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Respect and Friendship. [Dec. 4th, 2010|03:13 pm]
[emotional state |contemplativecontemplative]
[song on the wind |Miss You Till I Meet You - Dar Williams]

I was talking with a friend of mine in ATITD earlier today about crushes and Romantic Relationships and the foundations of such. The whole conversation twisted and turned, as such conversations do, and lead to a discussion about respect in friendships. He said something about not necessarily always respecting all of his friends, which lead me to the following...

"Well yes, there are people who I call my friends, that I spend time with and care about that are also dumb-asses. Those are NOT the people who I confide in and bare my soul to and ask advice from and consider my close friends. Who's decisions and motivations in life I consistently agree with and respect. Not to say I always agree with everything they do, but when they do something cringe-worthy I think of it as them doing something dumb-ass, vs BEING a dumb-ass, and it emotionally affects me more. It's that latter type of friendship that I believe needs to be part of a romantic relationship for it to succeed long-term. If you don't respect your partner in that way, how on Earth can you expect anything to last?"

Gumby and I have that. Gumby and I had that before we ever MET, which is part of why we WORK. I'm quite blessed that I've had that in my last few substantial relationships, and I have a number of close friends whom I really respect. The more I think about it the more I realize that Darxus and I never had that, and were never going to develop that. What in my addled 21 year old brain made me think that it was ever going to work?

Saying the above "out loud" has helped me realize why some friendships I have had over the years have worked out, or failed, in the ways that they have. Do I have to agree with everything that my friends do or say? No. But if you don't like or approve of many or most of the decisions your friends make, what is there really to be friends with?


[User Picture]From: minkrose
2010-12-05 02:31 am (UTC)
But if you don't like or approve of many or most of the decisions your friends make, what is there really to be friends with?

That's pretty much the reasoning I have for getting away from people when I do. There's not a lot I can say without going into specific examples, but I definitely have some behavior triggers that make me feel like I need to get away from a person displaying them.

I will note that whenever Andy and I disagree it just seems like a disagreement - it never seems to come close to structural relationship damage. I never feel worried or scared that either of us could say something that would permanently damage what we have together. It's not that we don't take those things seriously, it's just that nothing touches our respect for each other. That comes first. I've read that contempt is one of the emotions that can cause a break-up.

:hugs: Yay for respect between partners!
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[User Picture]From: cos
2010-12-05 05:06 am (UTC)
Respect is in some sense a policy. If you respect someone, I think that means that when you find yourself in disagreement with their decision or something they say, you mentally step back, stop and think, listen more carefully - assume there's something they see or think, or something to where they're coming from, that you just aren't aware of or haven't considered yet. You hear them, and try to figure it out. Whereas if you saw the same behavior, or heard the same thing, from someone you haven't yet decided or learned to really respect, you might use that very same thing to form your opinion of them, by disapproving of it. Without real respect, the stabler piece is your own views, and how the other person appears in light of those views affects what you think of them; with real respect, the balance shifts in the other direction, with your view of them being the more stable piece, which means that a mismatch between your views and theirs is an opportunity to re-evaluate yours.

P.S. I was just thinking about this a lot a few days ago, after one of my best friends told me that a lot of times when she discusses things with other people they make her feel stupid. So she and I talk about a wider range of topics than she does with many other people, because I don't make her feel stupid. And I think - having observed some of these interactions - that too many other people don't respect her as much as she deserves, even if they really like her or even love her.

Edited at 2010-12-05 05:08 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: crazybone
2010-12-05 05:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I'm in agreement here. In a similar vein is the issue of issues. Everybody has issues, the questions is what does an individual do about it?
I have more respect for someone who owns and works on their individual issue, even outside of a relationship, than someone who doesn't. The former I could be in a romantic relationship with, the latter not so much.
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[User Picture]From: drwex
2010-12-06 10:09 pm (UTC)

I think part of the problem is we lack words

In the UK people are not just friends they're also "mates" and your "mate" is someone you might go to a pub with to share a drink, or go to a football match with, but you wouldn't invite over for dinner and probably don't do much more than swap cards at Xmas.

"Chum" is someone you probably went to school with and see at reunions, and maybe you invite them over for holiday parties and such-like, particularly if it's a good chance to introduce your families to each other, etc.

In French there are "copains" that are different from "amis". Unfortunately both of those words tend to get rendered as 'friend' in English, which wholly loses the distinction.

All of which is to say that I have friends whose political opinions, choices in purchasing, partnering habits (you put your dick in THAT?) and such-like I don't necessarily agree with. But all I have to label them with, in English, is 'friend.' They're not the same class of friend as some other people, but again, one word tries to fit all. And like a lot of one-size things, fails miserably.
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