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Imogen

"Friendship" without common values or virtues

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I have searched and read through the many threads about friendship, and as most people know, asking for advice is asking others to confirm what one already knows s/he ought to do, so here I am.

I have had a friendship that has puzzled and frustrated me for 8 years. I have until recently not been able to figure out what I want from friendship, and consequently, I have participated in this relationship without being fully honest- either to myself or to her. This was not malicious, but a remnant from my upbringing in which I was ordered by my parents to be friends with the least desirable people as an act of charity (rich coming from two addicts, but I digress). In the last year, I have been better able to align my actions with my values in relationships, but this one is trickier because it spans a longer period than my other current friendships do.

I am not speaking with my friend right now because she shares my info with her husband, which would be fine except that he thinks it's okay to then share it wherever he pleases, which is his choice, and so I have made mine too.

Another piece of the issue is that he is a complete moron. In the past, he has 'trumped' my arguments by asking me to prove that my table is really there, or by asserting that a chair is really a chair only in relation to the fact that nothing around it is. My partner and he had an argument that ended with my partner telling him that the discussion is over, and he's not to contact us again. He refused to accept that what my partner said about his own motivation was actually the case. He had no evidence to the contrary, but insisted that his intuition is a better indicator of reality than my partner's logical assessment of himself. I wish I were making this up.

The last conversation they had, this man told my partner that he now believes that everyone has disabilities, and that some people are just more functional than others. AAAAAAHHHHH!!!

So his wife, my friend, is a master evader as regards her husband's behaviour and usually agrees with him, and whatever crackpot idea he comes up with becomes her new lens for viewing life.

I am at my wit's end, but when I confront her with the absurdities she presents to me, she just agrees with me. If we're all together in a room, there can be completely opposing viewpoints presented, and if she absolutely must (and she has grasped the exclusivity of a claim, which seems rather rare), she will say that she sees both points, but carry on acting according to the absurd one.

For many years, we were separated by distance and our friendship carried on by phone. Last year, she and her family moved across the country to live near us. It is better for her family, so it was a good choice regardless of their initial intention to be closer to my family. Anyway, since she's been here, it has become apparent that all those years that we talked about things that I value, and with which she agreed, and I assumed it was because she was living according to similar values, she was not. It turns out that virtually nothing of what I thought about her is true.

She seems to be a chameleon, which is upsetting to a high degree to me.

For instance, I thought we viewed government the same way, based upon what she has said to me during many years of discussions, but last year, she lied about her income in order to receive a tax grant for purchasing bicycles for her children, and she was pleased with her actions! We have less than half their income, twice their family size, and we buy our own bicycles. I was floored. She regularly uses government hand-outs (intended for low income families) to buy things she can easily afford. She participates in lobbies for more hand-outs because she wants to get more stuff for "free". Am I wrong to find this deplorable?

We used to talk about raising children all the time, and when they moved here, I discovered that to the contrary of our discussions about raising reasoning, thinking, happy, healthy children, she employs hitting, time-outs for x minutes, and then when her children do things that actually warrant serious discussion, she pretends like they've done nothing and ignores it. Her husband is worse in that he gives explanations that are ludicrous such as, "Don't jump on [my 2 yr old]'s back. He doesn't walk so good." This after their older, larger child jumped on my child's back while he was walking down the stairs! Nevermind that my 2 yr old is actually physically very capable and comparably advanced at his age- hardly in the category of not walking well.

So my issue is that I don't know how to air this or end my relationship with these people because talking to them is like trying to hold onto jell-o. They will ask "why" incessantly, and then continuously agree, when it is obvious that they don't know what they're agreeing with, OR, they will attempt to counsel us on our premises based on the "reality" that we are all one (and disabled, I guess :dough: ).

Ugh.

How do you end friendships? I understand and agree with the reason for having friendships, and this one doesn't fit. We don't share values, and my 'friends' seriously lack virtue. I am disgusted by their behaviours and floating perspectives.

Personal relationships (besides my children) are the aspect of my self-development that have been the most out-of-line with my intellectual understanding. It has just become plain to me that it is necessary for me to align them this past year. Any suggestion would be better than what I have now, which is just not answering the phone and hoping they don't show up at my doorstep. :confused:

Edited by Imogen

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Simply and politely state that you are not gaining any value from continuing to have the friendship, that in fact it has become a detriment to you and that you don't want her to contact you again.

If she asks why tell her calmly and objectively and if she begs you that she will be "better" tell her no.

The rest will take care of itself.

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Thank you for that. It's simple enough, I know.

Perhaps my lack of courage should alert me to a lack of resolve, which would point me to a less-than-solid understanding, at a fundamental level, regarding value and self-esteem. Or maybe my emotions just haven't caught up with my intellect.

I'm am seriously annoyed at how difficult this is for me to do. Reasoning through it is no problem, but doing it is another thing altogether. Funny thing, in every other aspect of my life, the reasoning and doing are two steps side-by-side on a continuum. It's just this one issue with these people that I have such trouble with. :(

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I suppose it could be asked, "What benefit does our friendship have for you?" That puts the ball in their court to answer to what they see as valuable in the friendship and, in turn, gives you the opportunity to contrast that silently with what you already know your values are.

Then, when you have them clearly stating their (obviously) misinformed sense of reality, you could politely inform them that your values are so radically different that you cannot help but be in conflict with them. And, since nobody wants constant conflict, you could simply suggest that it would be better to stay apart. Sometimes it is better to find your solution in separation if by being together you are constantly in conflict.

