Drifting Away from Friends

 

Before I begin, just a quick update. I am officially done my undergrad now! Woohoo!  I got all my official marks back and everything. I will, at some point, do a more detailed post reflecting on that experience. For today, I wanted to do another off-topic rant post. I apologize if this gets to be on the lengthy side, there are a lot of background information and details, but I will try to summarize as best I can.

Basically, fourth year was somewhat challenging for me. If you don’t believe me, read anything posted from September-December 2015. One thing that added to the struggles were some falling outs with various friends. I guess you could say if this was ever going to happen, my last year was the best year for it, but it was still difficult.

First off, I had a circle of friends outside the music faculty that I’d met from living in residence over the years. As important as it is to be making connections with other musicians, it’s nice to be able to get away from them too. I always made an effort to hang out with them with my weird schedule, but it usually worked out. This year was tough though. At the beginning of the year, it seemed like everyone in the group started dating and most of these developed into relationships as the year went on. I wasn’t seeing anyone as I was way too stressed out to take care of myself, let alone be there for another person. As the year progressed, it seemed as if they all started to have their own lives/schedules with their boyfriends and girlfriends. I’m not saying that I’m mad at them for it, it’s just unfortunate that I was the odd one out. To be fair, I kind of had my own life too with my grad school auditions. In second term we hung out maybe once or twice. Whenever I had some free time I would shoot a message to the group, and I’d always get a response like “Oh not tonight, I’m busy”. Once you get too many messages like that, you just stop asking. I was hoping to hang out with them one more time before I left and so I asked when they were done their finals. They said they would get back to me then. I messaged one of them individually to see what was up and she said “Oh sorry, I’m at my boyfriend’s house for the weekend”. I understand relationships are important and take commitment, but a friendship is also a relationship that requires a certain amount of commitment too. You can’t always be blowing off your friends for your boyfriend or girlfriend, especially in this case as she promised that we could get together before I left. To be fair, we hadn’t set a specific date yet, but still. We could have hung out before she left for her boyfriend’s if she knew she was going.

Okay, that one was easy to summarize. The next friend and my issues with her could seriously be a novel (or two, or three). I’ll type as much as I can here before it gets ridiculous and if it still bothers me, I’ll write more about her in a future entry. This is also why I can’t ever share this blog with anyone who goes to my school (well, former school now) as things could get so awkward.

Basically, I met her at the beginning of last school year (September 2014) and she was a super nice person and we became instant best friends. She was very kind, genuine, and did really nice things for me. She said she was interested to visit me in my home town in May (of 2015) and I asked my parents if she could stay with us and they said sure. Things went pretty well until then, I didn’t really have any major issues, until she came to my house.

She’s one of those people that I should have seen the red flags sooner, but I guess I dismissed them. Sometimes you can be blind to things your friend says/does. Even before she got to my house, it was kind of sketchy. She was planning to visit another friend who lives in a nearby town as well. To tell this story a bit easier, let’s give them fake names. My friend is Jane and her friend is Alice. My friend originally told me that Alice’s mom would drop her off at my place on Sunday for whatever day it was. These were plans we made in April. A couple days before, she texted me and said “Oh, I’m going on a day trip to [insert town here] with Alice’s family so I won’t be able to get a ride to you until Tuesday”. I didn’t make a big deal of it, but I was still kind of upset with the miscommunication and I felt like I was getting the short end of the stick here. Alice was getting a nice long visit and I was being cheated by 2 days.

Tuesday comes and I go to pick Jane up and we start hanging out. The first day was great, we had a lot of fun. No complaints. The second day is where I started to get a bit pissed off. We were putting on a recital at a local church. She had played piano for me in my third year recital, so we thought it would be fun to repeat the program in my hometown and then she could do some solo piano stuff to make it a full length recital. I had taken care of posters and putting them up everywhere, but I hadn’t yet done the program. I wanted her help with it. We’re in my room and I open up my laptop to Publisher (It’s always an idiot proof way of making stuff in terms of formatting). She insists on making it on Microsoft Word and grabs the laptop from me. She had a very opinionated way of doing programs I guess. Every time I made a suggestion, she would dismiss it and make it sound like she knew everything. For example, I like putting birth and death years of composers, but she doesn’t. Then she put bios on the back. I had a bio written that was obviously way too long to put on the back of a program, but I was prepared to cut some stuff out. Let’s just say she beat me to it. She was all like “Sometimes you don’t get to include everything you want to include”. Duh, I wasn’t born yesterday. Long story short, I didn’t like how cocky she was being.

