Friends Aren’t Always Forever

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Part of reason I wrote my recent post ‘Friendship Can Be Fleeting‘ was because I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the friendships that have dropped by the wayside over the past year or so.  And some of these friendships were ones that I had expected to last the test of time.

Growing up I didn’t have a lot of truly close friends.  Or at least nobody I could really call my ‘best friend’.  It was usually more about groups of friends all hanging out together, with some hanging out together more than others but I wasn’t always included in that.

But since moving to London, I’d met two different guys that I thought would be there until the end.  We’d talk almost daily about all sorts of shit, even if it was just to bitch about something stupid at work.  And it’s been the relatively recent loss of each of them that has been playing on my mind a bit.

Obviously when I say ‘loss’, I don’t mean that I misplaced them or they’ve passed away or something disastrous happened between us (at least not from my perspective).  They’re just not around any more.  The calls, texts, and messages have withered up and dried up.

And in one case, their profile has suddenly disappeared from my Facebook.

Man And Woman Help Silhouette In MountainsThe first guy is the one that hurts the most, as we’d been friends for over 8 years.  We’d always promised we’d be there for each other no matter what, even if one of us started a new relationship.

We’d been super close for many years and used to go away on weekends together (he lives in Scotland).  We even used to spend out birthdays together each year (2 days apart).

The last time we saw each other was on our birthday weekend in Brighton almost 2 years ago, and he’d been a bit out of it.  He finally told me a few months later that he’d been distracted as there was someone at his work he really fancied… and it was a woman.

I’d only known him as gay, so was a bit shocked initially but it didn’t change anything.  I didn’t care that he was suddenly interested in a woman instead of guys. I was just as encouraging regarding his feelings towards this woman as I would have been if it was a man.

Love is love, after all.

And all through the initial dating bits, I was still there as normal.  I listened to his insecurities and gave advise where I could, and so forth.  And I waited for details on how their first date went.  As normal.

But once they actually started dating, the messages from him slowly started to petter out until the point where a general message went unanswered by him for months. At one point when things were a bit rocky between them, suddenly he was there again to chat.. but then it was back to silence once they got back together.

20130206112854socially-awkwardOh, and they’ve come to London together twice since they got together, and I only found out after the fact or once I’d seen it on Facebook.  There was no suggestion of me meeting his lady friend.

One of the last actual conversations we had, he was trying to get me to become Facebook friends with one of his mates up in Scotland (that I’d met once years ago).  Because his mate needed other ‘gay friends’.

Riiight…

He’d recently promised to be in touch on a certain day to chat.. but that was over a week ago and I’ve not heard anything.  It’s almost seemed like he’s tried to distance himself from all his old gay friends…

As for the other guy, well… I kinda saw it coming to an extent, as he’d done it before.

We’d first met over 5 years ago when I lived in Vauxhall, and initially we were casually seeing each other for a bit before he cooled things off because ‘he didn’t want a boyfriend’, and then ended up with a boyfriend within a couple months.

A year or two later we had a bit of a blow up after a night out at a club where he ditched me to head home with his ‘neighbour’ (he was single again at this point).  I wrote about it in a fit of anger at the time (click HERE to read), which he subsequently read and blasted me for.

That was the first time he’d ‘dumped’ my friendship.

Then a couple years ago he’d messaged me out of the blue, and after awhile we ended up being just friends again.  In fact, during a quite low period of mine he was one of the few people that had stayed by me, allowing me to rant and rave about my feelings.

39th-birthday-cheaters-250But then things started to change once he started working from home, as he stopping hanging out socially with me.  In fact, he wouldn’t even come out for my birthday last year because he wasn’t feeling ‘social’ and had too much work to do.

Communication between us started to become less frequent, and when I did hear from him, it was like he was completing a chore. Like he felt obligated to check in on me or something.

And when we would talk, he would always try to deflect any discussions about his life.  And would seem like he barely listened to what I was saying based one his responses.  It was odd.

In the last conversation we had end of July, he briefly mentioned that he’d started a new job and had moved flats to a different part of London.. over a month prior! And when I asked why he hadn’t told me sooner, he said ‘I’m telling you now’ as if I was prying.

During that conversation it was clear he wasn’t listening or interested in what I was saying, but when I’d said something about being unhappy at work, he responded ‘that’s good’. I’d called him on it at the time, but it was brushed off once again..

