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Old 12-21-2012, 03:51 AM
 
Location: Striving for Avalon
1,400 posts, read 2,000,182 times
Reputation: 3231

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I think that the average American is far too utilitarian to offer the kind of friendship all of you who have posted seem to yearn for. There's a number of factors which contribute to this, but I think most of you can guess at them. Besides, I am too tired to list my thoughts.

I will say this though, because I think it's important.

Aristotle posited that three kinds of friendships exist: 1) utility; 2) pleasure; 3) virtue.

Utility friendship is the shallowest, as it's based off of mutual need and gain, often ending when that gain ends or becomes lopsided.

Pleasure friendships are the most common. The company of those friends makes us feel good in some way or another. These are where people have problems. While there is recognition of positive character traits and delight in activities of mutual satisfaction, we can overestimate the depth and strength of these friendships, which can fail us in our hour of need. When the pleasure ends, so does the friendship. It makes sense. For those of us who've experienced loss and are in mourning, we're among the least fun to be around (especially this time of year). Compile that with our national religion of positive thinking, and it spells disaster.

Friends of virtue are the rarest and most beautiful. Adversity such as a death is not a tribulation, but a moment in which the friendship will deepen. They are so difficult...even striving for that model of being a perfect friend (respect and admiration for a friend) will not guarantee its return from another. It's burning me out, and I'm tired (tired-in-the-soul, not "I need sleep" tired.).
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:28 AM
 
Location: SWFL
21,431 posts, read 18,139,040 times
Reputation: 18811
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amelorn View Post
I think that the average American is far too utilitarian to offer the kind of friendship all of you who have posted seem to yearn for. There's a number of factors which contribute to this, but I think most of you can guess at them. Besides, I am too tired to list my thoughts.

I will say this though, because I think it's important.

Aristotle posited that three kinds of friendships exist: 1) utility; 2) pleasure; 3) virtue.

Utility friendship is the shallowest, as it's based off of mutual need and gain, often ending when that gain ends or becomes lopsided.

Pleasure friendships are the most common. The company of those friends makes us feel good in some way or another. These are where people have problems. While there is recognition of positive character traits and delight in activities of mutual satisfaction, we can overestimate the depth and strength of these friendships, which can fail us in our hour of need. When the pleasure ends, so does the friendship. It makes sense. For those of us who've experienced loss and are in mourning, we're among the least fun to be around (especially this time of year). Compile that with our national religion of positive thinking, and it spells disaster.

Friends of virtue are the rarest and most beautiful. Adversity such as a death is not a tribulation, but a moment in which the friendship will deepen. They are so difficult...even striving for that model of being a perfect friend (respect and admiration for a friend) will not guarantee its return from another. It's burning me out, and I'm tired (tired-in-the-soul, not "I need sleep" tired.).
I hear you about being "tired in the soul", Amelorn. I also understand about the different friends. It's just so sad that almost not a soul can be counted on in time of berevement, even family sometimes. It's pretty tough when people need to turn to a computer and cyberspace to be able to share their feelings BUT it's a God-send that we(I) are able to.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:11 PM
 
1,050 posts, read 2,865,811 times
Reputation: 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amelorn View Post
I think that the average American is far too utilitarian to offer the kind of friendship all of you who have posted seem to yearn for. There's a number of factors which contribute to this, but I think most of you can guess at them. Besides, I am too tired to list my thoughts.

I will say this though, because I think it's important.

Aristotle posited that three kinds of friendships exist: 1) utility; 2) pleasure; 3) virtue.

Utility friendship is the shallowest, as it's based off of mutual need and gain, often ending when that gain ends or becomes lopsided.

Pleasure friendships are the most common. The company of those friends makes us feel good in some way or another. These are where people have problems. While there is recognition of positive character traits and delight in activities of mutual satisfaction, we can overestimate the depth and strength of these friendships, which can fail us in our hour of need. When the pleasure ends, so does the friendship. It makes sense. For those of us who've experienced loss and are in mourning, we're among the least fun to be around (especially this time of year). Compile that with our national religion of positive thinking, and it spells disaster.

Friends of virtue are the rarest and most beautiful. Adversity such as a death is not a tribulation, but a moment in which the friendship will deepen. They are so difficult...even striving for that model of being a perfect friend (respect and admiration for a friend) will not guarantee its return from another. It's burning me out, and I'm tired (tired-in-the-soul, not "I need sleep" tired.).

I am trying to now determine what type of friend I am......I guess I could be a little of each. It would depend on the person whom I am the friend to. There are those you go to for advice, those for enjoyment. those who will offer the shoulder to cry on. Then those you like to gossip with, shop with.......the people I want to be around are those that make me laugh.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Olympia, WA
363 posts, read 405,024 times
Reputation: 699
Well, just as I expected, today at work everyone said, in a real chipper voice, "Hey, how was your Christmas?" I just looked at them and wanted to say, "How do you think it went? My husband is gone and this is the first Christmas without him!" I know they weren't even thinking that I was all alone now.

So my response to all of them was, "I made it through it." or "I survived." That shut 'em up real quick. They didn't want to hear any details, ask me how I was feeling, nothing. I thought it was pretty insensitive, and this is people I work with every day.

I know I have become very sensitive since I lost Jim. People really rub me the wrong way, whether they mean to or not. I wonder how long that will last on my part. I didn't used to be that way.

Sorry, just needed to vent and get that off my chest. Thanks for listening.

tngirl
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:35 PM
 
1,050 posts, read 2,865,811 times
Reputation: 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by tngirl205 View Post
Well, just as I expected, today at work everyone said, in a real chipper voice, "Hey, how was your Christmas?" I just looked at them and wanted to say, "How do you think it went? My husband is gone and this is the first Christmas without him!" I know they weren't even thinking that I was all alone now.