Fast forward to the recital.  There is more to it, but one point I wanted to make is how hung up she was on the fact that I had a recital for free admission the previous year, before I even met her. We did this recital as admission by donation, but she actually wanted to charge people (like $5 for students/seniors, $10 for adults or something). I did that recital for free as it was my very first public recital. I was doing it as preparation for being a performance major. I didn’t want people to be like “Oh, you think you’re good enough to charge money now”. She decided the best time to “lecture” me about this was at intermission at our recital. It’s like, yeah, maybe I should have charged admission but it’s none of your business!

Another thing that bothered me is how she just felt that she was entitled to go wherever she wanted and have me drive her there. I’ll admit to being a bit of a homebody when I go home, I don’t really go out anywhere. I like the feeling of not having to be anywhere after a long school year of running around everywhere. Let me also point out that I don’t own a car so I used my parent’s car to drive places. She doesn’t drive so I don’t think she understands basic vehicle etiquette, especially given that I was using someone else’s car and there were times where my parents wanted to go somewhere but couldn’t because they didn’t know if we’d be back, etc. There was one point where she needed to meet up with Alice to drop off some music or something and say bye for the summer. We met at a coffee shop, it was very brief but I was a bit annoyed. Alice does live out of town, but when Jane was visiting them, they did come up to the city many times and I was around. All it took was a phone call or a text and I could have met them for coffee/lunch somewhere. I get she was visiting Alice, but since she can use her time visiting me to visit Alice, why couldn’t she have visited me? She had about 2 weeks at Alice’s place and 5 days at mine. I call double standards. Maybe you’re thinking she’s closer to Alice than me, but that’s not that case (this is getting rather long so maybe I’ll have to include that in a different entry).

Here’s the thing that took the cake, and I’ll end this entry off on this. On our last day together before she left, we planned to do a little roadtrip to a nearby town just for fun. On our way out, my parents confronted us about use of the car. This was the turning point for me as I actually sided with my parents. I think it was quite unfair how we just went places and drove all over the city. She seems to have this idea that if you have a car (or a friend with a car) you can just go wherever you want. I think my parents just honestly wanted to get to know her better and do more things with her, which is not unreasonable I guess. They wondered if they could come along with us and I said it would be fine. When we were alone Jane just went ballistic. She was all like “I can’t believe you let your parents come on our road trip. I can’t believe it! It’s going to be really awkward then. We’ll just be sitting in the back seat and making awkward small talk with your parents. It’ll be awkward silence We can’t listen to music and sing along. This has never happened when I was staying with friend’s parents before. It’s all because you’re an only child. Your parents are jealous that you have friends and do things and so they want to join in on everything you do. You need to tell them not to come!”

Who. The. F***. Says. That. Like, I do understand where she’s coming from, but you don’t have to lecture me like that. It’s not my fault. I mean, a simple “Hey, I was kind of hoping that the road trip could be just for the two of us, is that okay with your parents?” would have been fine. I don’t need a psychological analysis of my life. Also it bothered me that she could have the nerve to say that while staying at my parent’s house. Excuse me but my parents let you stay there for free and provided a room and food for you. The fact that they let me have a guest was very generous of them as well, especially given that I do not pay rent to live there. You do not get to go into my house and insult my family and be blatantly disrespectful to my parents. Thanks to her, I may never get to have the privilege of hosting another friend at my parent’s house ever again as it was such a negative experience. I probably took most of it, but I get the feeling there were aspects of it that my parents weren’t too pleased about either.

