ever since i left a particular online graphics group i have noticed a division
between those of us who left and those who remained. same for another group that
suffered a massive split. those that left seem to have made an effort to distance
themselves from those who stayed. i don't make this statement lightly or quickly.
in common message boards and on my blog i have posted messages to members of the
first group and not received one response. i have yet to be removed from their
links, but the silence is loud. for the second group, i have many many who i thought
were friends on my icq. since they decided to split (sometime late may early june
by the domain registration), i see none of them online and they never speak to
me. and a lot of them, in both groups, i thought were friends.
i have never made friendships according to what group a person is a part of, and
never maintained friendships that way either. in one of the groups i have remained
in, i have had many friends leave who seem astonished that i would continue to
even speak to them after they departed. friendships are not based on group affiliation.
you may disagree with a friend's reason for leaving, or even with other things
about your friend's personality or lifestyle, but that does not end the friendship.
at least not for me.
i have one friend who is blind to her best friend's faults. this is fine if she
REALLY wants to be that way. when i pointed out that i was having trouble digesting
how her friend was handling something, and she just laid into me. i can understand
defending a friend, but we cannot be blind to our friends faults.
the point is that when we make friendships, our friends will think and say and
do things we don't agree with. no two people are 100% alike. a healthy relationship
has both friends aware of the other person's differences and agree to disagree.
healthy friendships are not based on total agreement or same group affiliation.
they are based on respect and liking each other despite the differences in lifestyle
and opinion that are inevitable. a growing relationship discusses these differences,
but without pressuring the other to change. sometimes friendship is confronting
a friend about something that is unarguably wrong or could get the other friend
in serious trouble. but friends will also know when to back off and to agree to
disagree, and to do it in such a way that the friendship itself is preserved.
when i left the one group, i did not attack anyone specific. i have since refrained
from mentioning the group by name. there are people who are still members, and
are even in the leadership, that i respect and admire and thought were friends.
and while i discuss my feelings here and in me
at midnight, i most certainly would not drag the group in the mud by mentioning
their name. i disagreed with a decision made by the leadership, the reasons of
which were kept from the presumably adult membership. but i did not ever once
say that i would no longer be friends with those who are still in leadership or
i hate losing friends, whether they decide to leave the friendship or just drift
away over time. for one i am a very social person. i love social interaction.
but even more than that, i feel that each person enriches my life in a particular
special way unique only to that one person. no two people make me think, learn,
or grow quite the same. no two people share the same experiences with me. no two
people reveal new ideas to me the same way. i am insatiably curious. i like to
learn new perspectives and to see new things. i can only hope to touch other lives
in such a way that they do mine.
to all the people who decided over the issues that affected these two groups that
we could no longer be friends, i will miss you. and should you decide we can be
friends again, i'll be here.