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Hapa_Fodder

Long time friendship ended after a minor argument?

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So some of you know that I retired from the Navy this past summer.  I moved to Texas, which I am very happy about and picked a town that my best friend and his family moved to.  So he's a good dude, a very good friend and easily someone that I would say people could learn from.  But he, as with all of us, has his flaws.  He is extremely opinionated, which I definitely don't have a problem with.  In fact I prefer people that are passionate about stuff because to me it shows drive.  This however sometimes manifests in not so good ways.  Especially when alcohol is involved.

Some of you also know that I have been through A LOT over the past decade (as I have been in DHO since 2006 I think), well after my divorce I made a conscious effort to remove negativity from my life and have been attempting to surround myself with a good circle of friends.  People that will lift you up and support you, not be a drain or drag you down.

I say all this because we had planned a camping trip for spring break, this past week. It started out great, I was excited, we drove up on Saturday, set up camp. I got a KOA cause it was his families first time camping together, figured ease in to it.  We went to a brewery had a grand ole time, and then sat by the camp fire chatting.  We were having a discussion how people have changed the values we hold dear etc.  Then started talking about the Navy and how things have changed, how leadership has changed.  I talked about the main reason why I retired.  That a lot of leadership is out for themselves now vice their people and that a lot of the leadership systems were broken now as a result. Evidently I struck a chord because he started yelling and screaming at me. 

Now this was only the second time he has done this, so he doesn't have a drinking problem, let me say that.  But the first time was at my own retirement dinner, I had three beers over the course of like over 4 hours.  People were buying me beer left and right and I was leaving them around the place because I had had a good friend and his woman drive all the way from San Antonio to San Diego to be there.  They were staying at my place and they were counting on me driving, which I had no problem with.  At a gathering like that I don't care to drink much, cause I want to remember the people.  Well he was drunk, claiming I was drunk and couldn't drive.  And made a huge scene in front of all my friends, thankfully my family had departed prior to that, so they didn't see that.  But it was EXTREMELY embarrassing.  And quite frankly made me feel belittled and disrespected.  But I let him do his thing and walked away, because, he was drunk, and we were close friends, I would shrug it off. I say close friends BTW, I mean I had a better relationship with him than I do my ACTUAL brother. 

So when he was screaming at me at the camp site, with his kids asleep in the tent right next to us, I did what I had done to everyone that has ever acted in a negative fashion to me in the past decade.  I packed up and I left and went home, because quite frankly I didn't want to be around that.

I have fought through A LOT of depression, anxiety, loneliness, especially after my wife cheated on me.  I went to therapy for almost 2 years after that to realize that my thought process to remove negativity from my life led me to make the choice to leave her and get a divorce.  And I still to this day feel horrible for what I did to make the marriage fail, I've always been told it wasn't my fault, however, you still tend to feel this way regardless.  I have also worked EXTREMELY hard to surround myself with people that will lift me up,  support me, and drive me to be a better person.  As I hope they would also want from me.

So I figured that it would be another case of "just, cool off and continue on," but yesterday when he and his family returned from the camping trip he texted me and told me that they would not be home during a certain time and all my stuff would be in the garage.  I assumed that this just meant anything I left at the camping site. So because I know he doesn't care to talk feelings over or anything like that, as many of us men don't, I wrote him a letter (yes I know that's like a HS thing), I told him everything, why I left, how angry it made me to have him yell at me like that again, and that it was best that I just left, instead of trying to escalate things.  When I showed up he had put literally everything and anything I had at his house in the garage.  Some items which I had purposely left there to give him.

People often times misinterpret my being a passionate person for anger or aggression, those that typically have known me for some time, understand the difference, because honestly, only a few people have honestly seen me angry in the past decade.

So I rant all this to ask, WTF did I do wrong? How the eff could someone throw away a friendship over something like this? Perhaps he saw things differently?  How could someone talk about valuing someones friendship to just as soon throw it away?  I find that the older I get the more and more I tend to value my friendships but the more and more I seem to be let down by people.  And the more and more I feel the necessity to pull inward and become a hermit.  I mean, I am seriously contemplating buying land in the mountains somewhere and just closing off to the outside world... (lets be honest, I would need internet for gaming).  I actually feel right now, as I did the day I told the ex I wanted a divorce....