I promise I’ll end it off soon. Basically, the falling out aspect of it is when I got back to school in September. Over the summer, we were both really busy and didn’t really keep in touch that much. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I guess I thought maybe she’d apologize to me in September. I like to see the good in people. I thought wrong. She still brings it up from time to time like “Wasn’t it weird when your parents wanted to come on the road trip”. She really doesn’t realize how much she hurt my feelings and I’ve never really forgiven her for it. It sucks because all school year, I basically held this grudge against her and every little thing she did just bothered me. It was hard this year, I felt like I was being so phony around her and in a way, pretending to be her friend. That’s not like me at all. Normally I never let grudges get to this point. If I have an issue with something a friend said, I tell them in a non-confrontational way or if I sense that I said something that rubbed them the wrong way, I’ll apologize before things get awkward. Not with her. She has such a outgoing, opinionated, and loud personality that I feel intimidated a little bit. There are times where I’ve tried to call her out on something small and she’ll get very defensive and go into her “lecture mode”. I don’t know how I would have brought up bigger issues like the ones mentioned above (and others that I might tell on a later date). Sometimes getting these grudges out in the open can strengthen the friendship, other times it’s the end. I wasn’t necessarily scared about her reaction, I guess I just didn’t want to make a big deal because I was moving away anyway.

Relationships

If you’ve read other posts on this blog, this post will be quite out of character from what I usually post. But it is something that is on my mind and arguably relevant to music.

Just a quick update from my last post, things have been going really well this year. I’m back in the groove. I think the problem was that I did way too much over the summer, more specifically music programs and other music things. I felt like I didn’t really get a break and before I knew it, it was right back into school. I guess it was important that I took that time in September before things got too hectic to relax. The first two weeks of October have been way more productive than my whole September.

Now, on to the actual post. On Facebook and Instagram, I’m constantly seeing pictures and posts of people and their boyfriends/girlfriends, fiances, and spouses. As I progress into my twenties, more and more of these people are my age (and possibly a few years younger!). I remember being annoyed and felt a bit left out by naive high school relationship posts, but looking back I’m glad I was never in a relationship like that in high school. Now, at age 21, it’s a bit different. I feel no pressure to get married any time soon, but seeing so many of my friends being in relationships makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong. Should I be looking for a relationship? Should I be, at the very least, going on dates?

The easy answer is not to compare yourself to others. I’ve never been one to be desperate for a relationship or go out of my way to make it happen (ie. online dating). I was more open minded to the idea of dating when I was in first and second year. I remember going on a date in first year that kind of scared me away from dating for a bit. He was a nice and sweet guy, but he was rushing into things too fast. After the first date, he was already talking about being in a relationship and I was definitely not ready for that after one date. Despite explaining that, he didn’t seem to understand so I had no choice but to cut off contact with him. I’ve never really been on a date since then but I’m glad I didn’t rush into something that I wasn’t ready for. I never regret not being in a relationship with this guy.

After that first date, I formed my friend group (most of whom I still hang out with). I started to develop feelings for one of my friends in the group. There was already a couple within this group and I know the guy I liked was skeptical of couples within friend groups so I wasn’t sure what he’d think. Of course, being somewhat inexperienced with relationships, I was all grade 7 girl, “What if he doesn’t like me back? How do I tell him I like him?” Eventually, I told myself that I would tell him. I knew he would be skeptical and that I wasn’t the type of person he normally would date, but you don’t know until you ask. The worst thing that can happen is that he’ll say no. Yes, it might be awkward, but we would get over it. That night, we were all having supper in our residence cafeteria and my worst fear happened (but really, it wasn’t the end of the world). He announced to us that he was going on a date. My first reaction was “What?” I didn’t mean it to be rude but it seemed to come out of nowhere. He said back to me “Why do you sound disappointed?” as a joke, but ironically I was a bit disappointed! I never told anyone in the group that I had feelings for him. I never even mentioned it to him. I got over him, even though he didn’t last long with this girl.

