Friday, 28 September 2012

A whiff of paranoia

In general I'm not a paranoid person. I trust people. I believe in them. I don't assume they're going to cheat me or betray me. I don't secretly question their intentions towards me. I don't imagine they're full of hidden hatreds and grudges. But with one exception - I'm very paranoid about friendships.

Even with a long-established friendship, when I should have every confidence that the other person is not just going to dump me overnight, I still get fretful and anxious and imagine the worst if there's too long a silence, or if I keep leaving messages and they're not returned.

Supposedly this is a particularly female trait. Women need constant reassurance that the relationship is still healthy, that the other person still likes/ loves them and isn't drifting away. Whereas a bloke is always sure the relationship is solid as a rock and doesn't bat an eyelid if there's no contact for weeks.

Well, how female am I, then. If there's too long a silence my imagination runs riot. He/ she has gone off me, or I said something offensive, or I'm boring, or too needy. I dream up a dozen reasons why I must have put my foot in it and that's the end of a beautiful friendship.

Then of course the other person contacts me and just carries on as normal without the slightest hint of anything untoward. And I realise my feverish imaginings were just that - feverish imaginings.

Some day I'll learn to have more faith in my friendships and not overreact to quite routine interruptions and silences. I'll learn that friendships are more durable than I think, that they don't just crumble over some tactless remark or tetchy outburst. Good friends are not that fickle.

28 comments:

kylie said...

so who did you tactlessly outburst at?

Bijoux said...

Hmmmm...I have never had those worries. OTOH, I have had friends ask me if I was angry with them because I didn't respond to a text or email!

nick said...

Kylie: Maybe yourself sometimes, sweetie? I certainly do it to Jenny at regular intervals.

Bijoux: Ah, there you are, they thought you were angry with them. But presumably you weren't.

kylie said...

hahaaaa when you go off at me i just think you're a grouch and cant help it

Nick said...

Kylie: A grouch? Surely not? Now I'm feeling offended. I'm always sweetness and light, me.

Rummuser said...

"Yin and yang are not opposing forces (dualities), but complementary forces, unseen (hidden, feminine) and seen (manifest, masculine), that interact to form a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects as light could not be understood if darkness didn't exist, and shadow cannot exist without light. Either of these aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object depending on the criterion of the observation."

To sum up. That is just fine. Just be comfortable with it. Don't put a name on the phenomenon and worry about it.

Nick said...

Ramana: Well, all I can say is there's a proponderance of yin in my case (or is it yang?). I suppose I'm quite comfortable with it, except that it creates a lot of needless anxiety.

Grannymar said...

Nick, I haven't forgotten you, I'm busy getting myself upright and steady on my feet once more. Nearly there and looking forward to nagging you into meeting for coffee again soon.

Nick said...

Grannymar: Oh, I don't have any paranoia about you! I know we only meet at very long intervals anyway. Yes I really must fix a date soon, it's been too long.

Wisewebwoman said...

A lot of your posts set me to thinking, Nick. Hard thinking.

I can't really relate to what you are sharing but what does come up for me, often months later, is something someone said which was hurtful and I brushed it aside at the time and then I go revisit it and feel offended and....

I tend to be the callee or emailee so I don't attach any kind of importance to being "neglected" or "terminated". I kind of like the peace. Like now. Maybe all my friends have abandoned me? Oh shyte...

XO
WWW

Nick said...

www: You obviously have a lot of confidence in your friendships, so a long silence doesn't worry you at all. And I guess if you have quite a few friends, a bit of peace and quiet sometimes is welcome rather than unsettling.

Ursula said...

Nick, if there is one plea from me to you: Can you please stop gender generalizing. We are all individuals.

Some of my friends go as far back as my childhood, my teens. Sometimes we don't speak for years (continents which divide, other people needing our attention). Yet when I (or they) pick up the phone it's like yesterday.

There are no hard and fast rules, Nick. Just relax and try not to fret so much. But then I have said that before. In fairness to you, you recently offered a pretty good explanation why you feel quite anxious over many things.

