I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and that it was everything you had hoped for. On Tuesday I canceled all my holiday invites and on Thanksgiving Day I drove to the desert for a long hike. The sun was hot , and the breeze was cool. I love it when I am warmed by the sun, and cooled by the air.
For whatever reason, I found myself not looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. I just didn't want to socialize, or hang out with anyone. As the holiday approached, I was filled with more and more dread. Once I picked up the phone, and canceled my invites, I was extremely relieved.
I had some things that I needed to sort out, and think through, and the silence of the desert sets the stage for me to do that. There are no telephones, TV's, computers, or poodles out there so there is little distraction from my thoughts.
One of the things I needed to resolve was a friendship I made a few months ago. It was with a woman who is in the program, and has about five years sobriety. She actually has fifteen years program, but used five years ago. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone, and when Paalm Spriings Pride came along we all decided to hang out there. She was getting to know another friend of mine, and were in the process of "hooking up". To keep things completely anonymous I will call the new friend Jane, and the other friend Mary.
Prior to heading out the Pride festival, Jane made it clear when she was going to spend time with me, and when she was going to spend time alone with Mary. She set her boundaries, and I didn't really think too much of it. The person I was going with bailed on me at the last minute so I went alone. At the festival I asked them if they wanted to do dinner that night, and I suggested Peruvian food. Jane promptly said that they were having sushi that night, and she would call me when they got back to the hotel. What was a ten minute drive for me (we stayed at the same hotel) took them about forty five minutes. When she called she told me that it would take them an hour and one half to get ready for dinner. After an hour I called to see how they were doing, and Jane said they weren't even close to being ready. I said, "No problem. I am going out to eat."
I had a wonderful Thai dinner, and people watched without interruption. Later on that evening around ten o'clock, Jane called and told me there were done eating and asked if I wanted to follow them in my own vehicle to the gay bar for some dancing. I was quite tired of her behavior by this time so I told her that I would be staying in for the evening.
One more piece of information that you all need to have - Jane lived in Paalm Spriings before and knew her way around town quite well. So, when I mentioned that I didn't know where the bar was her suggestion for me was to call the bar for directions. Earlier that day when I arrived in town I asked her where the festival was and she told me to ask the hotel clerk.
After Paalm Spriings I stopped taking Jane's phone calls, and told my other two friends that I was not happy with the way she treated me, and I didn't want to talk to her. After about two weeks I thought I should at least tell her why I wasn't talking to her. I contacted her, and we discussed our differences. She said she set her boundaries and was quite clear in telling me what they were, and that she was not responsible for me. She also mentioned that my expectations of my friends were too high.
This is so contrary to how I view my friendships. For me, once I have established a friendship I make myself available to that friend 24/7. My phone is always on and I answer it when it rings. If a friend needs help, I rearrange my schedule. If they call at an inconvenient time, I stop and talk to them. This is what I offer for friendship, and in return I expect to be treated well.
So the moral of this long story is: I don't have to have people in my life that don't treat me well. I am willing to accept Jane's boundaries, but in return I insist she respect mine. My boundary is that I don't want her friendship. My life is very full, and I get to choose who I will spend time with. These days I get to choose who I call 'Friend'. How do you define Friendship?