Ms. Not-too-bad?
August 18, 2007 5:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm picky about friends and lovers. How much should I compromise?

I don't have a girlfriend, and I find it hard to maintain friendships (although I've gotten better at starting friendships). I think this is because I have unrealistic expectations for how perfect my friends and partners should be.

I'm wondering how much "friction" is normal in relationships. In what ways do your partners or friends not live up to your idea of the perfect partner or friend? I've seen comments in various threads (and other places) where people will complain about someone they love, but they obviously still love that person. In contrast, I think I throw away relationships at the slightest provocation.

What are some specific ways that your loved ones' personality, habits, etc., disappoint you?
posted by mpls2 to Human Relations (23 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
can i challenge your central premise?
i don't think it's about putting up with shite from new friends and possible love interests.
i think you've got some kind of mild um, thing... happening.
maybe depression?
depression can manifest as irritability.

i only mention this because i have known a couple of other people ask EXACTLY the same thing... and they ended up having depression... which, when treated, made them less demanding of perfection.

sorry if this is a derail. just my previos experience. take care.
posted by taff at 5:24 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


There is precious little information to work with here, so I found this. Based on these small snippets of you it seems like you are one of the very many people who are on the shy side and are painfully aware of this, who think of it as some sort of defect. It isn't. People differ. MeFi is filled with lots of people just like you. The good news is that for many people social interactions get easier as they get a little bit older. Maybe they just stop caring what others think, maybe they just get better through practice. That certainly can happen and I suggest a very old, but useful book on the subject, Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." It is sort of stilted towards being a better salesman, but follow the teachings and small talk, which leads to deeper bonds, comes more easily. My guess is that you are irritated with some folks and dispose of them out of a fear that they will ultimately reject you. It's not about them, it's about your own insecurities. Just hold on for awhile longer. Sometimes shy folks get really needy in relationships, even with their buds, as they have few other outlets for companionship. If you do that, stop. It really puts people off. The main thing to a successful relationship is putting the other person first. If you do that one thing you will be a trusted friend and companion.

(OK, that is a lot of over-analysis based upon almost no information. I could be totally wrong about you.)
posted by caddis at 5:53 AM on August 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


All relationships are give and take. They have to be. For every thing that others may do to annoy you, you may also annoy others. Because nobody's perfect and everybody's different. So when you care about someone, you try to learn how to love them and accept them for who they are... warts and all. The benefit? They also accept you. Warts and all. You may not think you have warts, but you do. And being cared about unconditionally by someone for who you are (and returning that support) is one of the best parts of life.

I think the biggest thing to realize is that focusing on "how they disappoint you" is not going to get you anywhere. It's pretty much stressing the negative and gives the impression that you are trying to talk yourself out of relationships more than that you actually are wanting to figure out how to get along with people.

Another thing that I've learned over time... is that the friction between people actually serves a great purpose sometimes. I grew up in a home where people argued a lot so for many many years I avoided all conflict. But then I learned something... conflict isn't always entirely negative. It's actually very important and can be helpful in making relationships better down the road sometimes. By working to get to the other side of a problem, you get to know someone better and you learn about them. And in turn, they can learn about you. And as that happens, it's possible for your understanding of them to become greater and to bring you closer together. Not to mention that sometimes it's healthy to have those moments of conflict in order to make you take a closer look at yourself and reconsider your own thoughts & actions. (I know it's rare, but once in a while other people are actually more right than we are.) If you don't have occasional conflict, you can't see the deeper sides of people or of yourself. Allowing people in to see your deeper side is scary, but to be loved by someone even after they've seen that side of you is pretty wonderful. It's much better than being an island.

Main thing... if you spend your entire life staying superficial with others and not allowing people in, that can lead to tragic levels of loneliness in the long term. I've seen it happen, and it's not pretty. So don't be so quick to throw people away just because of your discomfort... occasional discomfort isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it really helps us grow into better and happier people.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:58 AM on August 18, 2007 [15 favorites]


It's one of two things you need: self-acceptance, or self-control.

If truly are happier alone than compromising, you need to accept this about yourself, and accept that it will put you at variance with family and societal expectations.