And that was it.  It wasn’t too long after that I noticed that he’d either deleted his Facebook profile or had blocked me.

Ummm.. bye?

Obviously I’m well aware that changes happen in all of our lives, and sometimes people do drift apart.  But regardless of how it happens, it still hurts when you’re the one left behind wondering what happened.

It can make life quite lonely when it feels like there’s nobody to talk to on a regular basis.

Friendship can be Fleeting

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Some friends come, some friends go.  And some friends are there for the long haul.  But sometimes, no matter what you do, the friendship may end.  It could be due to some toxic behaviour from one of you, or it could be a change in one of your lives.

It’s not a matter of loving each other any less, but being willing to understand when a friendship is at it’s end.  Or even recognising when it’s already over and not worth your time to try and save.

Regardless of how a friendship ends, it can sometimes really hurt and be confusing.  So here are a few things to look out for when that fleeting friendship is actually dying a slow death…

It’s exhausting

Spending time with your friends should be fun, exciting, and make you look forward to seeing them again, even when things aren’t going so well.  But if you find you’re coming away from seeing a friend constantly drained, emotionally and physically, it could be that they’re sucking the life right out of you.

Some friends are just emotional vampires, and any time spent together is all about them or their problems.  These people are needy and will latch onto anyone who’ll give them any attention.

Jealous of your happy

Whenever something good is happening in your life, one of the first things anyone wants to do is to share it with their friends.  We all enjoy sharing our happy moments alongside all the rest of it, and a true friend should be happy when something goes well for you, regardless of what is going on in their life.

But if that friend is continually trying to bring you down or is expressing jealousy because their life isn’t going as well as yours, then that’s not someone you want in your corner.  A solid friend should be a cheerleader for your accomplishments (and vice versa) without any thought about their own issues.

Always one-sided

Best_FriendsTruly good friends will always be there for each other through the thick and thin.  They’ll be their cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on, someone they can vent to, and ultimately, their rock.  We all go through tough periods and it’s important to have the right support when you’re going through a bad patch.

But if you find that you’re always listening to your friend’s issues and they aren’t letting you get a word in about what’s going on with you, then perhaps you need to let that selfish friend go.  Same goes if they never ask what’s going on with you (because they’re too busy talking about themselves), or don’t seem to even register what you do say (cause they’re not really listening).

Friendships may teeter back and forth, but ultimately it needs to truly be two-sided.

They put you down

All friends tend to roast each other to an extent.  It’s playful and always meant in good humour, never anything malicious or to purposely put someone down.  But sadly there are those out there who’ll always have something negative to say about you to bring you down.  Perhaps it makes them feel better about themselves, but regardless of why they do it, it’s toxic and they’re a friend you shouldn’t want to keep.

True friends always have your best interest at heart.

Mooches will always mooch

truly caresWe all have that friend who never seems to have any money on them to pay for drinks or dinner, or they say they’ll pay you back for those concert tickets but you never hear another word about it.  It’s one thing if it happens on occasion, but when it’s all the time it can become quite annoying to be chasing after them.

These people may not mean anything bad by it, and sometimes they don’t even realise they’ve done it.  But in the end you can only take so much of these flighty, forgetful friends.  And unfortunately, good luck getting your money back.

They’re overly demanding

It’s one thing to be a bit needy on occasion during a rough patch, but it’s completely different when you try to fully monopolise a friend’s time to the point where they can’t maintain other friendships or relationships.

When a friend is overly possessive, it generally means they’re insecure about your friendship and they’ll allow their jealousy to show.  Some may get so attached that they’ll freak out at the thought of you having other friends (let alone a relationship), and they could even try to sabotage things.

Best thing to do – run away.  Now.

Life moves on

Sometimes a friendship will end solely because life has changed for one or both of you.  People will change and grow over time, or perhaps one of your interests have changed.  It may suck when it happens, but it’s not like there’s a particular thing you can blame it on, as it just happens.  Some people just drift apart.

A lot of the time when this happens, one or both of you will be singing the hymn “We need to catch up soon!”, but it never really happens.  It could be that one of you has found a new social circle, or there’s a new relationship that’s occupying their time, or you no longer live near each other.  It’s just life really.

bad-friends-pic-3It’s ok to feel sad or confused when a friendship ends, but allow yourself the time to get past it.  Understand what changed and then move on.  There is no point dwelling on something that has already happened and can’t be changed.

