple or a set of friends split, there is always side taking by those around that couple of people. Most times it isn't deliberate but it is real and necessary. Very few can be truly neutral in any split, it simply isn't possible. When someone seemingly makes a choice or claims neutrality then one must maintain that choice or neutrality. If their heart changes it is their responsibility to tell the person to whom they have feigned closeness their true opinion. It's simply the polite and correct thing to do. To not do maintain a relationship, garner further closeness with that persons offspring, and glean information to take back to the former friend or significant other...well that's just flat out ugly.

That behavior alone will get someone cast out of a relationship. No one should be shocked or hurt by such a thing. To try and keep up the “frenemy” act is juvenile and uncouth. I know that I am too blunt sometimes and have separated myself from people in not the most tactful way, but I tend to do to others what has been done to me. I can, with confidence, say that I have never cast someone out as harshly as I have been cast out by others. I had a 16 year long friend reduce me to an emotional wreck just because he didn't like the way I lived and didn't have the respect to ask me to clarify a simple statement made during a sober conversation. Any person that I have cut loose I've tried to do in an honest and complete manner. I do, after all, have a child to protect. I can't have just anyone claiming right to her and trying to interfere in her life.

When you open your home to someone and they claim even the slightest loyalty, you believe them. You believe them until the day comes that they've overstayed their welcome and moved out and all the true colours were uncovered. How would you react to knowing that someone to whom you'd shown kindness actually didn't like you, had no respect for you, and had betrayed confidences to those whom the confidences were about? Well, this Southern lady cut the cord, kept a very long leash because her child was still involved in the situation. I don't do frenemies, I don't do false promises of confidence, and I certainly don't allow someone who has betrayed me free access to my child.

I much prefer those who have the heart and good manners enough to tell someone their true feelings and their true intentions. Here in the South, that's just the way it's done. We call it housecleaning and these days...I'm a housecleaning fool. I won't stop until I have my (proverbial) doorstep free of excess clutter and trash.   

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