Dirty White Lies

16 Aug

Lies and the subtleties of capitalization

I lie to my friends a lot.

My capital-F-Friends, they know the truth, but there are precious few capital-F-Friends in this world. That takes a special kind of person, to look at the dark side of your personality and still want to be with you – and that you look at the dark side of theirs and feel the same.

On the other hand, friends are pretty common. Folks who are well past the “acquaintance” stage, but never quite reach that inner sanctum. Friends of circumstance, friends of convenience, even friends who just aren’t quite bad enough to kick to the curb, you know what I mean?

“Oh, you work here too and have lunch at the same time as me? Also, you don’t speak like a mouth-breather spouting racist hate? Rock on, pull up an uncomfortable plastic chair and let’s waste a half hour together.”

That kind of friend, I lie to a lot.

Not LIE lie. I don’t tell them I’m actually an international super-spy or that the lady in the mail room has been shredding their mail or anything. I just don’t speak up and tell the truth like I would with a capital-F-Friend.

Religion and Politics are two biggies where I clam up big time. It’s a losing battle, and one I don’t want to fight. As long as no one is actively getting hurt by the conversation, I’ll steer it away from the danger zones and pretend an abnormal fascination with the text on the back of the ketchup bottle.

Two Faces

Sometimes, this two-facedness bothers me, and sometimes I really don’t care. I think it only bothers me when the friend seems to value our relationship more than I do. When things take a turn and all the sudden I’m invited for dinner, and this feeling of horror washes over me. Now, it’s too late. Now, I can’t go back and say, “You remember all the times you said that thing about that guy? Well, I wasn’t THAT hungry that day, I was just trying to keep my mouth busy so I didn’t tell you how big of an idiot I thought you sounded.”

Years can go by and all the sudden they’ll say something, and it’s like being snapped out of a half-doze. The urge to reveal myself like some kind of Scooby Doo villain will wash over me. I’ll be tired of it — bone-crushingly exhausted by the wash of idle conversation that I for so long encouraged in this lowercase-f-friend.

Funny, I don’t FEEL like a heathern (where I’m from, that’s how you spell it)

For example, I read tarot cards.

I don’t go around with a booth, wrap myself in sparkling silk scarves, and wave my hands in front of a crystal ball pretending to be possessed by the spirit of Bathsheba or anything. I just have a tarot deck and periodically I’ll do readings from it. I enjoy it. I’m drawn to it. I don’t know that I’d say I’m any GOOD at it, but it’s this thing. I have a somewhat uncomfortable relationship with the cards that I’m still sorting out, but I’m no longer fighting the fact that “I Read Tarot Cards” is a part of who I am.

Every once in a while, a friend will say something that gives me the impression they would stop talking to me if they knew.

I don’t blame them for not knowing. I don’t carry my cards with me and I don’t have a “I ❤ Tarot” pin on my lapel or anything – no more than I advertise that I’m a writer or a programmer or that I have a cat. (Okay, the cat hair’s a dead giveaway on that last one, but you know what I mean.)

Or they’ll catch sight of my tattoo and pause slightly before smiling. (Heaven help them when I get my new tattoos, those things are like potato chips and I finally found an artist I trust)

Maybe I’m being too sensitive. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. (Ha! Tarot humor! I crack me up!)

And then again, maybe I’m not.

This Is Not The Advice I’m Looking For

The thing is, I wonder how many of you are sitting at your keyboards, ITCHING to advise me to just TELL them already. If it scares them away, then they weren’t worth keeping anyway. Am I right?

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

My Actions Brought Me Here

The thing is … I don’t want to start battles when there’s nothing to win. This isn’t them judging me. This is also me judging them. If they were capital-F-Friends, they’d already know. My friends and I talk about the weather and shopping. My captial-F-Friends and I talk about the morality of veganism and how damn good a burger tastes. We talk about religion and politics and science and passions and dreams.

I am the one who has drawn this line in the sand. I am the one who has said, “Yea, all who stand on this side of the line shall henceforthe be capitalized Friends.”