If, on the other hand, you are less happy alone than compromising, than you need to control yourself when your intimates do things that upset you -- bearing the short-term pain for the long-term benefit of not being alone.
posted by MattD at 6:14 AM on August 18, 2007


well, my guess is that you're seeking friends and lovers out to soothe certain anxieties that you have, rather than because you enjoy their company. you are probably not very accepting of your own faults and therefore are quick to judge others.

people are gloriously messy and flawed--but you know that. you just don't know how to cope with it (and yes, it's hard to learn how--i didn't learn it for a long time).

seconding the possibility of depression. it manifested in me as irritability/chronic dissatisfaction rather than sadness.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:27 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can we get specific examples of what is meant by "friction" or "perfect"? Are we talking, "People who legitimately seem inconsiderate towards me sometimes" or, "people who don't seem to 'get' me totally" or "people I wish were cooler to hang out with," etc.? That might go a long way in terms of knowing what is negotiable and what is not.

Also, I clicked on the thread caddis linked and to follow through with my own over-analysis: are you someone who is in the habit of placing a few select persons up on a pedestal and looking down on the more attainable folks around you (or growing bored or contemptuous of pedestal-girl or pedestal-boy if they stick around long enough to reveal too many flaws?). If this is the case (and I have no idea if it is or not, internet stranger) you're just going to end up washing, rinsing, and repeating over and over again until you're finally willing to change or be alone. Reread Miss Lynnster's comment over and over, especially that last paragraph.
posted by sock it to me monkey at 6:30 AM on August 18, 2007


I think you should compromise exactly as much as you care about not being alone. I think in a general sense any relationship -- friend, lover, mailman, pet -- is about some sort of compromise. You always have the option to not compromise and go without, except in extreme circumstances. Your family, for example, you are stuck with to a greater degree than people who pass through your life, though some people do a great job at putting a lot of distance there.

I can be irritable and judgmental with other people sometimes myself and I have a few things I do to keep it in check.

- I remember that no one likes to listen to irritable judgmental people complain about other people. They either assume you are saying things like that about THEM too, or it just makes you seem like a cranky pain in the ass. I am concerned about not coming across like either of those things so I try to dial it back. And it's funny, the less I complain about other people, I swear, the less I mind them.
- I keep myself out of situations that I know I won't enjoy. So, I have some friends that I really enjoy in certain situations and dislike in others. For example, let's say I had a friend who was always late. I would not go to the movies with that friend but if I liked them, I'd try to see them other times. I call this not setting someone up for failure, basically. Not everyone is good at everything, don't put people you'd like to get along with in situations they are not decent at. Even your life partner doesn't have to be the person you play cribbage with, if they are a sore loser.
- This is also true for you. If you're crappy with dress up events, don't take yourself to those things and then hang around brooding at how annoying it is. Either go briefly if it's unavoidable and make polite goodbyes or skip it. Let yourself be at your best and also let your friends be at their best. This also includes stuff like eating and sleeping enough to avoid irritability generally. My irritiability quotient went WAY down when I started both eating breakfast and making getting enough sleep a priority.
- I try to make the assuption that things I mind in other people are manifestations of some personality flaw that I have. This is not true in some cases, obviously, but like my late friend example. Maybe my uptight punctuality is the problem, or maybe there is room to compromise that doesn't involve me writing off my late friend. As sock it to me monkey says above, there's a range obviously and if someone's just an asshole you may not have to think of yourself as "not tolerant enough of assholes" to get along with them, but think of interactions you dislike in terms of "what can I do to improve this situation?" and you'll be surprised at how much is under your control
- that said, giving up control is also important and I know this is sort of a contradictory message, but one of the things we generally like about other people is that THEY ARE NOT US which means that they'll have their own quirks and foibles and some of this is just what you need to learn to adjust to to get along with other people.

I'm a bit of a loner myself and I'm rarely looking for new bosom buddies but I do try to treasure the people I do have in my life and try to make my interactions with them genuine [seeing the "deeper side" as miss lynnster so aptly puts it] even when, as in the case of my family particularly, they annoy the hell out of me sometimes. I do this because I think having lasting relationships in my life has value and even if my short term grouchy self doesn't always see that, my big picture self usually has a grip on it. Irritability is a short term problem, but loneliness is a long term problem and the former can turn into the latter if you are not careful.
posted by jessamyn at 6:59 AM on August 18, 2007 [23 favorites]


I grew up in a tumultuous house with an authoritarian father who governed with bluster (don't make me angry!), and in my 20's I shunned conflict. I also had some serious depression that lasted from age 17-23. I'm 40 now, and I embrace conflict. I've come to realize that without conflict, there's no possibility of learning and growth and change. A conflict-free life is a stagnant life. Stagnation=Depression (for me). Conflict is Good. Resolution/Reconciliation is the path to satisfaction and happiness.

