04 April 2015

Dreamer's World April 4 2015 - I Am No Longer A Soft Touch

I have written about how I have always been a rather solitary person. I find that my life is enjoyable and complete as it is. This doesn’t stop me from having friends, but they aren’t the type that tend to stay in touch on a regular basis. This doesn’t diminish that friendship in any way, but it does make it different than what other people take for granted.
I suppose that this goes all the way back to my having been an only child and spending so much of my time alone due to the rural circumstances I was raised in. I learned to depend upon myself at an early age for almost everything. Playtime was when my imagination ran wild, and for better or worse, there was never another kid around to more or less temper my direction or my enthusiasm. I think that this made me a strong person, and that background can never be changed. Without brothers or sisters around to interact with, I became the person I am today.
Having said all that, I never found it difficult to interact
with people. I was raised to be outgoing and open to others, and never to judge. I make friends rather easily if the vibe is there. It isn’t a stretch for me to establish a friendship with someone very quickly.
Once a friendship is possible the next step is to lay the groundwork for it. Establishing common interests and communicating with each other is the key here. As with all things, this is a process that might or might not pass this step. I never try to push things, I just see where they go and follow the common flow with the other person.
When a friendship is in place, it is a wonderful feeling. But it is not the end of the process. Like a garden, friendship needs attention and protection and nurturing in order to thrive. As I mentioned earlier, there is (in my case) no need to be in constant contact as long as the basis for the friendship remains solid.
Having said that, there are times when I see cracks in the foundation that indicate that the friendship can be in trouble.
The example I have just dealt with involves the reasons for staying in touch taking a sudden shift. Recently, a friend dropped off the radar. This in itself didn’t upset me because we all need time to ourselves. I probably appreciate this than most people. When my friend resurfaced, the focus of his contacting me was that he heeded help ($). This is a tricky area. It is one thing to reappear and talk normally before approaching the subject of money and support, it is quite another to just pop up asking for help after a long time of not being available. This becomes even worse when that pattern becomes the new normal, as far as the other person is concerned.
Sadly, that has been the case with this friend. After going silent for many months, I was surprised to hear from him that he needed some money for reasons that didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I did not respond to his request for money, rather I tried to talk to him and discover what was wrong. My suspicions were on high alert, and when the answers I was getting from him didn’t add up to what I consider a truthful story, I refused to lend him any money. Not surprisingly, he stopped contacting me for several months.
Within the last few weeks, he contacted me again. This time it was help with other matters. I referred him to some people that I know that might be able to help him with a medical issue. Please note that the medical issue was NOT the reason for the request for money mentioned before. At any rate, once again, he vanished. I had tried again to find out what was wrong, like a friend should, but was met by a brick wall of silence.
Finally, he contacted me once again and this time it involved another plea for help. Details are not that important to me anymore. The fact that my friendship seems to him to be nothing more than a prospective ATM machine, or a referral service has convinced me that it is time to end this once and for all.
I treasure my friends. I will do anything for them, on condition that they value the friendship first. I will not have friends that are not interested in me other than a soft touch. That is NOT friendship, that is exploitation. I might not recognize it immediately, but I am much better at spotting it than I was in the past. Thankfully, I learned my hard lessons years ago and I will not repeat them. This might, in a very small number of cases, be a mistake by refusing a true friend that has nowhere else to go, but I doubt it. The friends that I cherish know that we can talk about anything. As long as the lines of communication are open, anything is possible. But the instances of friends vanishing and then reappearing only to ask for help over and over are done. I am no longer a Soft Touch!