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sunday 07.09.2000
the outgroup


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 still members.

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.

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Since July 9, 2000

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