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Mar 2013 25

by Laurelin

Friendships are funny sometimes. I feel like there are so many different kinds of friendships; some strengthen and grow constructively while others fade and eventually cease to exist, even if no event in particular caused them to do so. There are a few different kinds of friends you find while immersed in the bar scene. Those you trust, and those you do not. You learn quickly that sometimes what you choose to tell someone in confidence isn’t in fact in confidence at all. If someone is always telling you secrets about other people, chances are, they are not keeping yours.

The lines and circles between bar scene friends and real friends are only slightly blurred in my world. I have a handful of people I call when I’m down and need to cry, a bigger handful of people I am comfortable talking about general life with, and an even bigger circle of people who I call every time I just want to have fun –– and even those people I know I could talk to about mostly anything. The circles blend, overlap, people often change positioning as friendships strengthen and others fall back. One thing is for sure: real friends tell the truth, even when it’s the last thing you want to hear.

I remember once in college my three best friends sat me down and told me they couldn’t listen to me talk about my ex boyfriend anymore. It had been over a year since we had broken up, I was actively participating in allowing him to cheat on his girlfriend who replaced me and I was in a constant state of upset over it.

“This is YOUR bad choice, you know where we stand,” they said. “We hate to see you getting hurt but when you’re not doing the right thing what do you think is going to happen? You can’t change if you don’t want to.”

That was a wake up call. Hard to hear, but they wanted what was best for me and I should want that too.

I’ve had similar talks with friends over the years, people who I have listened to for far too long dealing with things I knew should be different but weren’t because the person chose to be blind. As friends it is our duty to stand by and be a helping hand when someone is going through a hard time, and every so often we have to reach a little farther and help pull someone up out of hell. It’s exhausting, watching someone fall deeper and deeper into a situation; all you can do is be there for them and hope that the same will be done for you when it’s your turn to stumble.

Last night a friend (after a few drinks) dropped a bomb on me. While chattering about one of the few guys who are currently taking up some space in my mind, my guy friend set his hand on mind and told me to stop talking about it. “I can’t listen to this anymore,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense, it’s not going anywhere and you always do this, wrap your mind up in a fairy tale. This isn’t real, none of this is really happening the way you think it is,” he blurted out.

I froze, wanting to cry. Did I make a mistake, put my trust in talking about something with the wrong person? Has he always felt this way? I listen to him talk about his ex-girlfriend on a daily basis, sometimes wanting to shake him because the things he said or did were so insane, but I never did. I let him rest his head on my shoulder and I said things like, “I know what you’re going through,” because I remember what it’s like to hurt so badly. Now, in one jumbled up sentence every word of encouragement and support I had lent him died on my lips. I felt stupid.

“This isn’t real, none of this is happening the way you think it is…”

I managed a smile, sipped my beer and changed the subject. The night for me, was over.

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