Reading a self-help book called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers a few years ago really helped solidify for me that when I am offended or disappointed by a behavior or statement or attitude in someone else, it's a sure sign that I need to look inward first and ask Why. What is the inner fault (dark stuff) in me that I've not been willing to deal with and accept? The other person is serving as a mirror into my own Self, showing me areas that need attention/healing. Either I graciously accept this opportunity to deal with my stuff Now, or I'll have more and more opportunities, in this and other relationships. The longer I wait, the harder it is.

We're all a constantly-changing dichotomy of good/bad, positive/negative, healthy/unhealthy. As thinkingwoman said above: we're all GLORIOUSLY messy and flawed. If we lived alone in a cave on a mountaintop, we could remain blissfully unaware of our darker flawed stuff our whole lives. It's in relationships with others that we can easily get insight into our inner selves and start to accept and embrace our flawed selves.

Conflict between me and my wife (a daily, if not hourly occurrence) is a Good Thing. 99% of these conflicts are very minor, and 6 years ago in the early honeymoon days of our relationship we brainstormed a strategy for dealing with it. We both had a tendency in prior relationships toward ignoring "little things" until they grew into big conflicts, so we agreed to address all of the little things, calmly and lovingly. We printed and framed this Conflict Resolution Strategy, and it sits on our nightstand. We used to refer to it constantly, but these days we only pull it out when we're truly stuck. Conflicts that used to take days to resolve can now be resolved in hours, and those that used to take hours now take minutes. Our basic agreement is that any conflict is simply a difference of opinion, and hurt feelings result from our different backgrounds and different sources of information about how things "should be". Resolving the conflict does not mean that we become clones of each other--only that we fully respect and accept each other's differing ideas about how things work. In doing this, it's much easier to get to the underlying values and principles and find areas of agreement to build the relationship, while working to embrace the entirety of our inner selves more.

The better we become at resolving conflicts within our marriage, the more this pays off in other relationships. We find that we use the same strategies with others, but in a unilateral way that doesn't expect them to use this tool yet still allows us to express caring concern and work with our own inner issues.

Some of the highlights of our Conflict Resolution Strategy:

ATTITUDE:
Want the other to win (as partners, if one wins we both win).
Give the other the benefit of the doubt. Know that they didn't mean harm.
Don't take it personally (Ask: Do I need to personalize this?).
No assumptions (don't assume we're on different pages). Ask questions.
No silent treatment or sulking.
If emotions are high or resources low, schedule a time to resolve conflict.

ACTION:
Communicate quickly and often. Be Timely.
Restate our commitment to each other & to working through the conflict.
Touch the other.
Begin with "I Feel". Use "I" statements ("I feel disappointed", NOT "You messed up").
Express full feelings with no rebuttal allowed from other.
Value the other's feelings.

Keep communication non-emotional.
If emotional:
1. Have I started w/ full feelings?
2. Do I feel the other didn't value my feelings?
3. What old button is this pushing (from childhood, etc.)?

posted by Bradley at 7:25 AM on August 18, 2007 [20 favorites]


I just want to highlight this bit from jessamyn's typically thorough and excellent response:

one of the things we generally like about other people is that THEY ARE NOT US which means that they'll have their own quirks and foibles and some of this is just what you need to learn to adjust to to get along with other people.


Yes.
posted by languagehat at 7:45 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think you need to work on the idea of expectations from a friendship, particularly a new friendship. Expectations should evolve from patterns. In a new relationship there are no patterns; by superimposing expectations you are disrupting the natural development of the relationship. Easy for me to say.

Ditto the idea of a specific amount of friction. Some friendships are easy, some friends drive you nuts. Day-by-day is the only way to deal with this, and a healthy sense of proportion or even "cost-benefit." Is this friendship worth the bullshit or not? How deep do I want this friendship to go? I'm going to put up with/resolve a lot more crap from a lover or a neighbor (people around for the long haul), than I am a beer buddy, and it doesn't mean confronting or dumping someone. It just means accepting or recognizing limits on any given friendship as it evolves. Not every friendship has to be a deep one.

