SORRY ABOUT THE FRIENDSHIP THING – Marilyn Armstrong

So, you ask, why can’t we be friends?

There are so many reasons. For one thing, you live on the other side of the world and we don’t even have a bus or a taxi in this town. You know how long it takes to get there by airplane? More than 18 hours … and that’s a direct flight. Oh, wait, there is no direct flight. You’ve got to stop somewhere. Take your pick of continents.

Another reason? You wouldn’t really like me. Count on it.

Photo Garry Armstrong

Even if I like you, more than likely, you won’t return the feeling. I talk too much. My tongue is sharp. If you say dumb things, I will snort derisively. I will not take you seriously if you don’t know any history and don’t read books.

If you take photographs with trash cans in the background, I will not admire them, even if the subject is your beloved grandchild. She/he would look better — I personally guarantee it — without the trash cans. Unless you are making some kind of artistic statement about grandchildren and trash, and I sincerely hope you are not.

I am not everyone’s cuppa tea. Sometimes, I’m not even my own cuppa tea. Actually, I’m not all that fond of tea, except for green tea ordered with Japanese food.

This probably makes me a bad person. Coffee anyone?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

29 thoughts on “SORRY ABOUT THE FRIENDSHIP THING – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Excuse me Madam! I love you even more now…. 🙂
    I’m the same – including the trash cans…. they generally do not enhance the child’s beauty!
    And I suffer less and less gladly fools. I can be abrupt, and the only hindrance to our friendship is that I am definitely NOT the historian in the family. But does it count that I surely read far more books than you do? And that I try to keep up knowing what the heck goes on in this world….? And that we can always include HH in any question of history? 😉
    I know I would love you and I know we would have a great time – except I have sworn never to visit your country any more – thanks to your tangerine’d non leader. So, let’s woe each other in writing, so much more romantic anyway, if that’s ok?!
    Beautiful photo of you at the table. And sorry, I don’t drink green tea but love Earl Grey – which I brought with me in helpful amounts from our recent holiday trip to England. Organic, even the paper bags recycled, natural and evoking tender feelings for our beloved corner where we lived for over eight years…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think to survive this long and remain upright, you have to be a bit ‘me first’ and a bit “I was here first” about you. As a woman of certain age, you know what a struggle it can be to make yourself heard, noticed, attended to. Women with itty-bitty voices and ‘no no Im fine right here on this bed of nails” attitudes may survive, but not well.
      As a friend said, referring to himself and to us, we’re sociable, but not social. No parties, no big group gatherings, I don’t blend well or mix in, although I do fine with one-to-one if we are in a ‘mutual’ place and have something to talk about that is less than small talk, politics, or religion, and does not involve cute photos (badly blurred) of grandchildren, or children on their smart phone.

      And we all have our crochety bits, I think we’ve earned ’em.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m pretty sure this is age-related. I used to be “nice” all the time, even when I was grinding my teeth. Now, not so much. I don’t try that hard because I suppose I’ve come to realize if you don’t like me when I’m “me,” you probably won’t like me even when I try my hardest.

      I wouldn’t visit the US if I didn’t already live here. But he’s not permanent. He’s old too and he isn’t going to live forever.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I used to love tea and wouldn’t drink coffee. Living in the middle east suddenly uplifted coffee. I do actually like tea sometimes, but I don’t drink hot drinks as much as cold ones, and coffee is the morning drink. Tea tends to be cookies in the evening. And it’s usually black Indian tea. I even have a tea brewer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think there are several of us who are probably snorting and laughing at life right now. We may not get together in person but there are smiles and chuckles as we read blogs and comments. I actually have a friend that is so opinionated and crazy that I only visit in person with her a couple of times a year. It’s all I can take, but we exchange texts and emails. One can never have too many friends no matter where they are. 🙂

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    1. I think the older you get, the less you care what other people think of you. I used to work really really hard at being nice and tolerant to anyone and everyone because I wanted everyone to like me. Except — they DIDN’T like me all that much and the moment my real me popped out, they were gone. So it was, in any case, a waste of energy.

      We ALMOST live close enough to visit. Almost. That’s frustrating too because that relatively short drive used to be no big deal.

      Oh well. Keep the wifi coming!

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  3. When I was a kid we did the Brady Bunch thing and traveled across the country. My dad is an avid photographer. I think every picture he took in a national park had a trashcan in it. I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not… Oh well, unless he pulls out the slide projector we are safe 😉 (actually, he had all of his old slides digitized). Sorry, random thoughts on your comment about trashcans in photos.

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  4. I certainly don’t compromise when it comes to people liking me or me liking them back. “Don’t judge me!” Yeah, as if. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone in real life or online that hasn’t at least privately made me roll my eyes before. There is absolutely no obligation to accept everything about anyone, or to feel like you need to be a better person for someone else. I guess it’s a good thing I function better when I’m alone…

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    1. At this point, I suspect MOST of us function better alone. It makes us much better at blogging than hanging out. I think I was always betting in words than in person. At least on paper (or screen) I can change my mind and retract my first thought.

      Also, it turned out being nice didn’t change anything. No one actually liked me any better because I was “nicer.”

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  5. Marilyn–I love you! We would be the two sitting in the back of the room passing judgement and snarky comments on everyone else because we’re perfect! This is great. I’m the same. We would do just fine.