This post has been influenced by – http://www.thelist.com/17938/tell-friendship/

Midsummer’s Night Disappointment

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Sometimes life can get way too busy and before you know it, weeks and months have passed since you last chatted to this friend or that one.  Is it just a matter that you’ve gotten too embroiled in your day-to-day lives that you ‘forget’ to keep in contact with certain people?

I try my best to keep in contact with people, but it isn’t always easy.  I find it hard because no matter how much you try to keep in contact with some people or arrange to do things together, they’re just always too busy to meet up.  And in some cases, too busy to even return a simple text message.

From my perspective, it seems these people all have their close-knit group of friends and regularly do things together, despite some people’s insistence that they never ‘plan’ anything.  Or at least that’s the response I get when I ask I wasn’t invited along.

Yeah, right.

I admit, I’m horrible at making plans weeks or months in advance, unless it’s something big.  Generally I get to Friday afternoon and realise once again I don’t have anything planned for the weekend, so I send off a bunch of messages to see what people are up to only to get a load of ‘I’ve got plans’ replies.

I was told a few months back by one of these ‘too busy’ friends that perhaps people don’t include me because I don’t make the effort to invite them to things, to plan something for a bunch of people to do together.  Or perhaps they’ve just assumed I either wouldn’t be interested in what they’re doing or that I have my own group of friends to hang out with.

Ummm… what utter bullshit, huh?

Shakespeare son & lumiereSo I tried an experiment that ended with my own disappointment – I created a Facebook event over a month ago and invited a bunch of people to it.  It was to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with a light and sound show at Guildhall Yard (event details HERE).

I thought it be fun and interesting, and something different to do on a Saturday evening (aka tonight).

Mostly people put themselves down as a maybe, with a few saying outright they couldn’t go and one friend saying they would join me.  Even if just that one friend came, it would make it worth it really.  And perhaps a step forward for me I think.

But fast forward to this past Thursday when I posted in the event suggesting where and when we could all meet, and asking everyone to confirm if they were coming or not.

And this is where the disappointment set in – not a single person could make it for whatever reason.  Some explained, but most didn’t at all.  And that one friend who said he’d come?  He pulled out as well, saying he was too busy this weekend (he’s taking a masters while working full time so spends his spare time studying).

Which left me with nobody to go to this thing with.  I even messaged a couple of non-Facebook friends to see if they were interested, but nothing.  So come last night I up and cancelled the Facebook event and now am not even going myself.  It wasn’t exactly the type of thing you go to alone.

man in bedSo what is a guy to do when all he wants to do is spent time with his friends and those friends are too busy to hang out?  I’ve barely been out of the house the past month and a half, and as much as I love quiet time at home, it’s really getting to me.

A person can only spend so much time by themselves before they start going stir-crazy.. or (over)thinking that perhaps he’s wasting his time on trying to get those ‘friends’ to spend time with him.

Life can be hard when you’ve tons of friendship to give and there’s nobody to give it to.

 

Where’d You Go?

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I think it’s fairly obvious to say that some friends will come and go out of your life, and then there’ll be others that will be there for the long haul.  Not to mention the ones that you can go months and months without talking to, but when you reconnect it’s like no time has passed.

It’s a natural thing in life for certain people to slide in and out of your life, and that’s fine.  But what about those you thought were in it for the long haul who suddenly disappear?  It can be devastating and confusing as you wonder why they’re no longer a part of your life.

Well.. I’ve been feeling that myself for quite awhile now about someone I’d relied upon over the years to regularly being there to talk to when I needed someone … and vice versa, of course.

And you know what?  It hurts that they’re not there anymore to talk to, especially if you’re in need of a shoulder to cry on or someone to cheer you on when something really good is happening.

sad-man-2But at the same time it makes me wonder if perhaps I was expecting too much from our friendship?  I would always make myself available to listen if they needed someone to talk to, and they’d do the same for me as needed.  That’s part of friendship.

As well it’s about just being there, being present.  Bored on a Friday night?  Call the bestie and hit the pub, right?  Or if they don’t live in the same city, hop on Skype and chat the evening away.  It’s not always about being there for the good and bad times, but just being around.