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So, I don’t know you, but I have 2 cents nonetheless. As we get older, particularly men, a few things seem to happen. Two of those are that we tend to want to withdraw from the world (exceptions being the truly extroverted) and our world views tend to calcify. Actually, I’ll add a third... we also have less energy in general and particularly with regards to dealing with people. For many of us friendships are somewhat accidental, meaning they tend to revolve around a shared activity whether that be work, or something our kids are doing. When the shared activity ends... it is much harder to maintain a relationship.

All of the above creates an inherent fragility in friendships. They die on the vine due to inattention or can explode for seemingly trivial reasons. Family relationships are more complex, but the same generally holds true. 

Friendhsips ending are rarely one-way streets... but there isn’t much use in beating yourself up about it. There shouldn’t be a ton of “work” involved in maintaining a friendship. There can be work in an absolute sense, but it shouldn’t feel like too much effort because you truly enjoy the other’s  company. When you stop enjoying the company, as it certainly seems you have, then it is probably time to move on. 

One could argue that leaving the camp was too precipitous... but that is obviously outside in and only you can make that judgement. Clearly he responded in kind (and was angry enough to try and one up the precipitousness). 

Perhaps just say “hey, man. Sorry we got sideways, is this really how you want this to go down? I don’t... let’s grab a beer and hug it out”. But if that feels off to you... then... bygones!

 

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1 hour ago, Juggernaut41 said:

So, I don’t know you, but I have 2 cents nonetheless. As we get older, particularly men, a few things seem to happen. Two of those are that we tend to want to withdraw from the world (exceptions being the truly extroverted) and our world views tend to calcify. Actually, I’ll add a third... we also have less energy in general and particularly with regards to dealing with people. For many of us friendships are somewhat accidental, meaning they tend to revolve around a shared activity whether that be work, or something our kids are doing. When the shared activity ends... it is much harder to maintain a relationship.

All of the above creates an inherent fragility in friendships. They die on the vine due to inattention or can explode for seemingly trivial reasons. Family relationships are more complex, but the same generally holds true. 

Friendhsips ending are rarely one-way streets... but there isn’t much use in beating yourself up about it. There shouldn’t be a ton of “work” involved in maintaining a friendship. There can be work in an absolute sense, but it shouldn’t feel like too much effort because you truly enjoy the other’s  company. When you stop enjoying the company, as it certainly seems you have, then it is probably time to move on. 

One could argue that leaving the camp was too precipitous... but that is obviously outside in and only you can make that judgement. Clearly he responded in kind (and was angry enough to try and one up the precipitousness). 

Perhaps just say “hey, man. Sorry we got sideways, is this really how you want this to go down? I don’t... let’s grab a beer and hug it out”. But if that feels off to you... then... bygones!

 

Yeah, totally get it, I know for a fact how I look at friendships and relationships in general tend to be a bit different than most.  I have a lot more close knit group of friends so for me to call someone a friend, its a pretty big deal, at least to me, and I will go to the ends of the earth for them.  I wrote in the letter I left him, that I thought the entire thing was a bit much to make the decision to just cut off a long standing friendship, but also that if that's how he wanted it, then so be it.  I think oftne times there isn't much you can do to change peoples minds once they are set in their ways.

 

Makes sense.

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Sorry to hear Hapa. In all honesty, I probably would have done the same as you at the camp as I've felt that adding more fire to the mix solves nothing and just makes it worse so it helps to just step away. I certainly don't understand your friends reaction, but remember that you did what is best for you and that's all that you can control. Your friend is doing what he thinks is best for him so as Juggernaught mentioned, you can reach out and see if he wants to reconcile. If so, great. If not, step back and just take care of yourself as that's all that you have control over in your life to influence truly.

One thing that my own therapist had me to do help clear my head of over thinking things (on my part) was to practice some mindfulness meditation. He gave me a definition I tried to focus on when trying to meditate that goes as follows: paying attention, on purpose, in the present, without judgement. I would basically sit out a nice park and and try to focus on being present and enjoying the very moment you're in without letting my mind wonder. I still remind myself of that definition today regularly to keep myself grounded.

I hope that helps and I really hope you are able to feel better about yourself and the decisions you've made to help care for you.

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