But that’s not the only standard, of course. For a long time I just didn’t bother thinking about that whole “your blog is not worth reading” vibe from so-called friends. I didn’t even bother to wonder why they were being like this, I just decided they weren’t behaving as real friends ought to.
Aside #3: One thing I always told my kids, “If you wouldn’t treat someone that way (i.e., badly), then you don’t deserve to be treated that way, either.” I find that’s a good way to tell if someone is treating you badly, if you can’t tell by that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach.
That brings me to other, more recent (within the last 2 years or so) reasons I stopped communicating with so-called friends.
One is what I referenced earlier: If I feel bad after communicating with someone, whether in person or online, I know they’ve treated me badly even if it takes awhile for me to figure out how.
I really agonize over cutting people out of my life, I really do. I think of all the things I love about them, what makes them unique, and good times we had. But I decided (after I left my batterer) that I wouldn’t continue to deal with people who hurt my feelings, time and time again, even after I tell them what they did and made it clear that it hurt me. Once they ignore that, I cannot continue the relationship.
One former friend and I had been through 2 jobs together, had gotten unfairly fired from the same place (by the same people who decided they didn’t like either of us), and shared many good times together. I enjoyed talking with her because she is an intelligent woman who knows a lot about psychology. I just enjoyed her company, full-stop.
But something changed one of the last times I went back to Memphis for a visit. I won’t go into great detail but she didn’t treat me very well – she called me a bad mother, tried to tell me how to dress/look, made passive-aggressive remarks about how I thought and felt about things, and generally made me so uncomfortable and sad that I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
I told her at the time that she was saying hurtful things. She just looked at me as if I had grown another head. Soon I just stopped talking at all – all I did was nod and agree. When I got back to where I was staying I felt relieved but puzzled. She had never acted that way before, as if nothing I did or said was right. Certainly she had never ever snapped at me.
I can’t ever let this kind of thing happen to me again, not from anyone. So I just stopped responding to her emails or calls. Whenever she made a direct comment to me online, I would thank her for her comment. That is my default polite response. Because I still have manners, after all!
The other person I reluctantly stopped talking to was someone I have known for a very long time. Our contact over the years has been sporadic, but lately it was pretty frequent, via email.
This person was not at all supportive of me starting a blog, and even went so far as to make a sarcastic and hurtful comment when I started writing it. Something implying that I couldn’t write well. I told her it hurt me. She expressed surprise and told me she didn’t mean it that way.
But she kept doing it. Little barbs and jabs here and there. Passive-aggressiveness disguised as humor (not very well disguised, though). A few “you’re wrong” kind of remarks on things I had opinions on – not as legitimate disagreements between friends, but as she was right, period. And that I was somehow a lesser person for holding the views I do.
The last straw was when she decided to come down on me for not eating the kind of diet I “should” eat – in other words, the one she eats. She is vegan, I am vegetarian. Not much of a difference, right? I was a vegetarian long, long before she was, and I never once ever discussed the food she ate. Because it’s none of my business how anyone eats.
But she is on a moral crusade, and she is an animal rights supporter. Even when I first began vegetarianism in 1970 (I was 14), I did it because I didn’t believe in killing animals for food. At my age, at that time, that was a position that prompted much ridicule from nearly everyone I knew. However, my position was never, and still isn’t, that animals have “rights”.
We are obligated to not be cruel to animals. I don’t think, however, that milking cows on organic, cruelty-free farms is cruel. Certainly I pay enough for the milk – since apparently using less equipment and letting cows graze somehow entitles those farmers to bigger profits (wow, how dedicated to animal welfare!).
I do not think that gathering (unfertilized) eggs from free-range chickens is cruel. And, again, the nice farmers who love their chickens certainly profit a lot from concerned consumers – for cheaper operation costs.
She doesn’t agree. But she commented on this blog and blasted me for it. It was a condescending rant in which she attempted to educate me on issues I was pondering long before we even met, and long before she made her own dietary choices. The implication was that I am ignorant of animal welfare issues and that my diet encourages cruelty like milking cows and using it to make cheese and so on.
I didn’t delete her comments because she didn’t swear or do anything outrageous – oh, it was rude, alright, but not intolerably so. I thanked her for her comment. Because I have manners, as I mentioned before.
But it was the last straw. I don’t need people in my life who insult my intelligence and criticize me for how I live and what I think – especially about issues that are important to me. Friends don’t do that.
There are issues she and I will never agree on, and up until now I was ok with that. Certainly I never chastised her for ignoring issues I felt were important, or for holding views that I considered non-issues (first-world problems, so to speak).
If I interacted with people on a shallow level, I wouldn’t have these heart-wrenching decisions to make. I don’t have 2000 “friends” on Facebook. I have a few close friends on whom I can rely, who I respect and who respect me in turn. So when I choose to cut one loose, it hurts. Most likely it hurts me far more than it hurts them.
Today’s weirdness comes from Snopes. It’s weird and sad at the same time. A boy was filmed kicking a woman in the face, at the behest of his mother – in Walmart:
“Video of Little Boy in Walmart Brawl”, Kim LaCapria, Snopes, 6/19/2015.
Recommendation for this week is Hulu’s series “The Wrong Mans” (yes, that’s how it’s spelt). If you like bumbling humour ala Ricky Gervais, this is for you. If you think British humour begins and ends with Monty Python, maybe not so much (I love Monty Python, btw).
Watch “The Wrong Mans” on Hulu here.
Be good. Be kind. Don’t hurt your friends.