Friday, April 6, 2012

A to Z: Friendship vs. Love



Ever noticed how much more tolerant we're with our friends than with our lovers?

If your friend cancels a date, it's no big deal. Sure, you wanted to see your friend, maybe had something specific you wanted to talk about with them, or you were just looking forward to spending some time with them. But it's no big deal. You don't get all "so you're saying there's stuff--stuff--that's more important than me?", and you don't give them the silent treatment for days (okay, weeks).


But if your lover cancels a date... Hell hath no fury, right?

[By the way, the correct quote is Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned, and it comes from a play, "Mourning Bride", by William Congrave]

If a friend turns on you, shows their (previously carefully hidden) true colors, and "breaks up" the friendship, you rarely turn to drinking and tears, depression, maybe even contemplate suicide. Right? (I hope I'm right). But a lover breaks up with you, or cheats on you, or does something horrible... I mean, therapists have gotten rich over this. It's got to be the second largest source of therapy payments, right under daddy and mommy issues, maybe PTS.

Friendship, somehow, has forgiveness and tolerance built in. But not love. Considering how important love is to us, how much of our hopes and expectations for a happily-ever-after, ride on it, you'd think we'd be more tolerant.

Oh. That's it, isn't it? It's precisely because so much rides on a love relationship, because of all those expectations...

We don't really have expectations for our friends, right? We meet someone, we like them--their smile, their wit, the way they dance on the bar after five tequila shots, whatever--and we never impose secret expectations on them. We take our friends for who they are, just like that.

We don't try to shape our friends into someone they're not.

Food for thought, people. Food for thought.

35 comments :

  1. Hmm, perhaps we don't invest quite as much ego in our friendships as in our romances. Lower stakes?

    Interesting post. Good luck with the rest of the challenge.

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    1. Thank you, Squid, and thanks for the visit :) Good point--there's a lot of ego in the mix for love. Glad you joined the conversation :)

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  2. I saw a TV show where a woman is complaining about her relationship and the therapist comes back with, "Well, he's a chair." (It might have been from Dexter.)

    Huh?

    The therapist continued, "You're looking for a table, but he's a chair. You can't make a chair into a table."

    What a fun analogy - and a so true.

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    1. Hahahaha... Indeed, a chair will never be a table (or vice versa). GREAT analogy, and thanks for sharing!

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  3. There is nothing in the world so valuable as friendship.

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  4. Good meditation on friendship. My closest friendships are based on a mutually shared appreciation for/ discussion of/ the inner life, with little outward obligation. Doesn't mean it's okay to stand someone up if a lunch date is planned. But it does mean, I don't have to remember birthdays (I am sooooo bad at birthdays) or other holidays or worry about "reciprocating." Reciprocating comes naturally, and I can pick up with such a friend easily after a long period of no contact without either of us getting all squirrely about "why you haven't been in touch."

    Wow. I guess I have some really great friends!

    But in a way the stakes are high--if one of these friends betrayed me, it would be horrible. And vice versa.

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    1. Agreed, Helen--my best friends are like that, too. We pick off after even years of not talking and it's like no time has passed. Remembering bdays is also a challenge for me--after 9 years with my boyfriend I still can't remember if his is the 11th or the 12th. How lame is *that*? Fortunately, our relationship is more of a friendship in that aspect--we make allowances for each other's shortcomings, and he's taught me about tolerance and focusing on the *important* stuff instead of the nitty-gritty :D And yes--stakes are high in friendship, too, especially when you've been friends for a long time and have achieved that level of trust and intimacy that you describe. It hurts, and it hurts *bad*.

      Thanks for the visit and for the insight!

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  5. Ha ha so basically better to be friends than LOVERs!
    You made some great points. We should be gracious to the one we claim to love.

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    1. Haha--guess so, Jacqueline! Or maybe we can "learn" from friendship and apply that tolerance to love... I think it might make for better relationships ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. love this Guilie, so very very true - definitely something to think about, er like you said, food for thought
    nice to meet you by the way - btw no expectations on our new friendship :)

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    1. Haha--Sylvie, thanks for the reciprocal visit, and glad you enjoyed the post. Let's shake on that: no expectations, haha :D

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  7. I loved this post! Found your blog through the A to Z Challenge, and you talk about some things I've asked myself for a long time. Funny enough, my "F" was "falling in love" but we approached it two completely different ways. I think part of it is that you only get one "lover" but several friends. You don't put all your eggs in one friend's basket so if they disappoint you it's not as upsetting whereas your relationship partner is the one person you have your expectations/hopes riding on. Anyways, great post :)

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    1. So true, Yana--you're right, friends aren't exclusive, but a lover is. That has a lot to do with us wanting this person to meet *all* our expectations. Thanks for joining the conversation, and I'm glad you liked the post!

