Double Standard

You know what sucks about personal growth? The only way to have it is if you’re open to dealing with your own flaws.

I mean, you get to be a better, more mature person and all. But only after you walk through the fire of your own fucked-up-ness.

(I know that’s not a word. Hush.)

Take this for example. Lately, I’ve come to realize just how imbalanced I am in relationships. I tend to give a lot more than I get. It wears on me.

I have a simple philosophy when it comes to caring about people. Words don’t mean much. Actions are where it’s at. I can tell you I’m your friend, but until I live it out, who really knows?

So here’s how it goes for me. I develop friendship with someone. I say I care. They say they care. We both feel all warm and fuzzy.

Then something goes shitty for them, and I put my money where my mouth is. I step up. I call or text. Ask how they’re doing. Offer to help if I can, or listen if I can’t. Basically, I make it a point to live out the sentiment.

Then, later, things go shitty for me. And it’s a coin toss. Maybe the other person is there. Maybe they’re not. Sometimes someone will be there once or twice, and then fucking disappear. (That’s happening right now with two people I sincerely thought cared about me.)

I’ve been told my expectations are too high. That most people are selfish. They’ll let you down. I’ve even been told I’m weird. I take friendship very seriously. I don’t say I’m your friend if I’m not. If I say it, you can bank on it.

Maybe I am weird. Maybe most people are just fluff and nice, empty words.

It’s shitty, though. Caring. Investing. Believing someone else cares about you, and then leaning into that trust only to find out there’s very little actually there.

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to learn from this particular life lesson, though. I honestly don’t want to turn all cynical. I like that I trust people, even though I feel like I get burned a lot.

At the same time, I’m kinda tired of getting burned.

I wish I could be like Teflon. That the pain of abandonment would roll off me without leaving behind a crispy mess. (How’s that for a kick-ass metaphor?)

But that’s not possible. You want love in your life? You gotta take some risks.

And I know me. I’ll keep right on caring about people, putting myself out there, and that means sometimes I’ll be let down. Okay, fine. Whatever.

But I think I’m going to change two things.

First, I’m done chasing down the people who aren’t there for me. You don’t wanna really be my friend? Fine. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Second, you don’t get unlimited chances. Everyone screws up. If you’re mostly there for me, the occasional slip-up isn’t going to ruin our friendship. But bail on me repeatedly when I need you the most? Good-fucking-bye.

It’ll still hurt. I know that. But I’m not going to let anyone make a habit out of hurting me.

I’ve done that plenty. It’s not worth it.