My Terrible Thoughts About Friendship

Please don’t hate me for this post, but I felt compelled to be brutally honest about this.

Have you ever had people in your life that always remain acquaintances and never cross over to being real friends? When you get older, especially in mid-life, you’ll feel like you’re wasting your time keeping these up. Every encounter with them is like small talk all over again and I really do hate small talk. I have also become ruthless in not wanting to meet people (anymore) who are overly ostentatious and superficial. People with a superiority complex. It’s just very draining when all they want to do is blatantly flaunt their wealth or how much they know. It’s ok if they are sharing experiences, but it becomes unbearable with it’s accompanied all the time by this element of boasting and showboating. And even though you’ve known them for years, you never really know them because you realize they never share anything real. They seem to always want to project a perfect image and are afraid of tarnishing this facade. You never really know who they are deep down inside. There is zero emotional connection. I already feel terrible writing this, but it’s the truth and I just had to get it off my chest.

I feel very guilty about this as well, but as I get older I also find that I have less and less in common with people I once thought I was close to. It’s even worse when you realize they judge you based on superficial things and are not there for you when you’re really down and out. I don’t want to spend time with people who are overly concerned about status or people who are obsessed with money. It’s just too draining.

I never ever would have thought I would reach this state when I was younger, but losing those dearest to you makes you realize time is really important and I don’t want to waste it on superficial or negative relationships. If meeting a certain person makes you feel bad, without fail, each and every time, then I would suggest you don’t meet them anymore. It’s not worth it. Try not to feel guilty or sentimental about it. Sometimes you need to think about your own mental health and well being. When I say this I am actually talking out loud to myself as well.

I also see people in relationships where all they do is give, give, give and the other parties take, take, take. It drives me nuts. That kind of thing I was oblivious to in my twenties but I’m glad I wasn’t a sucker for long.

I feel like people in the blog world are more real and less superficial then some people I know, as they are willing to put themselves out there. Willing to share that emotional and vulnerable side of them. To show that they are not perfect, and I really do appreciate that. Even though I don’t want to reveal who I am (due to millions of reasons), I feel like I can be my real self here and it’s extremely liberating. I do have my own insecurities and I’m far from perfect, but as I get older I am starting to listen more and more to my instincts. Yeah, if I had to give anyone advice, I would say trust your instincts. Thanks for that reminder cousin D.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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22 Responses to My Terrible Thoughts About Friendship

  1. yuling says:

    Hey, I don’t think it’s terrible to think this way at all. Perfectly fine and sane to be selective here. 🙂

  2. kirsten says:

    As I grow up I find that friendships (actually, relationships in general) are not at all like what we expected when we were kids. There really isn’t such a thing as Best Friends Forever, or anything like that. If you do keep a best friend all the way through from childhood to the end of your lives, it’s more likely that you’re an anomaly than the norm. And I think part of growing up is making peace with that.

    I used to get really hurt when I “lost” friends but I don’t find it that bad now, because I know that it’s part of life and part of how things work. And you never really know what to expect. People change, and it goes both ways. I am no longer friendly with people I was really close to in school, but I have also got closer to people I hadn’t clicked with before, as well.

    I do find, though, that sometimes it is just so much easier to talk to “strangers” online. I think it’s because I’m a lot less awkward at expressing myself in writing than in speech. When I have to talk, face-to-face or on the phone, I often find myself getting tongue-tied, but when I write/blog/chat, it just flows better.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Yeah as a kid I used to think that I would be one person who would be with the same friends till I am old and wrinkled. I wouldn’t end up like my parents. It didn’t work out that way. And I think it’s for the better.

      I find it easier to express myself in writing as well. I prefer for instance to chat with my cousin then to pick up the phone and talk to her. So true Kirsten 🙂

  3. EV says:

    There’s nothing strange about your feelings and there’s no need for an apology. As you get older, you find out what’s really important. And you change. Things that used to matter to you no longer do, therefore it is natural to want to spend less time with people with whom you used to have something in common.

    One of the most important things (which I am glad to see that you have realized) is that the craving for status symbols, like expensive cars and houses, leads nowhere. Because you have realized this, you no longer waste your time on earth (unlike some of your friends who continue to pursue this dead end). Now you are free to spend your limited time on this planet doing the small things that are meaningful TO YOU and that make you happy — perhaps it’s travel, photography, hanging out with a few really good friends and with your family, meditating, reading, whatever.

