actually my fault, but your fault made a better headline title :)
Not so much as a fault which will become clear if you read on.
Someone - who is meant to be a friend but really isn't, at least not any more - said to me yesterday evening "Has it ever occurred to you that the reason you have lost so many friends over the past couple of years is down to you and how you behave towards them?".
"I bloody well hope so".
The look on his face when I said this is something that will remain etched on my mind for a long time to come. It was pretty obvious that was not the answer he was expecting. I do like how even after all these years I can occasionally surprise someone who knows me.
I really do hope it is down to me too. You see I finally half-woke up to myself a couple of years ago; I woke up to how I was allowing people (supposed friends) to bully me. Not in a 'bash me with a rock way' but in a manipulative mentally wearing way. Some were using others against me - basically making it be known if I was to ever walk away they would make the lives of shared/mutual friends a living hell. This is stupid (I know as much now) for those other people are not as weak minded as I was to let them get away with it. Once I realised that I let them go. I didn't need their negative influence and attitudes in my life.
Next up came the other 'friend' who never really was at all. In fact I believe she was just using me to try and make her previous "bestie" jealous. She would tell me such far fetched lies all the time (I let her get away with it because I believed she had issues and was trying to make herself feel better). Then she began to make excuses as to why she couldn't go out, would tell me she wasn't well enough for me to visit her, in much the same way as she had done to her previous friend; she started talking about me to her 'new friends' (I knew this because 2 of them actually contacted me to tell me what a shit friend I was being when I had been anything but). Because I'd been through it with her once and seen how she played the game, I stopped it before she could get it started by cutting her out of my life - this was after an encounter at a gig that she was meant to be with me at, had not bothered to get back to me about what time we were meeting or who was driving; eventually I asked my niece if she wanted the ticket I had got for my friend, to find when we got there the friend was with one of her new friends and had been slagging me off to anyone that would listen in the pub beforehand. Damn right I am glad she is no longer in my life. Damn right it's my fault she is gone; I'm not going to put up with that kind of behaviour.
The same happened with Roger and Nicky. For years that man bullied me - not in a physical sense but most definitely in a mental sense. I put up with it for fear of the fallout that would affect other's in our circle, then finally one day I realised I don't need that kind of shit in my life. For crying out loud I'm a grown woman, so I stood up for myself. As a result I am now no longer friends with either of them. Again, yes, my fault entirely for I dared to bite back.
I've spent my whole life fitting in around other people - except for when Donna was alive; everything me and her did we did as friends, working around each other. Never once did one of us make a decision for the other and if one of us really didn't want to do something the other did, neither of us did it. That's what friendship is about to me.
Compromise needs to come into play, of course it does, we can't have it all our way, but for so long I have bowed down to others and what they want; never once have they actually done what I want unless they cannot come up with an alternative idea instead. Even being away last month I didn't do what I wanted to do in the order I wanted to do it.
Having got back from a trip out I really wanted a swim but couldn't get into the pool (the door wouldn't unlock for some strange reason). I was desperate to get in there but could do nothing so made my way back into the cottage where I was asked if dinner was ready. I was stuffed still from the big breakfast and lunch we'd had but because the person I was with was hungry (how, I will never know after all we had eaten) I agreed to get dinner started. I had just switched the over on to warm up when I saw the owner of the place we were staying, so ran out to ask him if he could help me get into the pool. He got the door open for me so I planned on going back to the cottage, switching the oven off for I'd not got dinner cooking, having a swim, then going back to do dinner - I thought after a swim I might be hungry enough to want to eat. However, that didn't fit with the friend I was with; he wanted to eat first. When I pointed out I didn't want to, using the excuse it's not safe to eat and then head off into water, he gave me a long lecture on how I was wrong and it was all just a myth (why I felt I had to make an excuse in the first place I will never know; it shows just how weak I am around people though). Rather than get into an argument (or cause him to sulk - something that had happened several times already that week making it very difficult for me to relax and enjoy myself) I did as he wanted, cooked dinner, forced some food down then waited for 30 minutes before he was ready for a swim, when I then followed along like a lap dog.
Getting home from that week to find my cat so poorly (and having since lost her) I realised how sick I am of letting other people dictate to me what I do and when I do it. I wouldn't let a boyfriend/husband treat me in such a way (hence why I am still single) so asked myself why I let people who are meant to be friends treat me like it. I came up with the only answer I could - I am weak. Or at least at the time I was. Now, I'm not so. Of all the people who I have heard from this week (and in the 2 weeks leading up to the death of my cat) there is one person (friend) I have heard nothing from. One person I thought of as a really good friend. One person who I will message, phone or just check-in on from time-to-time if I know they are trying to deal with something. One person who will tell everyone (and me) they are "always there" for me if I ever need them. For the first time in over 30 years I really could have done with them and where have they been? I've not heard a word. I did message them the other day to see how they were as I knew someone who had once been close to them had passed away and I got a short, sharp reply. Nothing more, nothing less.
So yes, it is my fault I am losing friends and I am so proud of myself for finally being who I am and not letting these people push me around any more. I guess if nothing else I have learned the true definition of the word "friend" and it doesn't apply to any of the deadwood I have cleared from my life.
As with my romantic life I would rather be alone that around people who feel the need to drag me down, embarrass me, intimidate me or make me feel like anyone other than who I am.