The summer after my first year, I had a job. I started to develop feelings for one of my male co-workers. I thought maybe it could work out as we lived in the same city during the school year. There was another girl at work that he actually did like and asked her out but she wasn’t interested in him. But I couldn’t help but wonder if he had feelings for me too, he would sometimes say things to me that someone who was just a friend wouldn’t normally say or do. He said to me one time that I looked more attractive with my glasses on, or something like that. Another time, I had a really stressful day and I just needed to rant to someone. He came with me into the lounge and listened to me and gave me a shoulder to cry on. He stayed there for a few minutes and cuddled me like a boyfriend would and he said “If you ever need to rant or cry about something, just talk to me”, which was really sweet. It was hard to tell as he was one of those touchy-feely type people that stands two inches away from you when you talk to them and he always puts his arm around people. After our job was done, there was about another month until school started. I was going to message him and be like “How are you? How’s the rest of your summer going?” Nothing too forward obviously, but it would be a stepping stone. Of course, I chickened out. He never messaged me either, so either he wasn’t interested in me or was also chicken like me and wasn’t sure if I was interested. This is why I hate relationships! I lost contact with this guy as he was not in the music faculty and our paths seldom crossed. It was unfortunate as he was a really good friend and even if we were never in a relationship, I’d still hang out with him on occasion.

Once second year started I kind of lost interest in the idea of dating and relationships. Second year was a hard year for me in many other ways and dating was the last thing on my mind. Once third year began, I began to be more skeptical of the idea of being in a relationship. Since my time in [the city I live in] is coming to an end, I don’t want to get into a serious relationship that would potentially tie me down or prevent me from having the freedom to move to any city of my choice for grad school. Now of course, we could always break up at the end of fourth year or whatever but I wouldn’t want to be with someone looking for marriage right away. As a fourth year, I pretty much have the same stance.

I still feel like I am doing something wrong or that I should have maybe put myself out there more in terms of dating. I still have this irrational fear that lack of experience in dating (more specifically the actual relationship part of it) may negatively impact me when I actually want to get married. You’d likely not marry the first person you were in a serious relationship with, but what if you were in a relationship for the first time at age 30 or older, where the pressure to get married is more prevalent? In my opinion, I think relationships and even dates are valuable experiences in finding a suitable marriage partner, even the cheesy high school ones. As you date more people, you begin to see what qualities you like and don’t like in a person. You have options to choose from, essentially. By the time you’re ready to be married, you just know that it’s the right person. I know I was always frustrated by those people that are constantly in and out of relationships and going on a bazillion dates each week, but in a way that’s good because they have been with many people and may have a better sense of what they look for in a partner. For someone like myself, my fear is that I will be 30 and still never have had a boyfriend and be faced with the dilemma of marrying the first guy I date or take a risk that I’ll find someone else. I mean, that’s 10 years away, why does that bother me? I could meet someone next year when I move away for grad school and be in a relationship, but maybe not. Who knows.

As if worrying about getting married or being in a relationship wasn’t stressful enough, being a musician adds a whole new level of stress to this. I told you I’d tie this back into music. In case you haven’t noticed, being a musician is not a normal job. I don’t go to an office from 9-5 everyday and have every weekend off with no question. No, I work when people have time off. As an orchestral musician for example, your Friday and Saturday nights are spoken for as that is when symphony concerts are. Obviously, I need to marry someone who respects and understands this. I know that sounds silly but you’d be surprised how many people just can’t wrap their head around a musician’s schedule. The big question is, do you marry someone who isn’t a musician or another musician? I know plenty of people who have done both, and it seems to work for them. I could understand marrying a non-musician for financial reasons, but then as a musician (especially outside a university environment), how do you meet non-musicians, let alone connect with them on that level? Obviously, a fellow musician would completely understand and be easier to connect with. But then, there’s the financial concerns. Being a musician is never a stable job, unless you’re a school music teacher, but even then, budget cuts to arts programs happen all the time. It also adds another level of uncertainty if you have a family to support.

I’m not sure what made me think of this, but I’m glad I put my thoughts into words. I’m also not sure why it seems to be bothering me now. I’m only 21 and I’m certainly glad I’m not married. I guess seeing more and more of my friends getting engaged and being in relationships (including the people you never thought would be in a relationship), almost puts pressure on me in a way. It feels like I’m on the outside looking in. At the same time, the only person who’s putting the pressure on me is myself. No one has ever judged me for not wanting to be in a relationship or not being interested in dating. A lot of people actually think it’s great that I’m so focused on school and don’t have to deal with relationship drama. I don’t know, it’s so complicated, but I already feel 100 times better even just putting my thoughts in words.