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I think the best way, if they're not willing to accept a "We're Through", is to cut off all contact: don't talk to them, be to-the-point and short if you meet them on the street, don't answer their calls or e-mails. Eventually, they will get the point. It seems to me that any benefit derived from this relationship won't outweigh the negatives you have enumerated here. In fact, you've only brought up the negatives and not once really said something positive about her. It seems to me you already know what your choice should be, you're just not very happy about making it--- it is understandable, though, but you must realize your attachment is not to HER, but to whom you thought she was. That person, as you can tell, never existed. So, let her go.

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I think Hypocrates may have been right when he stated that "brevity is the soul of wit." Mind you his subsequent rambling in the same speech belies his expressed wisdom. In any case, here is what I think you could write if you didn't want to go along with the wisdom of the other members:

    Dear So-and-So,

    There's a saying: "Never argue with stupid people. They'll only beat you down with experience." It is for this reason that I admit you are more experienced than I am, and I cannot argue my perspectives with you anymore.

    With that in mind, fuck off and forget we ever knew each other.

    Sincerely,
    Imogen

Too punchy? It's just a suggestion. :devil:

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I'd suggest just citing "irreconcilable differences" and that you think you could all go on to find more value in your lives sans these incompatible relationships. There are more fish in the sea. They can go on to find friends they'd get along with better or activities they like more the same as you could. Bringing that selling point up and keeping the reasons for the incompatibility very short and discouraging further discussion of the differences because they would produce nothing but more headaches may keep this as painless as possible.

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I know the feeling all too well.

At the moment I have no friends that I can even remotely relate to on an intellectual (and emotional) level. The only "value" I get from them is our similar sense of humour, which I'm starting to out grow anyway. At times I find myself feeling so lonely because of a lack of quality friends, of friends that I can engage in an intellectual conversation, friends that don't merely act on the whim of the moment, friends that don't see their idea as "fun" by waiting for Friday/Saturday night to drink themselves silly to the point where they can't even walk properly, or friends that don't get some sick satisfaction when you fail at doing something...I could go on.

I've got the most unbelievable mix of "friends": one of them is some ultra "left wing-socialist" who, despite my many attempts to explain it all to him, loathes Ayn Rand and the very concept of individualism (along with capitalism). The thing is, he totally misinterprets Objectivism. He likes to show himself as some "progressive" person who is "open to anything" yet he's also unbelievably conservative! If there's something that he disagress with (for instance, he doesn't like the short skirts that the girls wear at our local cinema), he'll say "I don't know, I don't like it, not one bit, something should be done about it, they can't do that." He's the type of person who doesn't even think properly the majority of the time. Some of the stuff this guy says is just unbelievable, and you can tell that absolutely no process of thinking was involved to come to any conclusion/statement that he makes. I don't mean this in an insulting way, but he's just stupid. He's a complete example of what it means to be "irrational."

I don't want to ramble on about my other friends; they're not as bad as the other guy. But I have zero connection with them too, and even they despise Ayn Rand (I exposed them to her work) because, as they put it, "she thinks she's right about everything, when she isn't." Ok, fair enough, they don't agree with her philosophy, but they never even make an attempt to discuss just what they disagree with, it's always some loosely based "reason" followed up by a "but I don't know." I showed them the youtube videos of her, and that's what put them off, but they had the opposite affect on me: I was drawn towards her, I felt inspired when I saw this elderly woman talking so passionately and purposefully.

You might be wondering why I even associate with these people, since they're so incongruent with my values. Well we've been friends since high school, just a small group of us, and whilst I always saw myself as being different from them, I still remained friends with them throughout our teenage years, and now after. But over the years, I've noticed just how different I really am from them (especially ever since I read the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged last year, which felt like a massive light bulb just clicked on in my head and everything made sense). I've always considered myself to be a rational person, I never drank alcohol as a teenager, nor engaged in any flimsy "relationships", and reading those books confirmed a lot of my original views/values/morals (along with supplanting others, such as the value of friends).

I've often thought about just breaking ties with them, straight out ending any friendship that I know I won't be gaining anything from, but mindless conversations. Because now that I'm at this age (21), and having gained a lot more knowledge/wisdom/life experiences, I realise that these friends aren't for me.

I just don't know anyone else who shares my views, my love of life, my self respect, someone whom I can say something of an intellectual nature to, and not get a smirk as a response. Is anyone else in the same boat? Or ever been?

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The husband is a moron. The wife (in her mind) must agree with the husband due to 'wifely' obligations. Between food and poison, only death wins.

But also, it's interesting to understand why one allows to be a part of something like that for a long time. Indeed, why does one invites destruction into our lives? To put it simply, it is fear.

The category of fear here is the fear of scarcity or the fear of loss. The idea that if you turn your back on something good (or perhaps anything) you will not get that thing again. Most of the problems I come across life isn't always a failure in knowledge or being willfully ignorant. The root cause is almost always fear. The fear of death might tempt one to eat the poison fruit.

I've looked at my life and discovered how so much of the problems I have today, is indeed the result of fear in some way or another. I do know what is right and wrong, but also need the courage to do it. To overcome the fear and deal with the consequences. To be ruled by fear is indeed a choice towards death. And rooting out all the bad influences in my life was rather difficult, but at least now, I can breath.

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