I am the one who hasn’t given these friends the ability to file for an upgrade in our friendship. (Sometimes I do, and hoooooo boy, is that a mistake sometimes. Backtracking from there is MUCH harder.)

It all works … until something shifts, and the easy balance we’d achieved with friendship levels is upset by them doing something that tells me they want to cross that line.

I’m left sitting there, forkful of salad halfway to my mouth, wondering just exactly how I’m going to handle the mess I’ve caused for myself and thinking longingly about going back to hiding in dark corners and avoiding eye contact, the safe “Do Not Disturb” sign of a book between me and the rest of the world.

I’m not social by nature . I’m an introvert. Un-clamming to the point where I make lowercase-friends instead of just clutching my captial-Friends close has taken practice. Effort. STRESS.

People DO cross that line. Sometimes they waver on the line for a while, not sure which side they want to be on, but I do make Friends.

It’s the folks I already know I don’t want anywhere near my soul that are causing me heartburn.

I just realized, I sound a lot like a guy trying to figure out how to break up with a girl he’s not very interested in, even though there’s nothing BIG WRONG with the relationship. *facedesk*

Can’t we just be “friends”?

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8 Responses to “Dirty White Lies”

  1. Steve Hall August 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    I’d rather be a Friend. 🙂 (But I still will steer clear of Politics & Religion.)

    • Tami August 17, 2011 at 7:40 am #

      Ha! We’ve already played the politics and religion dance during our walk. ❤

  2. twww August 17, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    It could almost have been me writing this (except no one minds the tattoo(s) and I haven’t developed a relationship with my tarot cards yet) which is kinda freaky.

    • Tami August 17, 2011 at 9:42 am #

      *fistbump for twww*

      Also, I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one having relationship issues with a deck of cards. It sounds silly to say it like that, but it’s true. There’s an awful lot of emotions tangled up in there.

      • Anna August 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

        I ALSO read tarot cards, and have a pretty established relationship with two decks (and am perusing a third). I ALSO don’t tell people that, mostly because they are all like “so you tell the future, hurr hurr hurr, tell me what I”m going to eat for dinner!” or are like “so you’re a dirty tree hugging pagan?” or are like “so do you actually believe in all that mumbojumbo nonsense?”

        So I just don’t tell them. Easier that way. Easier that way about a LOT of things, mental health, politics, religion. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you’re selective about what you’ll talk about with whom. I know I am, and I’ve come to realize that if I feel comfortable talking to someone about something, I’ll talk to them, and if not, I won’t bother.

      • Tami August 18, 2011 at 7:22 am #

        @Anna

        *giggles* I can HEAR the “hurr hurr” already and it makes me flail.

        Whose turn is it on the letters, I can’t remember. We should talk tarot, though!

  3. Fallah August 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    I have the same dilemma. I hate confrontations so I’ve learned to just steer clear of touchy subjects depending on the friend. Two of my friends at work I eventually grew to trust with gripes about my marriage and my parents, private health issues etc. But politics was totally off the table, by apparently mutual non-spoken understanding. Both of them are more conservative than I am. I think we all realized that we weren’t going to sway the other party.

    At the same time I’ve always found writing and journaling about difficult subjects to be easier than talking face-to-face. So it is quite possible that my inner circle of online Friends knows some things about me that even my husband doesn’t know or that my closest girlfriend doesn’t know.

    It’s exhausting sometimes but I’ve always been this way. It’s like Google+ circles. My family is one, my extended family is a different one, longtime friends, work friends…I have lots of circles! And only a few of them get pure, unfiltered Me.

    • Tami August 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      The only person who gets unfiltered ME is my husband, but we’ve been through a LOT together. Everyone else gets some kind of filtering. Heck, I filter from MYSELF more often than I’d like.

      The circles analogy is a good one – actually the best one I’ve heard so far. Man, it can get exhausting to keep up the filtering, though. You’re right about online friends being an odd mix of knowing a lot and not knowing anything. =]

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