Giving Up On Friendship

Recently, I lost a friend. He didn’t die, he just decided he didn’t want to be friends anymore. The reason? Partisan politics. After twenty years. We were very good at preventing our considerable political differences from hindering our friendship until we weren’t.

I’m not sure how to write about it. I don’t want to give you just my version and I don’t want to try to summarize my former friend’s thinking. Suffice to say, he just got to the point where he said, “I can’t take it anymore.” I think “it” being anti-Trump liberalism.

I guess we weren’t as good as friends as I thought. Like many, many times before, I wanted to work it out. For the first time, he clearly didn’t.

I’ve learned at least two things. One is that I’m not immune from the relationship destroying political dissension that so many people are experiencing not just with friends, but family. I was naive about that, wrongly thinking that my interpersonal skills and educator sensibilities enabled me to sometimes befriend my political opposites. This failure has been humbling.

Another thing I’ve learned, or more accurately re-learned, is that all friendships are based upon reciprocity. Each side has to continually extend themselves. If one side stops for whatever reason, it’s out of the other side’s control. Most simply put, friendship can’t be forced.

I can’t think of any way to spin this as positive. It’s upsetting and my attitude about it, “Fuck it, it was stupid of me for thinking we were close,” is poor.

But I’m okay with having a poor attitude. I accept he doesn’t want to be friends. Have a nice life.

Are Women Smarter Then Men?

The seven minute video story at the bottom, about a group of friends in Chile, is a true joy. Do yourself a favor and start your week with it. How wonderful that these women have been friends for six decades. And I love their quirky personalities and exquisite taste in baked goods. Best of all, the beautiful “punchline” at the very end.

The Good Wife has had a similar group of close friends for close to two decades. To the Chileans, the Olympia Coffee Klatchers are mere pups.

For decades, in Ybor City, FL, Mother Dear has spent almost every Saturday morning enjoying Cuban coffee and cheese bread with the same girlfriends.

Big Sissy has been walking her Northwest Indiana ‘hood with the same few girlfriends for decades.

Increasingly, positive psychologists are telling us what we already instinctively know. Life is most meaningful when lived in community.

In fairness, some men make time for one another. My closest friend at work has helped lead a raucous book club in Tacoma, WA for the last 20-30 years. Of course, when Oprah learned about “Gower”, they were invited onto her show. And Older SoCal Bro gathers for coffee with a few male friends most Saturdays. And I run with the same group of male misfits a few times a week. We’ve had women members, but we’re so uncouth, they don’t last long.

Despite some evidence of male bonding, I can’t help but conclude women are more intentional, and therefore smarter, about investing in friendships. Why is that?