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Meditation and empty friendships

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran
edited December 2018 in Meditation

I was doing a little vipassana today, and I noticed that there were some memories surfacing, of trips to the cinema with friends some 15 years ago. These memories were unexpectedly painful but I had a hard time telling why... the whole time period seemed suffused with a kind of suffering and loneliness, while I had people around me who I would have called friends.

So I’ve been doing some introspecting, trying to get to the bottom of why I feel this way, and I think it is because a lot of the friendships I had in that period were essentially empty, and at heart I really was suffering and alone and lacking love. I was a fairly senior figure in the company I worked for at the time and had some key responsibilities at a young age, and I think people found it convenient to be my friend but there was no real feeling there. Perhaps I do one or two people a disservice there, there was a liking, something real, but not the bond I was looking for at the time...

It’s funny how meditation brings these things to the foreground. I think ultimately the lesson for me is that through inaction I was not bringing the elements into my life that I had a real need of, and so I was creating my own suffering.

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said: ... I was a fairly senior figure in the company I worked for at the time and had some key responsibilities at a young age, and I think people found it convenient to be my friend but there was no real feeling there.

    I have also held managerial positions, and I have often said "A Manager is a friend to everyone but a friend of no-one."
    Because sometimes when the BS hits the fan, you may have to discipline, or worse still, fire somebody, and it hurts to do that to people who consider you a buddy. But that's where the Worzel Gummidge Factor comes in. You have to wear a different head for every circumstance, whatever it might be... and those who understand, accept and support, are the real friends. Those who balk at discipline and protest at the chastisement, leaning heavily on the "But I thought you were my friend!" angle, are no friends at all. I discovered this when I worked at Olio & Farina (Italians can be a rum lot!)

    KundoKerome
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    It’s funny how meditation brings these things to the foreground. I think ultimately the lesson for me is that through inaction I was not bringing the elements into my life that I had a real need of, and so I was creating my own suffering.

    When it comes to life in Samsara, we are all users, some more than others, but we are all users just the same...Out (in one way or another) to benefit one self....To what percent one does this, depends on the situation......and the untrained mind....

    What's in it for me ???

    May you be happy <3 <3 <3

    KeromeKundo
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I think ultimately the lesson for me is that through inaction I was not bringing the elements into my life that I had a real need of, and so I was creating my own suffering.

    "The Doormat Syndrome" is when one has the unhealthy need to try and please everybody (be everybody's friend) at any cost, by letting everybody walk all over them, taking one for granted, and taking liberties with one's naivety ...

    From what I gather with ongoing Dharma practice one can develop a receptiveness and openness to other's needs without feeling used or taken for granted...( no-self involvement...so to speak....pun intended )

    I guess it's a matter of finding and maintaining that balance

    Which is easier said than done...

    ....(says this ongoing work in progress :) )

    personKundolobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    One of the most important friendships is with the sangha. Spiritual friendship. I trust the enlightened with

    MY LIFE!

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalyāṇa-mittatā

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Linc said:
    I recently saw someone describe their friendship with another person by listing everything they had done for that person, and I felt like I was talking to an alien.

    I can understand that, I put it down to the creeping materialism of today’s society and a general wanting to do ‘accounting’ in friendships. I never approach friendships like that, and I’m always surprised when I encounter others who do.

    The one place where I do “track” friendships is in how often I see people. If I haven’t seen someone for a while I will be more inclined to invite them out for a coffee or to come over to eat dinner. It’s important to see your friends regularly.

    Linc
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Which is easier said than done...

    Good post from @Shoshin
    Most of the people we meet are surface shells. Most of us attach to that component. I am not overly concerned with superficial layers ...

    Real friends are an honesty few meet. If we wish to move beyond the doorway, they are our most precious spiritual resource. I'll take as many as I can get.

    I iz spiritual mercenary :3
    Tee hee. <3

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
  • BuddhalotusBuddhalotus Explorer Here and now Explorer

    I don't know if my comment belongs here, but I was thinking of online friendships.

    My job entails plenty of online interaction, and overtime I have bonded deeply with many people I have never met in person, but interacted with a lot in the media.

    I recently had a very frustrating experience especially with one of them, who I cared deeply for, but somehow the friendship came to an end.
    When I discuss this with my flesh and blood friends they all dismiss my grief with a "Why should you care? This person was not real, just an online person who did not exist"

    Do online people really not exist?
    My online friends feel real to me and I care for them.
    Should I not?
    Am I wrong?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Friendships, like everything else, have a beginning, a middle and an end.
    To my mind, it doesn't matter whether we physically interact with another being, or merely do so virtually, we commit to a relationship, a connection that should be cultivated.
    An online interaction can - and often does - become just as precious, meaningful and intense as any connection we have with a tangible other.

    I have established some friendships online which I would say are just as strong, and at times, stronger than those I have with people I see every day. I have been on this forum for 15 years, so I have made some wonderful friends here.

    I'm sorry you had a difficult time with a friend recently.
    I wonder if you'd like to share the situation? Maybe we can help resolve it...

    KundoBuddhalotus
  • CarameltailCarameltail Veteran UK Veteran

    I can relate to the empty friendship thing. Although the sort of person I am most of my friendships expired very quickly :P
    In the end passion, feeling and happiness is something that starts from yourself. I have found that if you express yourself in certain open and truthful way you bring the right people to you. Though being careful not to attract harmful personalities into your life ofc. I guess the position you are at in life affects that too. You get what you get really, bearing in mind friendship is an active process rather than something you own. And that different people resonate and relate to different things. Not everyone is so open to the same sorts of ideas.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Buddhalotus said:
    I recently had a very frustrating experience especially with one of them, who I cared deeply for, but somehow the friendship came to an end.
    When I discuss this with my flesh and blood friends they all dismiss my grief with a "Why should you care? This person was not real, just an online person who did not exist"

    It’s a bit of an internet syndrome... I feel that all people online have a real face behind the screen, and through interactions on forums I grow to care for people too. Perhaps it’s one sided, but I feel like online communities are like real tribes.

    Not everyone feels like that, some folks feel as if the screen is some kind of portal into a magical land where they interact with not-real people. I don’t understand the attitude, but I see it in YouTube comments and Twitch chat. Perhaps it’s a young-people thing.

    Do online people really not exist?
    My online friends feel real to me and I care for them.
    Should I not?
    Am I wrong?

    I don’t think you are wrong at all. You’re probably more sensitive and empathic than the average, and that’s why you feel these things more.

    Buddhalotus
  • BuddhalotusBuddhalotus Explorer Here and now Explorer

    @federica said:
    I'm sorry you had a difficult time with a friend recently.
    I wonder if you'd like to share the situation? Maybe we can help resolve it...

    Thank you for your comment, @federica

    What you said has been most helpful already.

    I guess this is one of those friendships that is probably not meant to last, and to which we both committed in a different way.

    There is no help possible here, because the other person is not to blame for feeling differently about our friendship.

    I can only guess he did care for our friendship too, but he is prone to existential crises and in those occasions, he chooses to vanish.
    The first time he disappeared for months and blocked all communication.
    He popped back out of nowhere, we resumed a friendship, then he bowed out again last week.
    This time, I have decided to delete his number.

    But thank you for confirming to me that yes, online friendships can be as intense and real as live ones, @federica

  • BuddhalotusBuddhalotus Explorer Here and now Explorer
    edited December 2018

    Thank you, @Kerome

    I live this empathy trait of mine as a sort of curse.

    Nowadays people relate more shallowly.

    They probably suffer less that way...

    Which is also sad anyway...

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