The Official TikkunGer Backup Blog

Just like the tittle says, this is my emergancy backup site

A Tale of Two Friends

Posted by Avi M on January 2, 2007

Over the last several days I’ve done some growing and learning in the old friendships department. And it has included a combination of the frightening, depressing and illuminating but before I get into what happened let me give you a bit of background information. Throughout most of my life I’ve been fairly needy and insecure in terms of my worthiness as a friend and companion and that being the case many awkward and unfortunate situations have arisen in terms of my various friendships. I won’t go off in to any cathartic diatribe here but suffice it to say that historically my limiting self-perceptions have made me vulnerable to other people’s mistreatment and more importantly has allowed me to sell myself short in all sorts of social settings. I don’t think I’m that person anymore but a shadow still lingers and on some level I always fear his return.

And with that on to my story.

Over the past year I’ve blogged about my conversion process and how it has impacted my life in various ways. Some of you may remember me posting about how I feel that some of my Buddhist friends have bailed on me, I’m guessing because of my rejection of Buddhism and conversion to Judaism. It is however completely possible that they see me as having bailed on them but I feel that I’ve made enough effort to maintain relationships that this should not be the case.

To be honest I’m okay moving on and letting go of most of these friendships but there is one that has been bothering me and I’ve tried to make an extra effort to extend my hand to him as a friend despite the fact that we are on separate spiritual paths now. It seems the harder I try the more he rejects me in a passive aggressive sort of way and this of course brings up my old insecurities with my regular response of trying even harder to win his approval. Over this past fall I’ve ridden a roller coaster of being upset and sad about the loss of this friendship or rather the dying off of this friendship and it hasn’t been pleasant.

There’s more to say about this guy but I want to switch gears for a second because after all this is a tale of two friends.

I have another friend who has been a good friend for over 12 years now; he’s been a much better friend to me than I have ever been to him. I don’t mean that he values our relationship more than I do simply that he has always had better friend skills than I have. He’s seen me through alcohol and drug abuse not to mention a suicide attempt, all of which were part of my very turbulent 20s. I’ve also seen him through a thing or two which I won’t disclose here now because I don’t know how he would feel about that.

This past summer he was in Canada visiting from Taiwan where he lives and works. He stayed over at my place for a couple of days and we did a lot of catching up and talking. I was open and honest with him about my Judaism and how my attitudes and values seem to be moving towards the more conservative and traditional end of the spectrum. At the time I felt I was doing this in a nonjudgmental fashion and that we had a good visit. Having said all of that I fully realize, that I am an intense person who can be rather difficult to take sometimes especially when I’m excited about something. Anyhow we had our visit and I thought things went well and then we didn’t speak for a while which is normal for us.

By the time December rolled around I realize that we hadn’t been in touch since the summer so I decided to fly him off an e-mail to which he replied on January 1. It was a pleasant e-mail telling me how he had been busy and what he’d been up to and then about halfway through it the tone changed. My friend began to explain to me how he’d felt a strange vibe the last time we were together and that he felt that maybe I no longer wanted to maintain a friendship with him. He went on to explain how not only he valued our friendship but also me as a human being (my words not his) and I got the sense that he was really hurt by this. I knew something had been up but I was completely floored by his candidness and his sense of abandonment.

Of course this incident with my friend completely shed a new light on my sadness over the situation with my Buddhist Buddy. You see I began comparing my Buddhist buddy to my friend from Taiwan and I realized that this Buddhist buddy who I was working so hard to keep had never really been that great a friend. My Buddhist but he began to look like a fair weather friend at best and I don’t mean just now but always, sure he was around when things were good or when I supported what he believed but that would end when he was uncomfortable or not interested in what I was doing.

The bottom line is that I realized that while I had been so busy trying to cultivate something out of a sense of insecurity I was completely oblivious to the damage I was doing to a real long-lasting friendship. I quickly came to see that in a certain light I looked a lot like my Buddhist Buddy at least to my friend in Taiwan and that’s the last thing I wanted. I’m not going to suggest that I’m not hurt by how I perceive my Buddhist Buddy is treating me but it no longer seems nearly as important to me. I’m now seeing that maybe I should spend a little bit less time worrying about how my friends are treating me and more time focused on whether I’m being truly good to my real friends.

I now really feel bad about what has taken place with my friend in Taiwan and when I think about these two separate but related situations I now can clearly see where my energy needs to go. Regardless of whether or not my Buddhist Buddy is a fair weather friend I know in my heart that I don’t want to be perceived as one by my good friend from Taiwan. So I think it’s time to reconnect and make a heartfelt teshuvah.

Be Well


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One Response to “A Tale of Two Friends”

  1. Tamara said

    That was a very honest post. I think it’s so important to do the golden rule “do unto others…”. I appreciate you posting this because I can fully relate and I too know that even though I care for my family and friends, I’m not always the best family or friend.

    Thank you.

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