So my response to all of them was, "I made it through it." or "I survived." That shut 'em up real quick. They didn't want to hear any details, ask me how I was feeling, nothing. I thought it was pretty insensitive, and this is people I work with every day.

I know I have become very sensitive since I lost Jim. People really rub me the wrong way, whether they mean to or not. I wonder how long that will last on my part. I didn't used to be that way.

Sorry, just needed to vent and get that off my chest. Thanks for listening.

tngirl

I would have given you a hug.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:00 AM
 
Location: SWFL
21,431 posts, read 18,139,040 times
Reputation: 18811
Quote:
Originally Posted by tngirl205 View Post
Well, just as I expected, today at work everyone said, in a real chipper voice, "Hey, how was your Christmas?" I just looked at them and wanted to say, "How do you think it went? My husband is gone and this is the first Christmas without him!" I know they weren't even thinking that I was all alone now.

So my response to all of them was, "I made it through it." or "I survived." That shut 'em up real quick. They didn't want to hear any details, ask me how I was feeling, nothing. I thought it was pretty insensitive, and this is people I work with every day.

I know I have become very sensitive since I lost Jim. People really rub me the wrong way, whether they mean to or not. I wonder how long that will last on my part. I didn't used to be that way.

Sorry, just needed to vent and get that off my chest. Thanks for listening.

tngirl
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jude1948 View Post
I would have given you a hug.
Me too, tn. ^^^^^^

Why DON'T you say what is on your mind? That should shut them up. Do you care if you set their noses out of joint? They are way rude IMO. Stand up for yourself! JMO, hon.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:27 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 15,895,915 times
Reputation: 7531
You know - people just don't think before they barrel off into a convo. Once you said "I survived" then your situation was in their face....and I suspect they didn't say anything else because they were trying to pry their foot out of their mouth. I'm not sure it was insensitive as much as just embarrassment for being so flippant. The art of gracious apology is long lost.

Of course you are sensitive tngirl205. How long it will last is anyone's guess. In the meantime I'm glad you are here and can let some of your grief and pain and anger and irritation out. I hope it is a safe place for you.

All that being said I think it would be perfectly acceptable to look someone straight in the eye and say "It was hard - it was really hard". Maybe we all need a little check every now and then to remember that others in the world are in a much different place than we are.

My best friend lost her mother a couple of months before Christmas several years ago...in an effort not to dwell on it (yes foolish I know) I totally avoided the topic thinking it might ruin the holidays. About two months later she just broke down and sobbed that her mother wasn't here to give her the Dearfoam house slippers...it was their tradition. Such a small thing but it was what just ruined the holiday for my friend....and then she said "and you didn't even acknowledge Mom". Well I felt like a total loser but I sucked it up and apologized profusely - and never forgot or avoided again. Some of our best memories now are made each year as we remember Mom....and every single year of this world my BF gets a pair of Dearfoam slippers for Christmas. Sometimes we all need a reminder that while our lives are percolating along maybe someone else's isn't.

(Please pardon the punctuation errors - my comma key is on strike).
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Canada
3,673 posts, read 2,481,389 times
Reputation: 4733
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamiznluv View Post
Me too, tn. ^^^^^^

Why DON'T you say what is on your mind? That should shut them up. Do you care if you set their noses out of joint?
She doesn't want to shut them up. She wants the people at work to ask her how she feels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tngirl205 View Post
They didn't want to hear any details, ask me how I was feeling, nothing.
We're not all the same. When I'm emotionally fragile, I don't want anyone to probe. I'd fall apart and that's not something I'd want in a work setting when I was trying to hold it together. Prior to reading this thread, I would have assumed others in a similar situation would feel the same way. So in a work situation, I would have treated grieving work acquaintances (not friends!) the way I'd want to be treated.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:04 AM
 
Location: SWFL
21,431 posts, read 18,139,040 times
Reputation: 18811
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnirene View Post
She doesn't want to shut them up. She wants the people at work to ask her how she feels.

We're not all the same. When I'm emotionally fragile, I don't want anyone to probe. I'd fall apart and that's not something I'd want in a work setting when I was trying to hold it together. Prior to reading this thread, I would have assumed others in a similar situation would feel the same way. So in a work situation, I would have treated grieving work acquaintances (not friends!) the way I'd want to be treated.
Oh, contraire, cdnirene, she DOES want to shut them up. At least temporarily.

That's right, we ARE all different. Why would you assume then that all people would feel like you? Also, why would you assume that you know what our friend wants when you just came in here? Why did you come in here? Are you grieving your spouse? Or a close loved one?

Pardon me for being so snippy but I just don't appreciate a stranger coming in and telling me what my friend does or does not want.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Canada
3,673 posts, read 2,481,389 times
Reputation: 4733
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamiznluv View Post
Oh, contraire, cdnirene, she DOES want to shut them up. At least temporarily.

That's right, we ARE all different. Why would you assume then that all people would feel like you? Also, why would you assume that you know what our friend wants when you just came in here? Why did you come in here? Are you grieving your spouse? Or a close loved one?

Pardon me for being so snippy but I just don't appreciate a stranger coming in and telling me what my friend does or does not want.
I don't assume that all people feel like me. On the the contrary, I indicated that this thread had educated me that they in fact do not, hence my words "prior to this thread".

I was simply trying to explain that perhaps some of the co-workers aren't as cold-harded as the poster thought. They might have assumed that a grieving co-worker wouldn't want to be asked about her feelings, particularly in detail.

I remember in my 20s going into my manager's office to tell him that I needed time off to fly home because I had received a phone call a couple of minutes before telling me my father was dead. I was so glad he didn't probe and ask me personal questions as I could barely hold it together.
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