Thursday, March 1, 2012

The right to funk...

No, there wasn't a typo there.  I wrote FUNK.  Get your mind out of the gutter..

In a successful relationship - whether partnership or simply even friends - I think some of the success depends upon your ability to rely upon each other.  There needs to be a balance there, or one party will ultimately decide that the relationship is not worthwhile.

In an ideal world, we're not keeping a score card. I remember a friend of mine used to talk literally about deposits in the friendship bank.  Frankly, that kind of scorekeeping isn't something I like. 

But I admit that there has to be a balance.  And when I was going through a hard time and ending (or not ending for awhile there) my long-term relationship, I made a lot of withdrawals from some friends, and for some, I over-extended my credit and lost their friendship. 

True friends don't keep a deposit or withdrawal record.  But we all, nonetheless, seek a balance.  When it is off-balance, it becomes unhealthy. 

In dissecting the demise of my long-term relationship, I can say that being off balance in that regards was certainly one stumbling block.  Whether it was true or not, I felt like the one who always had to be strong, who always had to be mature.  I felt that I didn't have a partner I could rely on when I needed it.  That my partner was dealing with so much hard stuff that she needed me, and eventually I felt like I wasn't allowed to need her.  Except I did.  After a long period of imbalance, the relationship not-so-surprisingly imploded. 

In relationships, there has to be a give and take.  Well, for them to be successful or healthy or of value..

I'd like to think that we don't just drop someone because they are having a period where they are feeling too needy.  If so, I am surprised I have any friends left.  I like to think I've built up good karma or a healthy balance if we do indeed have a mystical friendship credit union. 

I do think, too, that one other potential element of success is that when one person is having a crisis or meltdown, the other one has to be strong.  If they both break down...?  I guess the chaos that might ensue scares the hell out of me.  I don't know what would happen. I've just always managed myself relatively well enough to be strong when my partner or my friend needed me to. 

And perhaps what was part of the demise of my long-term relationship was that I could no longer be strong enough.  I dunno..

In the last day or so - okay so most of the week, I've been greedy - I've been in a bit of a funk.  A good friend of mine is my daily, hourly sounding board.  We send messages back and forth all day about a variety of topics.  Last night I hit a low place that wasn't particularly fun, and this morning, I woke up a little better, but still with this cloud of funk overhead. 

So she writes me about her woes this morning.  And me, supportive friend that I am, I cut her off immediately.  Quit it, I told her, I'm having the funk, so you have to have it together. 

She politely demurred.  She is a good friend.  I am really lucky to have her as my friend. 

And then later in our morning exchange, she slightly begins to broach the topic again. From another angle this time.  Perhaps hoping I won't notice.. but I do.  And I realize, now, that I have emerged from the worst of it.  It is time for me to be strong.  So I relinquish to her the right to funk. 

Because it's all about balance.


  1. I totally agree we have a right to funk. I call it pity parties - we all have them and I think in fact we all need them now and again. As long as it doesn't become our constant state of being then the down times are working as they should. I think. Lol

    1. Every once in awhile, you can hear me say, "Pity party of one? Your table is ready." Usually the table is serenaded by the smallest violin playing.

  2. I hear you. My cousin and I are very close and then she found out that her bf cheated on her. My husband and I spent the weekened with her, cleaning her house, taking care of her son. We offered to let her move in with us if she needed a place to stay and I offered to babysit so she could get a job now that she would have to support herself.

    She decided not to leave her bf who makes twice as much as my husband by the way. Was dropping her kid off every week a few times a week so she could go shop her troubles away and then to top it off got a job and was pissed off when I refused to babysit for her. (Her hours by the way were from 2pm to closing - or around midnight)

    I have three kids under the age of four! I told her no and she was pissed off because I said I would watch her son (she neglects to recall my offer stood so long as she NEEDED a job to survive) She doesn't call here very often anymore and needless to say I avoid her calls as much as possible.

    I think you can overdraw at the friendship bank! She sure did and she's family!

    1. I'm sorry to hear you had that experience. It is tough when someone takes advantage of our generosity when we offered it sincerely to help them through a rough time.

      It is a tough balancing act to have compassion for someone in a difficult situation and yet retain appropriate boundaries in our relationships with them. It sounds like your cousin may still be in a rough spot and she's making the decisions for herself that seem easiest in the short-term, even if they may not be the best choices for her in the long-term.

      I don't know how recent this experience is, and it sounds like you are already burned out from the situation. However, it does sound like she is taking a good step to get a job perhaps to establish her own independence from her well-to-do boyfriend. If you can find a way that doesn't overly burden you, try and encourage her in this step. This doesn't mean you take on day care (er, night care) for her, but, at least acknowledge that it's a step forward that she's working rather than simply trying to process what is happening in her relationship through expensive shopping therapy.

      Big hugs!