    • bookjunkie says:

      So glad you dropped by EV. Like the insightful thoughts you shared. Yeah, it’s a total dead-end goal to be the “richest person in the cemetery”. Morbid but true.

      I find that as I get older I need to be around people who share the same values. And I have found some of the best friends among my own family members. Didn’t need to look too far.

  4. No, I do not think you’re terrible. As we grow older, we get better in knowing what and who we want in our lives. I’ve let go some friendships because they couldn’t accept my motherhood lifestyle. Sometimes it’s for the better as it allows both parties to live happier lives- as brutal as that sounds.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thank you so much for sharing. I feel a lot better about it now to know that I am not alone in this. Guess sometimes the guilt gets to me. Feels like I have abandoned some people. But on the other hand I just could not continue as each time it was making me feel like crap.

  5. Lady J says:

    I don’t think you are terrible and I can relate to what you wrote. Some friends whom you thought you would be able to be friends forever when you were younger simply don’t. Sometimes it’s better to just ‘purge’ those toxic friends from your life, life’s too short.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much Lady J. Feel a bit better about it now knowing I’m not alone. Yeah it really does feel toxic when I’m with them and a relief when I’m not. So that’s already a bad sign huh? You’re so right – life really is too short.

      I felt increasingly this way after I lost my dad. I just only wanted to spend time with people who really mattered to me and not any of those superficial, zero emotional connection type superficial friendships. Seemed like a drain on time that is so fleeting.

  6. plumerainbow says:

    No you’re not terrible. People change – or grow into their true selves. And that goes both ways for myself and my friends.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks for that. I too don’t want to drag my old friends down as my interests have changed as well. Well perhaps the interests haven’t changed. It’s just that I am not as adaptable or easy going (doormat) as I used to be. I used to just go with the flow…no matter what and even if I wasn’t really interested at all. It’s so true that as we get older we just need to be truer to ourselves.

  7. I talked about this on my private blog too. My New Year Resolution is to break contacts of these “friends” even though I may know them for 20 years. It’s terrible, I feel bad, but there isn’t any other solution. They don’t want to put in any effort to really show themselves and to know us better.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks so much for sharing this very personal story. It really feels good to know I am not alone, and I also now feel a bit less guilty. Yeah, to keep going in those circumstances is very hard. Life is just too short.

  8. imp says:

    I’ve never held a rose-tinted view of humans or friendship. My parents drilled me well as a kid, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” It does get tiring. But after a while, it becomes second nature. My inner circle is very tight, and my bffs have been so for 3 decades through weal and woe. I can only thank god for this small mercy. I’m very quick to dump friends, and I draw a very clear line between friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc, and many sub-categories. As a result, I’m really not all that vivacious to many, and only those closest to me can read between the lines on my blog or body language.

    So no, your thoughts aren’t at all terrible. They must be done to protect yourself because family doesn’t mean love or loyalty, and friends ought to be a safety net for you. Years of acquaintanceship is not friendship.

    • bookjunkie says:

      yeah I have decided that maintaining acquaintanceships for the sake of the group is just too draining. I need to start looking towards my own mental health. Small talk is the worst kind of torture for me.

  9. Crystal says:

    I think one of the hardest parts about aging is realizing that you are no longer close to (or were never really close to) certain people. Learning how to move on from that is a struggle…I’m still not there. I have friends whom I put in all the work with, and it is increasingly frustrating…I’m not yet ready to cut the cord (in one case in particular because of how close we used to be) but I edge ever closer.

    • bookjunkie says:

      It’s been quite a struggle for me too. It’s mixed up with a lot of guilt on my part. And tons of sentimentality.

  10. Gniyis says:

    Hi bookjunkie, friends come and go… We just have to be selective and filter out the TRUE friends and don’t put too much effort on the supposedly “TRUE” friends, cos they’re not worth our time. Thanks for the insightful viewpoint. Keep on blogging!! =D

  11. nara says:

    hi bookjunkie, i am so glad to come across this post of yours. Thank you for sharing your thoughts of friendships and reminders to ditch the pretentious ones and move on. I am in the process of spring-cleaning mine, and your post is very affirmative 😀

    • bookjunkie says:

      I wrote it to make myself feel better…had to get a load off and so glad it helped you in some way too 🙂 Thanks for writing in to tell me.

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