Monday, August 1, 2011

One-Sided Conversation

Dear Journal (thought I'd try this approach on for size),

I have this friend ... No, really, I do!  Actually, he's the same friend who made the "well, at least you have hair" comment on Saturday night.  We've been friends for the better part of twenty years and, I swear, sometimes that old adage, "familiarity breeds contempt," seems to apply to how he treats me ... Or how I allow him to treat me.  sigh.  I sometimes abhor being a rational, growth-oriented adult.

Over the past eight years, our relationship has been through major upheaval due to changes in my  life, changes in his life and changes in our lives where they mesh.  Some of it was ugly.  One of the side effects of that is what this post refers to:  one-sided conversation.

For example, I will either call, e-mail or text him asking a specific question or sharing something I want him to be aware of so he won't hear it from someone else.  He doesn't answer the phone and so it goes to voice mail; the e-mail and text are out in the ether.  And there's no response.  Nada.  Nothing.  Not even to the question, which is not idle; I don't bother him with idle questions anymore for that very reason.  In fact, my communication with him is, for all intents and purposes, only on an as-needed basis for that very reason.  Except when we get together to play cards or games or some such thing.

(By the way, here's where I tell you that I'm not going to be a fanatic about my grammar, etc.  And it ain't easy not to edit, let me tell ya.)

I have this image of him grimacing when he glances at his ringing phone and sees it's me - like the guy in the picture, which is not him; it's a stock photo that I have the right to use.  I have this image of him grimacing when he sees an e-mail from me and him clicking delete without reading it.  I have this image of him grimacing when he sees a text from me and ignoring it or later telling me he never got it (one of his go-to responses when we're face to face and I ask, in my folly, "did you see my text?")

So, what happens when he contacts me?  I'm glad you asked.  First, contact will not be via e-mail unless he has no recourse; contact will be via either text or phone, but predominantly text.  If he texts a question, he expects an answer.  If I don't reply (this almost never happens; I can't bring myself to be that way), then he'll call.  If I don't answer (this almost never happens; I can't bring myself to be that way. did I already say that?), he'll leave a cryptic message and expect a response ASAP.

This whole thing has the potential to drive me bonkers.  Even after years of this behavior, and even after years of work around my ego (I've read "The Four Agreements" and Eckhart Tolle; I get my ego and I've even named her) and not taking things personally, I take it fucking personally.  This behavior can take me down into the suck hole and next thing I know, I'm throwing myself yet another pity party.  It can enshroud an otherwise lovely day in dense, stinky fog.

I don't know what to do about it.  Clearly my "allowing" it to continue undermines my self-esteem, but the thought of losing that relationship breaks my heart.  I'm welling up just considering that outcome and typing these words.  What is this spell?

I don't know what to do ...

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