Friends: Can’t Live with Them; Can’t Live Without Them

I have some great friends in my life and I love them all.  Most of them know one thing for sure or figure it out fairly quickly, I don’t particularly like to talk on the phone.  I don’t like calling people, because I always feel like I am intruding on whatever they are doing.  Now if I am in the mood to talk on the phone it is one thing, if I am not, well I am more than happy to just sit and listen to you.  I do love communicating with friends, don’t get me wrong.  It is great to have someone to tell your trouble and your triumphs.  A great friend, you can talk about nothing and everything all at once and have a great conversation.  Other times, you can just sit quietly with each other content in the knowledge that you are together.

My best female friend is often one of these people.  We get along very well and when times are good they are really good, but we can also get on each others nerves very much.  She is like a sister to me, in fact, I am probably closer to her than I am to my own sister.  However, sometimes I need to just complain about her.  Most of you guys don’t really know me (other than through my blogs) and none of you know her, so you are the perfect people to complain about her to.  Even if you don’t read all of this, I at least get to put my feelings out there.

This friend of mine has moved away from where we used to live in the same town, and I have also moved away, so we are even further apart.  There are several main things that she does that get on my nerves.  First of all, she has a job I would love to have, and though she says she loves her job, she constantly complains about it and hates doing all the extra administrative stuff that comes with the territory.  She’s a teacher and believes that all she is supposed to do is teach.  Anyone who has been in academia knows that you not only have to serve on committees, serve as advisors, perform certain community service activities, etc., you also have to teach.  All of that is part of the job.  I would love to be doing what she is doing.  She only teaches two different classes (though she teaches 5 in all).  I teach 7 different classes, all different preps.  She has two.  I have to serve on the same sorts of committees, actually a few more, go to teacher training conferences, which she has to do also, get paid less than she does, and have to mostly deal with high school students, when she deals with college students.  I know the grass is generally greener on the other side, but while I struggle constantly to find a job that I want and feel is rewarding, along with finishing a dissertation, and all of the other stuff that goes along with life, she has a fairly stable job (she is on one year renewable contracts, that probably won’t end), she only has a master’s degree, and has no worries about tenure or scholarly publications.  She just has to deal with students and administrators and I have to deal with students, administrators, and PARENTS. She doesn’t have that much to complain about in my opinion.

Furthermore, she is becoming more and more selfish in my opinion.  She got angry with me for taking my current job as teaching because she wanted me to move in with her, work at Wal-Mart or some other such job, and help her pay her mortgage and bills.  I love to teach; it is my passion.  My job may not be the ideal situation, but don’t dismiss it or change the subject every time I bring it up, because you don’t see the joys of teaching, when you yourself are a teacher.  She also wants me to drive the 7 hours to visit her, but will not come visit me, when she actually has more time to be able to do so. She always has an excuse.  When she calls me now it is usually to complain about one of two things: general complaints about her job or people she knows or to complain to me about why I don’t call her more.  I don’t call her more because she never wants to listen about my life, but to tell me all about hers, which is fine, but I think it is a two way street.  I also don’t call because she is rarely at home.  She goes out with friends or out drinking a lot (I tend to think she drinks too much and calls in sick with hangovers too much).  She won’t see that she potentially has a problem, even though I have seen the same thing in many other people.  They let the bars run their life.  I admit, I love to go out and have a good time.  I enjoy drinking and getting drunk on occasion, but I never do it if I have to teach the next day or have something else important that I have to do.  I certainly would never go out drinking until 3 or 4 am when I have a 7:30 am class the next day, and I know that I would still be drunk when I got to class or would have to cancel it because my hangover was so bad.  Yet, she still does this.  She worries about her contract not being renewed, yet she doesn’t take initiative to do better about her job when she knows what the bare basic requirements are and only complains about them.

