Friday, May 30, 2014

How Much Drama is a Friendship Worth?

I hate drama. 

I know some people thrive on drama. And, I'll admit a little bit keeps things interesting. A little mistake here and there or accidentally angering someone and then apologizing keeps things from getting boring. But only with quick resolution and in long-term friendships.

But what about a friendship that is new, not deep, and not committed? What if someone perceives you to have done something so terrible that they must "talk to you about it" but not so heinous that they can just permanently end the friendship, but you have a minimal investment in the friendship? Then what? How do you determine if a friendship is worth trying to work out an issue?

To me, very few friendships are worth the drama. Even some of the best friendships I ever had ended over drama. Drama that I can't even remember now. I was mad for some reason. And maybe they were too. And we just let circumstance end it.

I'm a classic extrovert. I make friends easily and I lose friends easily. Almost none of my friendships are deep. I just don't naturally foster and keep deep friendships. I don't consider myself the kind of person who "throws away" people or finds people disposable. On the contrary, I believe that, for me, friendships meet certain needs at certain times. For example, I am very good at making friends with people who are outcasts or know no one. And I consider myself a "transitional friend" to them. I bridge the gap, help them feel welcome, give them confidence, and am a person they can confide in until they can meet more friends who will meet their deeper needs. I don't believe I meet the deeper needs of most people I befriend. And I'm totally ok with this.

With this in mind, when a casual friendship hits a serious bump in the road--to the point where the other person needs to have a deep, serious conversation with me, this is where I usually decide to cut my losses and move on. Sure we can have the conversation, but the fact that you need to have it with me is enough for me to think I don't want to continue with this long-term. If, every time you have an issue, you need to sit down and have a serious talk, I'm just not sure it's worth the trouble. Yes, you care enough about our friendship to talk it out, which I appreciate. But it also signals to me that you might be a person who finds drama where there is none. And, sorry, but I can't deal with that.

If you are family, it's worth the effort. If I've been friends with you for a long time, you probably haven't done this before so I know it's not a pattern. But I just don't have that confirmation in a new or casual friendship.

But here's the tricky part: What if your kid and my kid are friends? What if they are best friends? And what if we see you all the time, so will be faced with each other regularly? Now, my decision to end a friendship is not just my decision. I'm faced with 2 choices: 1. Try and explain to my kid why she can't see her friend anymore EVERY TIME she sees her friend AND try to awkwardly be polite to the parents when I see them, or 2. Try and deal with it for the kid's sake. Try to mend the damage that's been done and move forward.

I really hate being forced into this position. But I guess I have no choice. I guess I have to try and face the drama head on and move on. Hopefully this is a one-off. Hopefully this will never happen again. But if it does, we probably won't be friends anymore. Yep, maybe it's my issue. I'm damaged and can't deal with conflict. But it's still my choice.

Ugh. What do you think?