Or maybe it does. Which brings us to the third premise. Maybe you are someone who just doesn't need or can't handle a wide and/or superficial social circle. Maybe your pattern (I'm really extrapolating here) of letting friendships die when they don't meet your expectation is just you developing a small close-knit circle of intimates rather than a larger set or sets of friends of various levels of involvement.

We all meet lots of people we like. They don't all develop into friendships, let alone close friendships. If you have NO friends, then get some counseling. If you just have a few friends, you're probably fine.
posted by nax at 7:47 AM on August 18, 2007




In what ways do your partners or friends not live up to your idea of the perfect partner or friend?

In every single way they fail the perfect idea of partner or friend, because they're not perfect. That's ok, they're there when I need them, which oddly enough, lives up to my idea of the perfect partner or friend.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:28 AM on August 18, 2007


You are human and you have flaws. Everyone around you is also human. They also have flaws. Some flaws may be bigger (or bigger dealbreakers) than others, but no one is perfect. No one will ever live up to your ideal of perfection - so tossing that ideal aside is the first thing you need to do. Understand and accept that people will make mistakes, make you laugh, piss you off, thrill you, bore you, do great things for you, etc. Don't be so quick to judge and accept people for what they are. I think if you enjoy people for who they are, things might get a little easier for you.

This presumes that you are talking about small pearls of imperfection, not people who are abusive towards you, take advantage of you, ignore you, etc.

As for my own experiences, my best friend of many years is downright terrible about calling people to catch up. Some of our our friends get all upset that she never calls, because they think it should be a 2-way street all the time and that it means she is snubbing them. However, I understand that this is how she is (very busy, always has been), and I can either lose an awesome friend because she's lousy at taking the initiative to dial the phone, or I can just call her myself and not worry about it. It's about being able to see past the things that don't TRULY matter to you - but for everyone, that's different. I guess "pick your battles" might be another way to put it?
posted by ml98tu at 8:41 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is a really hard question to answer. Everybody has dealbreakers - i.e. a person who has their heart set on having children should not marry a person who is dead set against them - but on the other hand EVERY relationship of every kind has friction because people, frankly, are a problem. If perfection is your goal good luck.

One basis I often apply is what do I expect of myself? Is the standard I expect another person to live up to one I could realistically apply to myself? Or if there is some foible that annoys me about a person, can I identify analogous traits that I have? We all have flaws. If I expect my wife to put up with mine I have to put up with hers. Where bad friction occurs communication and negotiation must occur. And even if complete change isn't possible, a visible attempt at trying to be better can help.

I see a lot of these questions where people seem to be asking for the equation to apply to whether a relationship works. Honestly I don't think it ever works this way. I can't talk about it without getting into sort of squishy "spiritual" territory but what led me to a long term relationship and marriage was a true connection of the heart that goes beyond personal differences or the end of the first, intense romantic flush of relationship (which, again, happens to EVERYONE - but it needs to be replaced with something better and deeper, not just pass into complacent tolerance of one another's company, in my opinion).

Conversely, I think a lot of relationships end at heart because that connection that can get you past the first-bloom-of-love honeymoon and into the long-journey-together territory just isn't there - but on the surface they end over one seemingly indifferent personal difference or another (he JUST WON'T FLOSS ENOUGH). I also see a lot of relationships where it seems like one or both person is compromising WAY too much, but who knows what my relationship looks like from the outside? Relationships are above all personal: I don't think there are any hard, fast "rules."
posted by nanojath at 9:16 AM on August 18, 2007


To me, the interesting part is to look with curiosity at what are the ways they are "not perfect" to me, and why that would make me want to push them away. Because people I don't particularly like are a dime a dozen (I mean, they're fine, but I'm not going to send Christmas presents). But the urge to completely write someone off is something different. For me, it usually comes out of wanting to reject that part of myself, or of feeling hurt / rejected by them.

We moved a lot, so I got used to seeing people totally disappear, and for a while right after college, I just took it as a given that eventually, I'd lose touch with all these people, and so I probably mentally hastened it sometimes. These days, I try to take the long view. I say to myself, "you can use all the friends you can get." It doesn't mean I call everyone every day, but I try to keep them in the friend category, even if it's the friend-I'm-temporarily-mad-at subset. Because sometimes the people you barely know now blossom into really close friends when some life circumstance changes.
posted by salvia at 11:04 AM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


What are some specific ways that your loved ones' personality, habits, etc., disappoint you?

