Now immediately there are a few things to note before we begin. This will be largely anecdotal, I’m not an old guy, and hardly a professional. However I haven’t a single regret in my life, I have made mistakes, but I don’t regret them. People make mistakes and that’s how they learn, the take these mistakes and the knowledge the mistakes bestow upon them and they spread it to others. Theoretically it creates an evolution of common knowledge that protects future generations (and perhaps current ones) from the same mistakes. With that out of the way, here are a few things I’ve learned.
Do not fight to keep friendships. This is counterintuitive, and it goes against what you see in romance movies, feel good movies, etc. You have these people who go to the ends of the earth in order to keep a friendship alive. I don’t think this is necessary, in my own life this has always ended in a poor relationship. If you have a friendship that needs fighting to be maintained, don’t continue it. If you find yourself looking at a relationship as a stressful endeavor, don’t deal with it.
Why? Well, to be frank, there are 7 or so billion people in the world. That’s Billion as in…what 9 zeroes followed by a digit? A lot of people. For that one douchebag you fight to keep, you could have had 20 amazing friends who are there for you thick and thin. 20 amazing people you could have been for through thick and thin.
The best friends I have, and likely ever will have, never required me to fight for them. Now, literally speaking, if they were in danger I’d fight for their safety if the outcome was not likely death on my part (I am a selfish organism after all) but as for dealing with bullshit to keep a friendship? Nada. Don’t do it. You are constraining yourself by assuming that these people are so critical to your survival. Really the only perk they had going for them was the proximity to you. Otherwise you’d never have befriended them, you’d have moved two rows down and hung out with that person you mesh with much better.
The same goes for romantic relationships. If you find yourself hating the person you are with. Complaining about them night, and day, finding that you are more often in tears than smiling, leave these people. The only reason their antics survive is they know that a needy person will stay attached to them.
Of the 6+ years I’ve been with Liz we have fought maybe once. That one fight she doesn’t even remember (apparently, if I bring it up she seems confused). And that was within the first year of our relationship. It sounds cliché, and it sounds unbelievable, but there are people that can click this well. There is many someone’s, for everyone, that would make every life a wonderful moment in time.
The saddest thing in the context of this point is seeing people who are only together because they don’t want to go through the game of relationships again. It’s probably not of benefit to anyone to do this, with the new forms of communication you can interact with people on every edge of the globe at any time. It’s fantastic, use the tools available to truly make yourself happy.
If people shit on you, dump them and move on. Now I’m going to be honest here, I was one of these people. I overcompensated for #1, trying to be what I thought folks wanted me to be and I came off as a total prick for quite a long time. My fault, was a huge mistake. I ended up friends with people I didn’t really relate to, spent a bunch of years wasting my time trying to be part of the group. And really what did it leave me besides a lot of wasted effort that could have been put towards FAR stronger relationships.
Once I stopped trying to be a part of this group, I made very good friends with people I used to be a total shit to. I found that I had far more in common with the people I was shitting on, in hopes of not being shit on myself, than those I was trying to impress.
So just don’t do it. If your girl or boy friends, or adult friends, are the kind of folks that mock you and shit on you constantly. Just drop them. Again, 7 billion people, I got dropped a few times. Frankly I deserved it. My mistake was not following the first advice point once it happened.
Understand that People do Change. Don’t hold a grudge, that guy that was a total monster cock in Junior High may have had an epiphany and changed. If you find them acting remarkably different, it could very well be genuine. If you find out it isn’t, obviously drop them and move on. But don’t pass judgment eternally. There was a guy that lived in my neighborhood by the name of James (saving last name from this to protect his facebook), when he first moved to our area he was a nightmare. Because at his old school everyone was an asshole, people picked on him for being the nerd/nice guy.
The response in the neighborhood was visceral, everyone taunted him endlessly. Then after a while he just kind of stopped. He became himself again, that kid he was before his old school shit on him. Frankly he’s an awesome fella, I got to know him better, we found out (ironically) that our interests were very similar. Also found out that both of us felt like shit but just expressed it differently.
We don’t talk much, he’s got a family and a military life to deal with. But the dude is great, it would have been a great loss for me to just throw him under the bus for life because of the bad first response.
Don’t think about it too much. Relationships are like eating, in this paragraph at least. You want to think of it in a healthy way, but don’t dwell on it. Stick with relationships that feel natural, that feel fun. If at any point a relationship feels like a job, you probably should drop it. If you don’t, it is not the end of the world, but not that you could likely be having a much nicer time if you were with people who are naturally pleasant to be around.
My oldest friend who I still stay in contact with is Dave, it is a very natural relationship. I think of him like an actual brother. These sort of things are possible, even in small populaces. I would caution anyone against working hard for a relationship, don’t let sappy movies or songs lock you into an abusive situation that will inevitably leave you wasting a large part of your life that could have been so much better.
That’s it, I got to go pick up groceries from the farm. Just note that there are tons of people out there that would love to talk to you. It doesn’t matter if you are a Jersey Shore cast member or Mohandas Gandhi, every type of person has likely tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who would jive really well with them.
In this new world of interconnectivity, don’t let yourself be locked into the old world constraints of those closest to you. They are not inherently better by proximity.
Good luck, and by all means, ignore the ranting of the 24 year old . I would think that would be the safest bet.