Anyway, Nick, and here comes matron: What the hell are you complaining about? There appear to be plenty of fair maidens, and the odd bristle, wiping your brow in the comment boxes of your blog.

U

Nick said...

Ursula: You're nothing if not provocative....

I think a certain amount of gender generalising is justified, though obviously there are individuals who defy the generalising.

I've been trying to relax and stop fretting for most of my life, but I haven't found the knack yet!

And yes, I have plenty of cyber friends and acquaintances, but really close friendships are rare and I'm always afraid of jeopardising them.

Baino said...

You're such a big girl's blouse. Of course your friends are around. Then I have similar insecurities. There are those who keep in touch, and those who wait to be contacted. I think I'm a keeper in toucherer. Oh was awesome to see Jenny again too...next time, come with and we'll venture outside the city. MWAH

Nick said...

Baino: BGB, I freely admit! Yes, I know you're a good friend too, even if you're 10,000 miles away. A shame I couldn't come over, but I had work commitments I just couldn't escape.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about friendship, but is right up your alley of enjoying the world around you.

On my hike today was an ant having a hard time getting over the needles on the trail. A closer look was a very small ant walking backwards, dragging something much bigger than himself. He let go of it & did a quick turn-all-the-way-round (picking the best route?) before starting up again.

When I moved, he didn't. He knew I was watching him.

bikehikebabe (friend of Jean the CheerfulMonk)

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Oh, you sound just like me!! I have faith in people for the most part, but when it comes to relationships I have no faith in myself. The exception is OH - I have no doubts that he loves me and don't constantly worry about him finding someone more attractive, but friendships are another matter.

Perhaps it isn't helped by the fact that I tend to want the relationship to go on forever once the friendship is solid, and I expect to be able to be honest and say what I feel, and expect the other person to do the same. Some people find this threatening, I think, and of course friendships can run their course, just like any other relationship. People move on.

Nick said...

Bikehikebabe: Ants are very ingenious creatures....

Jay: Me too, I expect the friendship to be forever. And I also expect honesty and directness. As you say, a lot of people find that threatening, they don't trust other people with intimate personal details. If you have a really close friendship like that, it's brilliant.

John Gray said...

welcome to the shakey part of my world

Nick said...

John: You surprise me. I would have thought you had every confidence in your friendships. You seem to be a generally confident sort of guy....

Cheerful Monk said...

I don't worry about that sort of thing. My husband and daughter are my closest friends, and I'm relaxed about other people. Either it's a good match or it isn't. I don't take it personally if it isn't.

Nick said...

Monk: That's good that you're so relaxed about the state of your friendships. You're blissfully free of any paranoia!

Jenny Woolf said...

Strange how we have different worries. I would not generally think about whether someone has gone off me, if I don't hear, although I might worry that there was something wrong in their life. But I get worried about other things which people think are massively insignificant. I suppose the truth is we just need something to worry about, if we feel like worrying....

Nick said...

Jenny: That's true, we all have different worries and some of them seem ludicrously overdone to other people. It's funny how the mind works. It's not that I need something to worry about, it's just that this particular situation brings out my insecurities.

Scarlet Blue said...

Stop looking at me like that, Nick... have I got something hanging from my nose or something?
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: Good heavens no. You're always immaculately groomed and drop dead gorgeous. And one of my closest and most trusted friends. Except on Tuesdays.

Secret Agent Woman said...

My job, of course, gives me an unusual view on this since people tell me all their anxious thoughts. And it is not a feminine trait - I hear this from men and women and I also hear from men and women who have no such worries.

Me, I'm both. Sometimes I sail along in happy obliviousness and others wonder what's going on with the other person to make them fall silent. I don't usually assume it's something I've done so much, but I do steam a little if I think someone is snubbing me.

Nick said...

Agent: That's interesting that you find it's not necessarily a gender-linked trait. And interesting that you tend to veer between obliviousness and the suspicion you're being snubbed.