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  6. Everyone doesn’t have to be “friends.” It annoyed me that Facebook labeled all contacts as such when they clearly weren’t. I prefer “followers.” We read each other’s writing. Sometimes we agree. Good enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With a cookie, please 😀

      You know, none of we older people are as easy to get along with as we were. I tried harder, friend-wise, 20 years ago. I think I’m just at the point where either you like who I am, or find someone who suits you better. I’m pretty sure it’s age-related.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Actually I think (and presume) that we ARE friends of a sort. And we’d get on just fine because (well until you know me or read something I’ve written) I hardly talk at all. Seems like a good combo. I never know what to say anyway. And I happen to ADORE green tea…so I’ll take a cup of that if you’re offering. With lemon please. ❤

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  8. Hmmm…. I’m nice, not really snarky at all, and I get along with almost everyone.

    I like coffee but moving here introduced tea parties to my life and they are fun. A cuppa at my Australian friend’s house might mean anything that goes in a cup — coffee, tea or cocoa. The little group of us who gather periodically for tea parties really enjoy them. I’d never have imagined such a thing even five years ago.

    I am very tolerant because I want to be tolerated and don’t expect people to be like me, but I prefer indifferent good will to animosity.

    Moving here and knowing no one revealed three things to me: one, some people are mean assholes; they are aggressive about it and it is NOT necessarily job related (as I believed it was when I was working and was attacked by an asshole). It’s best to avoid them and anyone else who makes me feel uncomfortable in a bad way more than once. There are a few people I’ve hung out with a few times, but ended up realizing that it was too difficult to feel good around them. This group includes gossips, hyper-critical people, people who know how to milk me for stories I don’t want to tell, people who manipulate others, chronically negative people and assholes. This leads to two, I won’t like everyone, but the ones I like I will treasure and it will be mutual. Three, it’s easier now to be true to myself than it was when I was working. I know that most people don’t enjoy what I enjoy to the extent that I enjoy it. That’s been true all my life and I’m good with doing things alone. After all, I’m an introvert anyway and people can make me tired.

    I’m lucky I live in a place where people keep politics out of the conversation and where religion is held to be a personal matter. I know that, in a small community, that’s not always the case. I can see pretty quickly whom I need to avoid and those with whom I can be myself.

    My friends here support me in so many different ways. But, it’s a mutual thing. We shovel each others walks, give each other rides to the “big” city for car repairs and shopping. My neighbor has hooked me up with an internet service provider who has not yet really arrived in my town — because her husband is the CEO of the company that sells it. I’m grateful. “So you can keep working,” she says. Charter’s been down so much, that research for the novel has been difficult.

    All of this comes just from us being who we are and living here. Monte Vista has reaffirmed my belief that kindness exists in the world and individuals offer it to each other. That I am free to BE kind is real liberty after 35+ years of competing with colleagues for contracts, arguing with students over grades and the general friction of culture in Southern California.

    The same has been the case for me in the blogging world. Marilyn — whom I consider a friend — reads and reviews my books beautifully even though they’re not in her preferred genres. Some of the readers of my blog have inspired me and once in a while I’ve inspired someone. That’s about as good as it gets. ❤

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    1. I’m nice in the sense of not being a mean asshole, but I don’t go out of my way to be nice so everyone will like me. Everyone will NOT like me, regardless, no matter HOW nice I am. I am, as I said, not everyone’s cuppa.

      I try to be a decent person. Hopefully, that’s as nice as I have to be. I also try to be honest, though I try to leave OUT the brutality when being honest. I don’t think brutal honesty is inherently more honest than politely honest — or shutting up when you don’t have something nice to say.

      That being said, over the years, a lot of people don’t like me. Why? Best guess? Some weird version of jealousy or envy. Plus a certain amount of fantasy many people have about other people’s lives. They see where you are, but not how you got there or why.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think everyone is so absorbed in their lives — and usually with good reason — that how we got where we are and why is out of their range. It’s an unusual person who has that level of curiosity or empathy.

        Much of any human relationship is projection, I think, as with the neighbor I avoid even though there’s nothing wrong with her at all — she has projected onto me the friend she wants which is not the person I am. It’s very uncomfortable for me.

        Teaching Business Communication for so long improved my communication skills in ways I didn’t even notice until I needed them. Now I realize that everyone wants to be seen as the person they are, they want to be accepted as that person, they know you’re judging them (as they’re judging you, it’s inescapable). It has been very good to reap the fruits of that unconscious tutelage. 20 years ago, I could not have managed what I’ve managed in terms of friendship since I moved here. I’m not looking for deep friendship, either. Where once I wanted that, now I think I would rather not. 🙂 We change over time, as you said.

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        1. I’ve got as many deep friendships as I’m likely to have. I think many of the people I know online are closer friends than anyone local. But we HAD local friends. It is just they died. ALL of them. They went very quickly, one right after another. It left us with many acquaintances, but no close friends. There is family, of course, and Owen isn’t just my son — he is also a real friend. I like his partner, too, though I think he’s not entirely sure of me — or it’s possible it’s just not all that comfy with women.

          I don’t have the strength of character to form new deep friendships. Too much undressing and revealing and I’m just too tired. And there’s too much history.

          I suppose we all judge, but mostly, I’m looking for a kind of humor, wit, and intelligence. I need laughter and I need to be able to use big words and not worry that I need to dumb down to be understood. That’s been a problem all my life and I remember how funny it was when Garry kept looking at me and saying, “Yes, I know, you don’t have to explain.” I swear we married each other because we could talk and not have to find simple words to use.

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