Since this is the actual question, it's what I'm going to answer. Obviously, I'm not naming names.

She almost never calls me, I almost always have to call her.
He's frequently late, but gets upset when others are late.
He's really disorganized, constantly loses things, and refuses obvious solutions like putting things in the same place every day.
She's always "helpfully suggesting" things when I want her to butt out.
He clams up and won't tell me what's wrong even though he's obviously upset about something.
She habitually makes crappy relationship choices, then whines about it to me.
He promises to do stuff, then forgets or blows it off.
She refuses to see a doctor about a chronic condition.

Why do I put up with all this? Their intentions are good, and I'm positive I have just as many bad habits.
posted by desjardins at 2:30 PM on August 18, 2007


Romantic relationships are different than friendships.

In a romantic relationship, you might have to put up with more because you are more intimately involved (shared finances, for example). No one is going to live up to your ideal and guess what, you're not living up to the other person's ideal either.

With friendships, you can have degrees of friendships. Some are merely acquaintances and others are deeper. If you have a pal who is a total asshole, but is a lot of fun, you need to weigh that for yourself. I have a friend who never calls me, breaks appointments, and forgets my birthday, but he is so fantastic when I do see him, that I won't break it off. I just have to have reasonable expectations for his behavior and try not to be hurt when he blows me off. It is what he does. Because of this, he lacks in deeper friendships, perhaps.
posted by k8t at 2:44 PM on August 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Get rid of the fear and free yourself. Maybe then it gets easier ...
posted by homodigitalis at 2:53 PM on August 18, 2007


Echoing what jessamyn said: the negative, judgmental side of me gets angrier and more powerful the more I feed it. So I've reserved my "cutting" for the people who overfeed this side: the ones who spend the majority of their time being habitually and reflexively cruel (for example, the types who constantly deconstruct the physical/behavioral flaws of every single person in their lives). It's roughly analogous to a problem drinker who is scared of becoming a full-blown alcoholic giving up her old drinking buddies.

That doesn't mean limiting my life to Little Mary Sunshine kinds of interactions by any means. My husband and I can certainly bicker up a storm. It's more that I had to stop thinking of people as flawed or perfect but accept a palette of behavior -- some light, some dark. It takes the full range to make a portrait worth examining. I find people who only display one end of the spectrum boring and oppressive beyond toleration. I want friends who are complicated, quirky, unpredictable -- but at their core, good people. In a word, that means faith. No matter what our disagreements or conflicts, I have faith in their essential goodness and that we'll work out whatever's malfunctioning between us in the end.

So, when I find myself prickling at my friends, I remind myself of the best of them, the reasons I like them. So yeah, so-and-sos habit of blurting out eye-rollingly insensitive things is belied by his many kind and thoughtful actions. So-and-so never, ever writes to me -- but when I write to her, what I get back in return is so smart and funny that it makes my day. It all works out. What other people said about remembering your own flaws is so important, too. For instance, I'm social, but there are times that I absolutely must retreat and be totally introverted, which means I sometimes cancel plans last minute and just plain handle social interactions badly. I've definitely lost friends because of it, but thankfully there are others who've been willing to accept this flaw (hardly my only) -- in part because they are just good people, but also because I accept theirs as well.

I also used to think that anyone I called "friend" had to be someone who'd get out of bed for you at three in the morning to bail you out. Yet there are shades of friendship and they shift and change over time. In college, some people who were only my light going out buddies are now my dearest friends. Some who were closest to me are people I talk to once in a blue moon, if ever. It would be a mistake to dramatize that process ("so-and-so doesn't love me anymore!"). Many friendships wax and wane. There's no reason to view that as betrayal and discard them, or to try to freeze all your relationships into one perfect state. You freeze things to preserve them. Friendships are living things.

I've been a lonely person before, searching for that other who was finally going to be perfectly loyal, perfectly understanding, and perfectly in tune with me in every way. I got a cat (probably should have got a dog) and found some actual human beings to love instead, and it made my life so much richer and happier I still sometimes don't believe it. I wish the same for you. Best of luck.
posted by melissa may at 4:06 PM on August 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry that you feel so disappointed by people but to emphasize a previous post:

In what ways do your partners or friends not live up to your idea of the perfect partner or friend?

