Thursday, January 12, 2017

friendship, dissected

Today I was talking to Azer.

Me: "Sometimes I end up in a friendship that makes me unhappy.  It would feel really awkward to explicitly tell the person I don't want to be friends any more.  But ghosting or always saying I'm busy makes me feel guilty for a long time."

Azer: "I had a friend tell me that the friendship wasn't working for her.  She said that she didn't want to invest more time in it.  I really respected the way she was honest about it."

Me: "Wow, really?  Was it someone you dated?  Did you ever run into her again?"

Azer: "Purely platonic friend. I did run into her later, and it was a bit awkward but basically fine."

Me: "I'm afraid I'd run into them again.  I've ended a couple friendships and then it's so awkward when mutual friends want to hang out together."

Azer: "Cascade delete is always tough."

Me: [lol]

Azer: "Maybe you need to have a stronger filter, to prevent from getting far into these friendships.  Treat it like interviewing for work.  If you were hiring for your startup, would you have hired any of the people?"

Me: "Oh God, no.  One of them invited me to lunch with her fiance the third time we met, and then got into a shouting match with him and threatened to break up with him at that lunch.  I felt so uncomfortable.  Another person met me and spoke to me for ten minutes and then went home and added me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, my blog, and emailed me.  My inbox had eight emails in a row with his name, and it creeped me out.  A third person would go into these multi-day bouts of self-criticism after every bad date, and it was so draining for me to hear about."

Azer: "If this stuff happened after the first or third time you hung out, why did you ever hang out with them again?"

Me: "Sometimes I did stop, but then I'd run into them after a couple years, and they'd feel familiar.  I'd forget that I had previously been bothered."

Azer: "Familiarity does have that effect.  There was this one guy I worked with, Joe, who I hated.  I ran into him after four years, and talked to him for 30 minutes even though I hated him.  He felt familiar.  But you should have higher standards for friends than for who you hire at work.  I do."

Me: "You do?  I have very high standards for work hiring decisions, but I feel like I should be more supportive of friends.  Everyone goes through tough times and does weird stuff.  I feel like I should be understanding."

Azer: "Sometimes I have to work with people that I wouldn't want to be friends with.  But if I'm going to actively make someone my friend, there's a higher bar."

Me: "Wow."  [mind blown]

Azer: "You fire people at work, right?  You don't ghost, or end things by exploding.  You explain the situation calmly."

Me: "Yes, of course."

Azer: "You already know how to filter and fire at work.  Just apply this to friends."

1 comment:

Stephanie Jones said...

This is pretty much common sense stuff.