I started writing (ranting) this when I got of the phone with her.  Hence the first part about my often dislike of talking on the phone.  My feelings were already hurt by her this week.  I had surgery on Monday, and not until I messaged her Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday and subtly reminded her that I had not spoken to her since my surgery, did she ask how I was doing.  Then without waiting for a reply, she began another subject. (She also has forgotten my birthday, when I mentioned something about it last week, she asked when it was.  It’s coming up in the next few days; I have never forgotten her birthday since she told me when it was.)  She did ask today when she called how I was doing, but that was only after I mentioned not getting much sleep last night because I was having some pain.  I had thought she had called to ask how I was doing, but the real reason she called was to tell me that her sister had been in a wreck (she’s ok, btw) and that she was really tired and sleepy and needed someone to talk to to keep her awake while she drove to see about her sister.  I was more than happy to sit here and listen even though I am very tired and was getting ready to take a nap. (Part of the reason I am writing this is to get out the frustrations, so that it will be off my mind when I take a nap in a few minutes.)  The problem is instead of talking amicably, she started to complain that she couldn’t hear me very well.  I told her that her phone was breaking up, and I could barely hear her, but she never thinks it is her phone.  Now does anyone have AT&T Wireless?  I used to, and I know very well how crappy their service can be and how many times it would drop a call.  I never have that problem with Verizon.  But just to satisfy her I said for her to call me on my land line. So she said something, which I couldn’t understand, and hung up.  Then she called my land line.  I may have an independent rinky dink local telephone company, but I get damn good service, yet she began complaining again that she couldn’t hear me.  When I said, “I think it is your phone.”  She snapped back at me, “Nope, it’s only you.  Everyone else I can hear fine.”  I’ve heard her talk to other people on the phone, this conversation goes on with each of them too.  I don’t understand why she can admit it.  She has an iPhone, it doesn’t mean she has the greatest piece of telecommunications technology in the world.  It’s AT&T Wireless.  It sucks (BTW, I have major problems with AT&T, but that is a whole other story.  So yes, I am biased against AT&T.)  Then the conversation ended with her saying, “I’m going to just let you go.  You obviously just need a nap.”  Meaning that she thought I was in an ill mood.  I had tried to be nice, but everything I had said she turned back on me.  I hate it when you are trying to be nice to someone and all they can do is point out every little thing that is wrong with what you say.  There is not pleasing them.  Then she hung up.  I can’t take a nap when I am mad, so I decided to calm down and get my frustrations out on this blog.

Sorry that this post is so much the opposite of my earlier post today, which was all about optimism.  I try to keep my optimism, but sometimes we all need a good rant.  Well, here was mine.  Thanks for reading. 

I love her, she is my best friend, but damn she can get on my last nerve like no other.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

16 responses to “Friends: Can’t Live with Them; Can’t Live Without Them

  • fan of casey

    Joe: This sounds like your personal version of "Will & Grace" — I hate that too when friends take you for granted or dump their problems unto you. You vented so you should feel better, have your nap and rest up.

  • jaygeemmm

    Interesting definition of friend: one who bitches constantly, makes it all your fault and all about her, while bitching constantly. Oh, already said that. I understand the sister part. I've tried to avoid that with my bff so maybe we won't get on each others' nerves like this, and so far it's working. And I will admit there were times I wanted to just say SHUT UP, but now that she's more than been there for me in the last three years, I'm glad I never did. Oh, and tell AT&T to shove it. I listen to the same crap at work from our Apple nuts who buy iPhones that work "over there" while my POS LG works everywhere on Verizon.Isn't it great to have a place to just RANT?!Peace <3Jay

  • Love<~Peter~>

    lol now i cant get out of my head the person who post hott pics is a teacher god lol hmm hopefully he is a hott teacher hrm who knows but sounds like a friend of mine sounds like someone everyone has had but they have been with you so long your use to it and yeah we have at and t internet phone blah it is grand Love<~peter~>

  • JoeBlow

    FOC: Yeah, I guess it is my own Will & Grace. She does frustrate me at times, but there are other times when I don't know what I would do without her.Anon: Yes, she really is a friend.Jay: Sometimes, I just feel like bitching myself, LOL. (I don't do it a lot on my blogs, but hell sometimes you just have to.) Part of it is that I really am jealous of parts of her life. While I am stuck here in a small narrow-minded town, she is out there having a great time. We have been there so much for each other, that most times I can take the bitching, today after feeling so bad all week, I just couldn't. My feelings were really hurt by her not checking on me after surgery, but quite honestly she was raised with different values than me. She can be quite selfish, but her family and the community she grew up in are just that way. She can also be incredibly generous at times, just don't expect her to remember important dates and events. Last year, when I was living with my parents, I knew I could always go see her and have a safe calm place when my parents had gotten on my last nerve. And much much more.BTW, I guess there will always be that war between the Apple and non-Apple people, LOL.Thanks for listening guys.

  • JoeBlow

    Peter: Yeah, I'm not your typical teacher, but that's what makes life interesting, LOL. My students usually mostly find me pretty cool (at least that is what they lead me to believe). I think we all have friends like this and we get to a point when we either get past it or move on. I am certainly not ready to move on, but we have certainly moved apart, not just in distance but also in maturity. Sometimes, I just think she needs to grow up. But then again, maybe I am just getting set in my ways.

  • jaygeemmm

    I'm usually the one that can't remember events and big days, while my bff remembers them all! It's just that I am chronologically disabled…no dates ever register with me. And yeah, it's nice to have a safe place to be. I've certainly shown up on her doorstep more than once, and vice-versa!Peace <3Jay

  • Mike

    Your post could have been written by me. You sound like me- soft spoken, easy going, and on top of everything like birthdays, surgeries, major events in our lives, etc., and maybe expect everyone else to be. Then those around us, including our best friends forget. I feel your frustration! Hope you're feeling better!