In every single way they fail the perfect idea of partner or friend, because they're not perfect. That's ok, they're there when I need them, which oddly enough, lives up to my idea of the perfect partner or friend.


How perfect are you? I would imagine just as imperfect as everyone else in the world....
posted by Womanscientist at 5:40 PM on August 18, 2007


Like miss lynnster I'm a bit befuddled by your use of the word "dissapoint". Overwhelmingly, my friends and loved ones please, enlighten, entertain, warm, comfort, hold, sustain, and uplift me. Sure, some of them are a pain sometimes, but overwhelmingly friends and loved ones are a positive force in my life.

The use of the word "disappoint" rather than "hurt" suggests that your friends do things that do not live up to some standard you have set for them. That is an unhealthy way to be pissed off at your friends. Being upset, frustrated, annoyed, irritated, angered, or bemused by your friends and loved ones is, however, totally normal as it suggests you are engaging in normal human interactions. I generally am not disappointed in a friend or girlfriend, although occasionally I find that the image that I had of them was incorrect. Again, that is a problem with me, not with them.

Fortunately, I have been blessed by being a very difficult, clumsy, disorganized, late, reckless, and occasionally insensitive goof since an early, early age. This has taught me to cherish and hold on to anyone who's willing to stick around me and call me friend.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:42 PM on August 18, 2007


People will only disappoint you if they don't meet your expectations. One way to avoid disappointment is to readjust your expectations. No-one is ever going to meet all your expectations in all areas.

The friend that is always late when you arrange to meet up may also be the first person you want to call when you need to talk about problems you're having in your relationship. The friend that is takes 3 days to call you back may also be the friend that is always up for seeing a band with you. The friend that is obviously uncomfortable when you're talking about your relationships may also be the friend that you really enjoy playing basketball with every Tuesday night. And that's okay!

If someone lets you down, it doesn't mean that you need to throw the whole relationship away - you just need to accept that you can't rely on them for that particular thing. Accept your friends for who they are, and they won't disappoint.
posted by finding.perdita at 5:55 PM on August 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm a very sensitive person, and I've found myself pondering this before. I've tried to form a balanced perspective on it.

I try to look at the situation at hand, the way that I feel let down, and figure out a few things. Does it matter enough to potentially end a friendship over? Does the person care about me or is it a one-sided relationship? Do their actions represent their character or is it just an incident? Is there any emotion that I've been willingly (if not knowingly) stewing in to my own detriment -- bitterness, self-pity, crankiness -- and thereby contributing to my own dissatisfaction?

I've found that a lot of the time it's my own way of looking at a situation that colours my feelings about it. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps this kind of thing a LOT. It's all about thinking *twice* -- the second time evaluating how true your immediate assumptions are, and how you might come to a more balanced (more realistic) perspective on it.

So, sometimes when I feel brushed off by someone I know it just somehow feels comfortable to close in on myself in response, but I know that's not healthy. But at least once it's made me realize that the person never cared for me as much as I did for them, and I'm drawing back from them. (Which turns out to be much more about my own expectations than about the person herself.)

I'm not being coherent but even if you don't want to get CBT there's a lot to be said for re-evaluating your assumptions and trying to be objective about what's happened to make you feel this way.
posted by loiseau at 9:52 AM on August 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm picky about friends and lovers, too.

I have a large social network - people I know the names of, see fairly frequently, have their numbers in my phone, read their blogs. These, I suppose, are friends - people I invite to parties, people I talk to.

Then there is the 'good friends' category. I have, I think, currently two or perhaps three people in this category.

Then there are my two best friends, one of whom I'm married to.

Every last one of them has irritated me and frustrated me at some point - and some more frequently than that. Of them all, though, only a few have ever disappointed me - that is, failed to live up to the expectations I have. Usually, it's only good/best friends that disappoint - my expectations for them are a *lot* higher, and based on exposure to me, and whether I've communicated my expectations clearly. If I haven't articulated my expectations, there is no way I can reasonably expect a friend to live up to those expectations - ESP is not a trait most people posess.

I guess I start of with very few expectations - don't be a total jerk, do have something in common with me, that's really about it. From my husband? My expectations are really rather different.

And no, he isn't perfect. That would suck, because I don't like competing like that.
posted by ysabet at 4:50 AM on August 20, 2007


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