Begrudging the befriending

I was talking awhile ago about friendship. How our friends are part of our chosen family, our partners in crime and our safety net. I also think I said we accept them as they are, no more and no less. And that is what makes friendship such a great thing: no questions, no regrets. Good friends accept each other inconditionally, but there is an underliying affection that softens the edges of each other's personalities.

Yesterday talking to you, you seemed not to be able to grasp the fact that even though you are egocentric, selfish and self-centered, I still wanted to be your friend. So what if you are all those things? I was not excusing you (or any of my friends) when I said I know -and have befriended- people who share one or two of those traits. The fact is, even though people may be considered that way, they still make good friends. Friends accept each other's shortcomings, but -like in any other relationship- it's their shared interests and what they get from each other without questioning what makes the friendship last.

What I did not accept was your being callous and brash. It may be still all about you (or me, or him) but there are basic things that make us relate to other human being: kindness, politeness, thoughtfulness and the involvement in each other's lives. That was what I did not see and what lead me to retreat. For a friendship to work, both sides should be willing to give in the measure they can afford to give. If you are selfish in your daily life, that means that what you give in a relationship may also be little, but there is SOMETHING that is given. You can center your universe around yourself, but open up when you want someone to share it with you. And the person who is receiving or sharing what you give or share will know this. They know you and your circumstances. No questions asked, I said.

You can still be you and have friends (you have obviously had friends before this time and will have more after, too). What you cannot seem to understand is that some people will not accept a quasi-24-7-S&M-relationship where one person gives all the time and the other takes all the time. That's tiresome. For both sides. It only works on the paper, probably penned by Pat Califa, in one of those lurid paperbacks we find ourselves reading once in a while.

It may be part of the process of maturing, or it could be linked to our upbringing, but we all relate to friends and lovers in different and peculiar ways. Maybe what makes us US is what defines how we interact with those around us. I have always had close relationships with some people for years on end and have had lots of acquaintances through the years that have been -and are- as fleeting and inocuous as a spring shower. Friends see a different me than acquaintances do. Maybe because I allow them to? I have let you do that. Maybe because I leave my own self-centerdness and selfishness evaporate for a few hours while I'm with those friends? Probably.

Maybe the problem was the way we related at the beginning. Lovers come and go but friends stay. Friends can stand the sight of our imperfections. Lovers sometimes can't. Friends can retreat and return to you. Lovers sometimes cannot even stay away for a minute and end up suffocating the relationship. Friends see us for what we are. Lovers sometimes take us for what they want us to be. And when we are not, the link between you and that lover is shattered.

Maybe our relating at this 'other' level is difficult because as I told you, we did not have the 'cushion' of friendship to fall back on after our little ... interlude. Our friendship should be constructed, if we want to have one. Once we overcame the physical attraction and the fantasy an infatuation brings, becoming friends may be easy or difficult. It depends on us, I think. Some people cannot be friends after being lovers, some people can. I have been able to do it with some men, not with others.

So what if we cannot be friends? So be it. We'll just keep on doing our thing, living, growing, working, loving, enjoying ourselves and having one or two heartbreaks. Isn't that life? No biggie, babyboy. Lo que será, será.

And that's good enough for now.

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