  • JoeBlow

    Jay: I am the older of us, I should be the one that forgets, but I always make little reminders and such so that I don't.Mike: Yeah, I try hard to stay on top of things. I think it would be hard for us to be teachers if we didn't. Thanks for the well wishes, I am finally feeling much better.

  • Bobby

    Dang…this is the last thing you needed after your surgery and your grandmother's dressing. ;-)I've been there and I know your situation all too well. I have a friend who just talks about herself and her problems and when I want to rant, she never has time…she always "has to go".Hold your head high knowing that you're the better person…it's what I do. ;-)Also, I have an iPhone and I'm always dropping calls. It's definitely AT&T.

  • JoeBlow

    LOL, Bobby. With the number of comments I have gotten on this post (thanks guys), I think we have all been there. You actually sort of know this friend of mine, or at least have seen a picture of her (if you know what I am talking about). She can be such a great friend at times, but then again sometimes our moods just do not fit together. This afternoon was one of those times. Grant it she was worried about her sister and the wreck her sister had been in and I was just very tired and a little grumpy at the time (the nap helped, LOL).

  • Anonymous

    We all need a good venting session sometimes, but this girl sounds out of control.Maybe in the spirit of the holidays you should do a post on why she is in your life and what makes her such a good friend.Cheers,Nate

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jay Take care after an operation. Simply don't talk to her for awhile.At 19 I was at U.C.L.A. @21 I graduated cum laud. @22 I increased my majors to include philosophy and psychology.@24 I graduated Ph.D. @25 I got a job teaching High School in a horrible thing called "Social Studies" which was at least 20 years out of date. I left the high school and began teaching at U.C.L.A. (It took only one year of politics to get a job in the psychology dept.)I immediately got caught up in the publish or perish trap, so I left and began giving psychological tests (MMPI, ET.) I tangled with the ASA and sent 300 scored MMPI tests to Univ. of Minn. proving conclusively that there was no significant difference between "normal guys" and gay guys, using the standards of the APA (American Psychological Assoc.)This erupted in a furious fight within the association and the Univ of Minn. and me. I won, but with stigma. So I went back to High School teaching to live, introducing psychology into the program for seniors. This resulted in a flury of protests from the parents who thought I was polluting the kids since I was gay, and known gay. Life wore on and I got very tired. Then a miracle. A man to whom I had always been kind but who had not a single friend died in Florida and left me his fortune! This included a beautiful house, cash, bonds, antique furniture everything. I often think now how all that labor and fighting and competing had landed me in a High School that hated me. Yet with one signature on his Will he gave me everything. For the last few years I live as I wish, owe no body a thing, travel anywhere with my lover of 40 years and have satisfaction that I have indeed contributed greatly to the gay cause by putting the APA down on its arse where it belongs. – Badboy.

  • JoeBlow

    Nate, I will definitely do a post about why she is such a good friend. There are many reasons and they far outweigh the bad.Badboy, wow, what a life! I have faith that all will eventually work out for me, probably not a great inheritance in my future, but you never know.

  • Uncutplus

    Joe, now you and I both know why you are biased in favor of Verizon and against AT&T. But let me say that I have a lowly Palm Centro, not an Apple iPhone, and I get great service from AT&T with NO dropped calls. I guess it depends on what regions of the country you live in.All that said, you must remember how to make "bad" technology work for you! When the conversation gets too long, or the conversation is going nowhere, just say, "For some reason, this connection is going to hell and you are breaking up . . ." and then hang up. Problem solved. The reason I don't have a landline is so that this same individual can't call me back that way, and so that I don't have to listen to harrassing calls.Now, of course, I expect OUR calls to go through just perfectly with no break-ups from now on!Oh, and perhaps we can get to know Badboy a little better, so that he will write us into HIS will.

  • JoeBlow

    Uncutplus, yeah, I know that I am biased against AT&T, but with this post, i just needed a good bitch and gripe session, LOL. I would never used the "bad technology" excuse with you, but I will have to keep it in mind for the future with some other people, LOL.And wouldn't it be nice if badboy did write us into his will. I certainly wouldn't be dealing with screaming kids all day.

Thank you for commenting. I always want to know what you have to say. However, I have a few rules: 1. Always be kind and considerate to others. 2. Do not degrade other people's way of thinking. 3. I have the right to refuse or remove any comment I deem inappropriate. 4. If you comment on a post that was published over 14 days ago, it will not post immediately. Those comments are set for moderation. If it doesn't break the above rules, it will post.

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