Life is funny. Funny like when you think things are going terrifically well and you receive a pleasant surprise… then you look at it more closely and realize it’s not pleasant at all. It’s just a surprise, and that maybe, just maybe, you were fooling yourself about how well things had been going all along. So now it’s an unpleasant surprise. Like that big ol’ vat of internal B.S. that powers us and keeps our egos on top of the world starts overflowing and we slowly disconnect from the reality of a situation and everything looks so grand and sweet… meanwhile things are what they are and they are going the way they go. Disaster lurks in that gap between perception and reality and the bigger the gap, the bigger the disaster. Mind the gap…
The question I put to you, dear reader, is: how do you prevent that happening or even catch yourself when you’re doing it? How do you reality check yourself? This is where having good friends can come in handy. A good friend will say you’re crazy and otherwise question whatever nonsense is streaming out of you. Acquaintances and strangers are much less reliable in that regard. They’ll let you bury yourself. They’re pretty much only interested in what you can do for them. Usually in a very short-term to mid range context. The converse is equally true. People who are only interested in what you can do for them or how you can make them feel right now are not your friends. And I’m not talking about one of those special times in life when your friends really need support, I mean on any day of the week that suits them.
Regularly I used to go through my mental list of new “friends” and sort them into people who I would do most anything to keep near me (thereby giving fair trade on the relationship and putting them in the Real Friends pile) and people who are just floating around me with agendas I don’t even partially appreciate. I’d like to think I’m getting better at filtering out the latter but every now and again I start skipping along in my own dream world and I leave that door open… only to wind up confused and disappointed. Again. I think of it as a repeat self-inflicted gun shot wound, “I really should’ve known better; this always happens!” but as many smarter than I have pointed out, control is an illusion and some days I’m gonna’ get tripped up.
Which brings me to a point I’m reminded of in my personal and professional life as well as, on a slightly grander scale, the country’s economy. At some point you’re going to fail. You can worry about it night and day you can close up all the loopholes and it’s still going to happen, just in a way you couldn’t predict. The key is to have systems for recovery in place so that you fail well. By which I mean being robust enough to take the blow, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, take the time to acknowledge what went wrong and how you feel about it, and fix it if you can. If you can’t, eh, there’s nothing to do about it and there’s bound to be something else coming around the corner. Maybe something good… 🙂
4 thoughts on “Burying Caesar And Other Unavoidables”
Sounds familiar. Sometimes you meet someone who is really charming and expresses an interest in spending time with you, and it’s all so flattering, because you think “hey, this person really wants to get to know me”. But after a while, you realize that it is not about you at all, that it’s all about the other person who is empty and sick and only needs your company so they don`t have to feel the void that’s inside them.
I had to cut ties with someone like that several years ago. She had been using me like a drug. It took me 2 years to realize that she was not a friend.
Is this about the Chinese water torture thing not working out? I hope it’s something else. Whatever it was, I think you were much faster to arrive at the right conclusion, so that is good. Next time you’ll be even smarter.
“Is this about the… thing not working out?” It’s about every time I thought things were going great, not just ok, and come to find out… I was WRONG. There are so many events to mine from! LOL
I get a bogus phone number after meeting someone really cool, someone I was clicking along with on a dating site breaks off communication because I ask for a phone number, a date cancels and never reschedules and drops off the radar, there’s some random miscommunication and I get cut off cold… this kind of stuff happens All The Time. I think it’s an NYC thing. Lots of times I’m not the right fit, and that’s cool, but more than anything it’s like I’m failing THE TEST before I even sat down to take it. But wait, if we’re already talking… ?
There are tons of other single men in close proximity so it’s easy as hell for a woman to get a “better” date; something the men are always accused of but it happens on both sides. Also, I think a lot of women are really looking for someone to give them attention when it suits them and they have no idea what it means to give back. Or they’re choosing not to. I’m not saying all the reasons for this are bad. Could be they’ve been burned a lot. Shrug. Who knows? They’d have to stick around for me to find out.