Of course things do change when one of you starts dating someone new (gay or straight, it’s all the same really).  Obviously now more of their free time will be spent with their new sweetie, and that’s okay.  It’s expected and it would be weird if that didn’t happen.

But what chafes me is how sometimes when they’ve found that new boy/girlfriend, they just drop off the face of the earth.  Text messages go unanswered.  Facebook comments go unliked or not responded to.  Requests for advice are left hanging in the wind.  And it basically feels like you’re not part of their life anymore.

And you know what?  That’s shit.  It’s a horrible way to treat someone who was there through all the good and bad times, and perhaps was even there at the beginning encouraging them to ask out the cutie who’d caught their attention.  Who was there helping debate all the pro’s and con’s of starting anything new with their new love, and whether it was worth it to even try.

(It always is, by the way.  I’d never stand in the way of love.)

And as someone who’s been left behind many a time, it fucking hurts.  It hurts that you’re not there to talk to anymore.  It hurts that the first person I used to text when something interesting would happen probably wouldn’t even respond now.

It hurts that you brought your new squeeze to town for a couple of days and didn’t even suggest meeting up so I could meet them.  It hurts that maybe you wouldn’t want me to meet your new sweetie, as if I was some dirty secret.

It hurts so much that it feels like you’ve forgotten all about me.  Because I’ve never forgotten about you.

But at least I know for awhile I had you in my life, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.  We had some amazing times over the years, and that’s never something I’d ever regret, regardless of where I am in my life.

Sigh … *rant over*

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Are We Friends or Not?

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I’m finding it harder and harder at times to determine if some people are actually my friends or are just there for when it suits their needs.

I’m not talking about those who are in my day to day life, but more of those who only pop up when it’s convenient for them.  Where you’ll go months and months without hearing from them, then suddenly they want to know your life story, a ‘catch up’, in a sentence or two.

As if that’s even possible, even if you have such an uneventful life like me.  LOL

But the funny thing is how they react when you call them on their shitty ‘friendship’.  Some try to put it back on you because they haven’t heard from you either.. which can be a fair point sometimes.  And some will just apologise but not explain why you haven’t heard from them.

sexy turkI bring this up as I got a message yesterday from a sexy Turkish/Bahrainian guy I used to play with from time to time.  I’d last heard from him briefly at Christmas, and then his previous message was probably close to 6 months before then.

We’ve known each other for at least 3 years now, and I used to regularly message him to meet up, but he never could because of family commitments (separated from his wife, lived with his mother and had partial custody of his son..).

Or if we did agree to meet up, it was usually somewhere that was convenient for him but not for me… Many times I’d travelled to North London when I lived in Vauxhall only for him to cancel.  One time I got his cancellation message as I got there, only for him to message me a couple hours later that he could now meet.. meanwhile I’d already travelled back home.

Very frustrating, especially when we got along so well, both personally and sexually.

But after awhile, I got sick of his excuses why he couldn’t meet up.

I eventually told him that if he wanted to spend time with me then he needed to make the effort to organise it, to ask me to meet up and such.  That I was done chasing after him, that this one-sided friendship wasn’t fair on me.

religionObviously I’m not so shallow to be blind to the issues he has reconciling his bisexuality and his religion. He and his family are devout Muslims so it’s extremely difficult for him to accept his attraction to chunky guys.

In his mind, because of his upbringing, sex between two men is considered dirty and unnatural, and most definitely against everything he’s been brought up to believe in.  At one point he actually thought there was something wrong with him physically or psychologically and was looking to go to a doctor to try and ‘fix’ it.

And of course, nothing I could say to him during those periods could convince him otherwise.

Religious misconceptions aside, the most frustrating thing was how he’d never reply to messages.  Or if I sent him a message that expressed any sort of dissatisfaction with his side of our ‘friendship’, then I wouldn’t hear from him again for another couple months.

I got so frustrated by it all yesterday that I actually told him to grow a pair and be a man already. To love who he wants to love, not who others tell him he should love.  That if he likes me as much as he keep saying he does (it’s his usual spiel) then he should make an effort to see me.

sexy beard2Yeah.. that was all probably unfair of me. He can’t help that he’s been brought up in a different culture that makes people think if they don’t live a certain life then they must be a bad person.  That any deviation from the ‘norm’ would result in losing everything they hold dear.

