Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Doing as you would be done by

Thanks for all the understanding comments and suggestions about my tv dilemma - I'm certainly not out on my own about this. Ah well. I've joined Film Society at a friend's urging, which means that on Mondays at least, I always have the option of a 6.15 movie followed by a later dinner, either at home or cheap and cheerful ethnic (this week it was delicious Vietnamese, $12).
             Tonight was good too. A longstanding friend rang today and suggested she come round for dinner. I do like it so much when people call me to suggest doing things. I can't help but worry that I'm being a nuisance when it's always me calling them.
        One of the things I've come to realise, though, is that most people tend not to alter their usual behaviour. If you have friends whom you value, but have almost always had to call because they hardly ever call you, that will tend to stay the same no matter what happens - even major events like your partner becoming an invalid, and then dying. They probably won't call to see if you need support, because they're just not in the habit of doing so.
         This isn't meant to be a complaint or whine. I'm extremely lucky because I do have enough beloved friends who reach out to me, often with what seems like instinctively good timing, to offer me exactly what I need, when I need it. And I, in turn, feel comfortable contacting them, because I'm confident they won't think I'm a burden.
          Then there are the ones who, faced with a major change in your life, do step right up and make a commitment to provide ongoing support. Even if they were not a regular part of our home life before, they quickly became so. Harvey had some splendid male friends who did this for him, and we loved them for it.
          But with others I'm finding that I have to recognise they're not going to change, despite the huge change in my circumstances. So I either accept the relationship as it is, without harbouring resentment about it, or decide that I don't want to continue with it. Which isn't difficult - all I need to do is stop calling them.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, yes it's true what you say. I think a lot of people don't realise what it's like for those who live alone, and how much small gestures matter. The invitation out of the blue, the phone call just to say 'how are you?', the inclusion in a social event - these are deeply appreciated by those who don't live in the daily flow of relationship.
    I hear your acceptance, but at the same time I want to add a plea to everyone to be less self-absorbed. Random acts of kindness liven up everyone's lives, both the giver and the receiver.