Good points, Steve. I’m going to try to speak to this on my blog. The jump-off is going to be where you said “A good friend will say you’re crazy and otherwise question whatever nonsense is streaming out of you. Acquaintances and strangers are much less reliable in that regard. They’ll let you bury yourself. They’re pretty much only interested in what you can do for them. Usually in a very short-term to mid range context. The converse is equally true. People who are only interested in what you can do for them or how you can make them feel right now are not your friends.”
I don’t know why because I haven’t really thought about it yet, but I experience the same thing and I regard people as guilty until proven innocent. I assume that we’re not really friends until I have reason to believe that we are… Put a different way, I’m always the same towards people and I’m always expecting them to **** up on me. Once I feel differently, I focus more on the people I feel are “bout-it bout-it” and less on the people that seem to be neutral, fake or secretly anti-me.
This becomes a daily operation when you have over 2,000 Facebook “friends” and a bunch of contacts on other business and social sites. People move up and down the totem pole every day.
The problem, I believe is that “friendship” is taken too lightly by people that have no real use for friendship other than getting ahead in life. Another personal problem of mine is that I write for effect. I enjoy kicking people in the face with language and some chicks just can’t stand it. I say “chicks” because I’ve been personally spoken to by 3-5 females in the entire four years I’ve been doing my blog that had something negative to say about it. Of course, that led to a good debate and either the agreement to disagree or HER receiving a better understanding of who I am and what I’m actually saying that got her on board. Everybody else that’s ever told me they read my blog or watch my videos have enjoyed the uniqueness and the style and the humor and the fact that I make them THINK about things.
Due to the way we relate to each other, this leads to people who are essentially SCARED to tell you that they don’t like something you did or said…. EVEN WHEN you tell people all the time that you welcome and encourage intelligent debate. There’s no reason for people to believe that that’s true because they don’t know anyone, including themselves, that lives that way.
I think this is also the case with the female population here in NYC. They’re very “thresholdish”.. If you make it over a certain threshold, you can have anything you want.. UNTIL they figure out that they can’t find a way to lock you down as their own property, which is when they bail. If you aren’t over that threshold, the chicks are STILL going to act like you are so that they don’t have to make themselves uncomfortable by telling you the truth to your face.
This is why now, I go for contact info ASAP. If I’ve been introduced by a chick, it’s almost immediate. If I haven’t and it’s the first time I’m meeting a chick with no references, I’ll chat her up until I can feel whether she’d potentially like to hang out with me again or whatever, and then I’ll ask her. If she tries to go the “I’ll take YOUR number” route, I’ll tell her my name and let her google me. She can figure out if she wants to talk on her own time and leave me out of it.
But yeah, I’m gonna try to get into this on the blog. It’s pretty frustrating because you don’t have a foundation to stand on. I’ve even ATTEMPTED to make what I would consider stronger foundtions with women by explaining more of who I am to them and across the board, I’ve been shut down. The question that I have being “How can we REALLY be close friends if you’re not even interested in who I actually am?”
“Due to the way we relate to each other, this leads to people who are essentially SCARED to tell you that they don’t like something you did or said…. EVEN WHEN you tell people all the time that you welcome and encourage intelligent debate. There’s no reason for people to believe that that’s true because they don’t know anyone, including themselves, that lives that way.” – Bill, I wish I could say this is limited to a particular geo location but I’m not sure. I think it’s more related to where people are in their lives. Um, maturity?
Point to me to a woman who’s up for a lively debate and we’ll be friends for life! Deep discussions of the world inside and around us is another social tool to build a bond with your fellow human. Do I do this with my friends all the time, no. It would get boring. Are all of my real friends capable of diving deep when a ridiculous opinion begs to be challenged or some real world stuff happens and it NEEDS to be discussed, absolutely. Head in the sand doesn’t work for me.
Maybe some people don’t see the educational benefits in this kind of conflict. Maybe they’re up to something and any kind of scrutiny makes them uncomfortable. Maybe they have an unshakable world view that bolsters their brittle sense of self. Maybe they’re hellbent on avoiding the kind of pain a real discussion can sometimes lead to. Maybe they only want easy answers, who knows?
If you’ve put yourself out there in an effort to be transparent and it doesn’t result in a dialogue, that means you were talking to the wrong person. You have a mismatch in personal philosophy. Maybe just at this moment, maybe for much longer.