From what I’ve gathered he’s decided to just not bother meeting me because he can’t (or won’t, not sure..) give me what I’m looking for.  I don’t expect a marriage proposal from him or anything, just be nice to spend some time together.  Even if it was just as mates.

Or maybe I’m just expecting too much from him..

Toxic Behaviours that Push People Away

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We all have certain behaviours or characteristics that could potentially push others away from us, even if we’re not aware of them.  Nobody is perfect (if only…) and we all fall victim at times of our own toxic mood swings from time to time.

I’ve always wondered if there were things I was doing that was pushing people away from me.  Friends would always reassure me that it was the other person, not me, and that they just weren’t worth my attention.  But when you think of the other side of things, obviously there were things I was doing that they felt were toxic and couldn’t stand being around.

Regardless of the situation, it’s more important to be able to recognise when you’re starting to show a toxic characteristic, and are able to change how you are reacting to whatever situation you’re in at the time.  It’s not easy, but once you recognise the behaviour it should become easier to stop it.

Hopefully.

‘Envy Green’ is not your colour

jealousyLet’s be honest, jealousy is not an attractive quality on a person.  When you’re constantly counting someone else’s good fortunes or wishing you had someone else’s life, that means the envy of others has gotten the best of you.

Instead look at what is going well in your own life, and if what you see doesn’t make you happy then change it and strive for what will make you happy.  Your life is just that, YOURS not someone else’s, so live it.

It’s nothing personal

Not everything that people think or feel about you is actually about YOU.  Sometimes it’s just about where they are in their own journey through life, and their own life experiences will affect how they react to you.  Unfortunately there are a lot of people who think everything is about them or a reaction to them is somehow an attack on them personally.  It is much better to take other’s reactions towards you with a grain of salt, and just follow your intuition.

Stop acting the victim

By constantly living in a state of victimisation and persistently complaining about life, you’re setting yourself up to be miserable.  The world is not against you, and only you can stop yourself from being stuck in this state of being.  We all have the power within ourselves to influence our lives and realise we are not helpless to affect our own lives.  Push past the hurt and move forward with your life.

Some-people-push-people-awayLet go of the past

Sometimes through guilt, anger, love or loss of something in your past, you can find yourself holding onto toxic experiences and allowing them to influence your present situation.  Letting go isn’t an easy thing to do, but if you can’t then you’ll continue to have the same situations pop up and bite you on the ass.  Be willing to let go and change for the present and whatever the future may bring you.

Holding onto negativity

Let’s be honest.  It’s extremely hard to be around people who are always negative about life or past experiences and aren’t willing to enjoy the life around them as it happens.  And if you’re that negative person, you may not realise you’re doing it until it’s too late and you’re left alone with your own negativity.  It’s not an easy habit to get out of, but once you do you’ll see a totally different side to life.

Being an overly emotional mess

It’s never fun being around someone who can’t control themselves emotionally.  These people tend to get upset or angry at the smallest slight, and tend to lash out at anyone and everyone around them.  These people generally have some underlying issues that are causing them to be so angry or sad all the time, and may need to get some outside assistance to work through whatever the problems are.

Judging a book by it’s cover

Being consistently judgemental of those around you, be them people you know or not, you’re being toxic in a completely mean or arrogant way.  We’ve all seen people like this.

They try to tear down others around them, sometimes trying to mask it as humour, but in the end all they’re doing is hiding their own insecurities.  They subconsciously (and sometimes actively) try to being others down to their level as a way to make them feel better about themselves.

helping-handThis list could go on and on.. There’s no exhaustive list of behaviours as everyone has different things they personally find toxic.

In the end, some of those people who show these behaviours could just be trying to cry out for help.  So if you can, be there for them and help them move past the toxic behaviours.

There’s nothing worse than when you’re trying to reach out for help and there’s nobody there to take your hand.

Warning Signs You’re in Bad Company

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Let’s be honest.. sometimes it’s hard to meet truly good friends.  People who are willing to be there for you when you’re in need, no matter what is going on in their lives or yours.  People who will be open and honest with you, without judging you or making you feel like you’re bothering them.

And sometimes it’s hard to tell if that so-called friend truly is a friend to you, or if they’re just using you for their own agenda.

Personally, I’ve always had difficulty making friends and don’t have many truly good ones in my life.  Because of this, I’ve been too willing to allow those in my life that I shouldn’t just so I can feel like I have people in my life.  And I have an even harder time to realise when someone shouldn’t be my friend.

