Friends, Fights, and Friends

Alcohol is bad! That’s a joke, but only slightly.

Truth serum, that’s what my friend Megan calls is. And when you try to use truth serum to quash your feelings, it doesn’t work all that well.

Nor does it engender peaceful gatherings among exhausted souls.

I almost got in a fight with a friend tonight, a new friend, but a friend I already consider dear. And, unfortunately, this is a friend I’ve already had a fight with, in the scant two months I’ve known him.

Alcohol and exhaustion were involved both times. As was the need to be right, or, the need for the other person to be wrong.

Now, I’m not someone who’s used to fighting. I’ve added it up, and, besides the fight and almost fight with this person, I’ve had six fights in the last dozen years.

The first fight, a mild one, was with an employee, my manager. He was right, I was definitely in the wrong, and I learned from it that my grumpiness is my own problem and not to be taken out on anyone else. It was a valuable lesson for which I am grateful.

The next fight was with my son, who was seventeen and was being a shit, whereas I was uber stressed, trying to run a store and a business and dealing with flakey employees and the inequity between the inflow and outflow of money. We were both in the wrong, and the fight ended in less than twenty minutes, when I called my son a “son of a bitch” and he started laughing…once I realized why he was laughing, I laughed too, and then we were talking and working it all out. That’s the way we always did it. (though this was the ONLY time I inadvertently called myself a bitch, lol!)

The next was with an ex employee who padded her hours and was CRAZY! I refused to fight with her until she pushed and pushed and pushed, and I finally let loose on her. She left in tears, and deserved everything she got.

The next was an employee, also my manager, who I considered a dear friend. He was an addict who had recently begun to do speed again. He completely changed from the person I thought I knew into someone or something else. He also pushed me and pushed me and pushed me until I finally fought back. We mended the fences a few weeks later, and all was good, or so I thought until I discovered he was stealing from me, and I severed things with him permanently.

Then, a year ago, I had a fight over nothing with a dear friend that I’d had a mutual crush on for thirty years. There was rum involved, a fair amount, and, he was going though a divorce and I had just lost my house. Turns out that we both thought that this was the night we were actually going to get into each others pants, after all this time, but, unfortunately, we were both so broken that it just wasn’t gonna happen. What a drag, really, he’s an awesome guy, but, broken is broken and neither of us could be the one to hold the other up, so it was probably a good thing. We are dear friends to this day.

The next fight was with The River Guy. I was adjusting the dosage of my pesky anti-depressants so I could actually have that wonderful thing called an orgasm. I had warned him that I would probably be a bit sensitive for a couple of weeks, but, when I asked him to please continue what he was doing at this one particular moment in time, so that I could maybe have one of those delightful things I just mentioned, he forgot all about my warning and request for patience and yelled at me instead. I think that fight was his fault, don’t you?

And then there was the fight I had with this new friend a month ago, and the fight I almost had with him tonight.

So, I’ve had six fights in twelve years, then a fight and an almost fight with the same person in one months time. I blamed myself a month ago, saying that I was exhausted, and that I get sensitive when exhausted, but, I wasn’t exhausted tonight. He, however, was. And, yes, there was alcohol involved. I refused to engage, so, fight averted.

But now, I want to know if he likes to fight, or if we’re just really good at pushing each others buttons. If were good at pushing each others buttons, we can figure out how not to do so, but, if he likes to fight, I may have to reconsider the potential for the depths of our friendship…I adore this guy, we have so much fun together, but, seriously, if he likes to fight, I can’t be a close friend with him, we’ll have to be acquaintances, because fighting is just not something I want in my life. Don’t like it, don’t need it, reject it.

 

I grew up in a very contentious and tumultuous family, and, since I left home at eighteen, I’ve worked very hard to counter that tendency in myself and my relationships. Perhaps there’s still more I need to learn in this regard, and that could be why I’m presented with this right now. I have to keep that in mind (“oh god, not another learning experience!” Do you remember that button?)(and, actually, I don’t so much mind the learning experiences, because, while often upsetting whilst happening, they make life infinitely easier in the long run.)

I had an interesting conversation with my sons girlfriend yesterday, the one he’s celebrating his five year anniversary with in a few weeks time. She a little Italian-American Scorpio girl, full of piss and vinegar, and delightful, but fiery, so do not cross her, or those she loves. She also doesn’t like talking about her feeling when she’s upset or pissed off. So, yesterday we’re talking about the relationship she has with my son, and she says to me, practically word for word, what I’ve been telling people for years: “Oh sure, we fight, everyone does, but, within about a half an hour, we’re saying to each other Okay, what are you really upset about? Then we talk about it, and the fight’s over.”

YES!!!! I am so proud of my kid! And I’m proud of my self too, because I broke the cycle. I went from a family where fighting was constant, but nothing was ever resolved, to raising a kid to have the tools to resolve conflict effectually, where you leave everyone a winner, where everyone gets to be happy. I am so glad about this. I don’t think we’re supposed to fight as humans, I think we’re supposed to figure out how to Rodney King it and all get along (sans the drowning in the swimming pool, of course) I’ve taught that to my kid, I’ve improved the human race by one soul, and he’s done it already with another (remember, his girlfriend does NOT like to talk about feelings. But he’s taught her how to, and the importance of doing so!) and, if and when they have kids (please, please, please, please, please!)they will teach those souls that same important lesson. The Universe improved, one soul at a time!

So, now I just have to figure out what the learning experience is with my new friend, and what we’re supposed to learn from each other…okay, okay, I know, I can only really figure out what I’m supposed to learn from him, because what he’s supposed to learn from me is both his responsibility and, none of my business.

Wish me luck, will you, because good friends that you have great fun with are important in this life.

Addendum: Two days later. We almost had a fight again last night. There was alcohol and exhaustion involved, once again, but this time I was the one who was exhausted, and he was the one who refused to engage. So, it’s the pushing each others buttons, thing (plus the alcohol and exhaustion thing, I gotta admit!) So, there are issues to be worked on, lessons to be learned, buttons to figure out how not to push…hmmm. Again, wish me luck!

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About babedarla

I've spent years as a clothing/costume designer with my own business, but a recent life change has put me on a journey of self discovery and returned me to my first love: writing!
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3 Responses to Friends, Fights, and Friends

  1. I really like that you see in your son evidence that you’ve broken a destructive cycle. That, my friend, is something worth celebrating:)

  2. babedarla says:

    Sally, I totally agree! That I’ve broken the cycle in my own life is something; that I’ve passed on the change is amazing and gratifying! Thanks!

  3. Hmmm. Maybe avoid the demon drink? Oh I don’t know – I don’t do fighting, I’m scared of it and scared to do it. I kinda admire fighty people (as long as they don’t fight with me). But it sounds like your son does it how it should be done! You have to trust people quite a lot to fight with them, I’m always thinking of the ramifications, and that stops me. Fighting puts you out of the controllers seat. So doing it sometimes says good things about a person, paradoxically!

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