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  8. Yeah, the more we care about something/someone, the more likely there are control issues. In general though, because I don't like confrontation, arguments with friends is just as draining to me as arguments with husband ;)

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    1. I'm also a confrontation avoider, Melanie, and arguments with friends are definitely draining. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Very interesting (and accurate!) points... Although I'd like to say that I have had friends in the past who treated me as they did their lovers... We weren't lovers, just close friends, but if I did anything ANYthing remotely unfriendly, well... hell hath no fury. ;) (Unfriendly can range from cancelling plans to not answering a text within 3 hours.)

    I think it depends on the person.... and how dramatic they get... and how tolerant you are of that ;)

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    1. It definitely depends on the personality of the friend; some people are just more dramatic or demanding, and I think it often comes down to how well they feel their social/personal needs are being met. Some "friends" DO try to shape their friends into other people. But for most normal, sane people, if they've got lots of friends, it's not as hard to lose one. If they've got a very close friend, it can hurt a lot if they betray, similar to a lover.

      Since most of us only have one lover at a time, we tend to rely on that person a lot more for social, romantic, and personal fulfillment. We expect more out of them than we would any of our numerous friends. And I think we expect them to be something of a kindred spirit. That's why it's easier to get angry when that person does something wrong or despair when we lose them.

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  10. I'd never really thought of it that way but, boy, it's so true.

    I remember getting into quite a heated argument with my friend a few years back and two days later everything was alright because we realized that we were just going to have to accept the differences. My husband and I got into a little argument (or discussion) and the back and forth "I'm right" "no I'm right" went of for weeks. It was far less important than the argument the friend and I had but it seemed far more damning. Why is that?

    What a thought provoking post.

    Blog #atozchallenge

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    1. Alicia, thanks for joining the conversation and sharing your insight--yep, I've had those arguments, too, with both parties :D Somehow, the boyfriend's always seems so much more life-altering, like there's more to it than the disagreement or difference in perception. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. food for thought indeed a really interesting blog :)x

    would like if you would check out my blog let me know what you think...maybe follow?

    pretty-quirky.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for the visit! Off to check out your blog now :)

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  12. 'Oh. That's it, isn't it? It's precisely because so much rides on a love relationship, because of all those expectations...''

    Think yer onto somethin', kid.

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  13. Debating whether or not to follow off the bat since I'm pretty cautious about my commitments and tend to only follow through or bail, when I saw 'le mot juste' in your profile description.

    Let's give this a shot.

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    1. Suze, you rock :D Thanks for the vote of confidence--I'm also pretty cautious in who I follow; otherwise my Reader ends up swamped with stuff I find myself struggling to read, and that's no good for anyone. Listen--in the spirit of this post, let's shake on something: if I fail to impress after a while and you find you need to make an active effort to read my posts, you can unsubscribe / unfollow and I promise there's no hard feelings *at all*, ok? :)

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  14. Enjoyed this post very much. For years my husband and I did marriage prep for our church and we stressed to young couples the importance of not setting up expectations of being able to change the other person after the wedding. So many people enter into marriage, and other long-term relationships - with the idea that they can mold the other person. Hint: we're already pretty well molded by the time we are in those relationships. (smile)

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    1. Great advice, Maryann! Thanks for the visit :)

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  15. We're definitely harsher--I won't speak for everyone, though--on those we love in a romantic way than we are on friends. I agree with that.

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    1. Thanks for joining the conversation, Susan :)

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  16. That is so true. I gotta stop trying to shape people into people they're not.

    AtoZer!
    prose-spective.blogspot.com

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  17. If only... I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge this month.

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Shark. Not sure what "If only" means, but glad you stopped by.

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  18. You have so much right sweetie! would you like to follow each other?:X

    Fashionspot.ro

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  19. quite interesting!!!!!


    based on my experiences..i believe guys make amazing friends but lousy lovers.....

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in/

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