So maybe this list will help me (and you) become more aware of who my true friends are.

They only make time for you when it’s convenient for them.

Sure, we all get busy at times.  But if it gets to the point where you feel like you’re begging your ‘friends’ to spend time with you, then they obviously aren’t interested in cultivating the relationship and you should move on.  Even if that seems like the hardest thing in the world.

If you find your ‘friend’ only calls on you when they’ve got nothing else going on, then they truly don’t respect your time or your worth as a friend.

They hold your past against you.

We all have pasts, and some of us have mistakes in our pasts we’d rather move on from to build a better future and learn from the past.  But if your ‘friend’ consistently brings up your past as a way to hold you back, then all they’re doing is trying to hold you back from moving forward in life.

This could be that they refuse to accept that you’ve changed from who you used to be, or that you’ve moved past your mistakes.  Or it could be that they’re afraid that if you move on with your life that you’ll leave them behind.  And perhaps that’s exactly what you should do.

Sassy-Gay-Friend-2You feel trapped.

There’s nothing worse than feeling pigeon-holed in a restricted environment because your ‘friend’ wants to keep you in a box where they’ll be able to always find you.

A truly healthy relationship that thrives is one that keeps the doors and windows wide open, to allow everyone to come and go as they please.  And to give you the choice to stay because that’s exactly where you want and need to be at that moment in time.

They discredit your dreams and abilities.

If you find your ‘friend’ is consistently trying to define your dreams and how you live your life for you, then you’re enabling them to hold you back from reaching for what you truly desire.  This could be in your career, living situation, love life, or any number of things.

A truly supportive friend will be there right beside you as you work towards your dreams, and will be willing to give honest, open, and constructive criticism where necessary.  Ultimately only you can achieve your dreams and need to work hard to reach them.  And a true friend will be cheering you on all the way home, not trying to get you to live a lie.

They have lied to you more than once.

gossipHow many times will you let someone lie to you before you realise their chronic behaviour is completely disrespectful of you and your relationship.  And the longer you allow them to lie to you and give them repeated chances to be trusted, the longer you’re lying to yourself about your friendship.

Honesty is the key to a healthy and loving relationship, be it between friends, family or lovers.  And if someone isn’t being honest to you, then they’re not worth being in your life.

Their negativity is rubbing off on you.

Everyone has a few people in their lives who are constantly negative about live and the world around them.  Everything going on in their lives is negative and regardless of what they’re talking about, it’s a projection of their own inner issues.  It could be a lack of self-confidence, a feeling of entitlement or abandonment, or any number of issues they have at the moment.

That’s not to say you need to avoid people who are going through a rough patch because you don’t want their negative attitude to rub off on you.  Those people need your support and love, and sometimes even a good kick in the ass to move forward.

A truly negative person is trying to drag you down to their level and make you feel sorry for them.  They’re attention-whores, so try to surround yourself with positive people and support those who truly need it.

They are excessively envious of what you have.

It’s okay to be a little bit envious of those around you, but when someone is excessively and consistently envious, then it’s a good chance they’re just trying to take what you already have.

In the end, someone who is regularly envious of those around them actually don’t like themselves, and sometimes could just need a bit of love and support.  But no amount of love can help them mend the broken pieces they carry around with them, only they can do that.

They motivate you to be judgemental or hateful.

Judgemental people will always miss out on meeting quality people because they can’t move past the outward reflection of what they think a person is like.  Those who will only hang out with people of a certain faith, race, size, shape, or sexuality and are hateful to those same people, are basically judgemental hypocrites.

Anyone who starts a sentence with ‘I’m not prejudiced but…’ is looking for an opening to be just that, prejudiced against whomever they’re targeting at that time.

Sometimes it’s hard to filter these people out, as the subtlety that they’ll be judgemental can be missed.  Especially when it’s masked as idle gossip.

They want you to be someone else.

Never ever let anyone try to change you from who you are into who they think you are or want you to be.  It’s your life, live it as you, not some fake version of yourself that someone else has put upon you.

The best thing to do is to surround yourself with those who love and respect you for you, not who they think you should be.  It’s better to lose someone in your life who doesn’t truly care about you as a person and replace them with someone worthy of your time, than it is to piece together who you used to be.

bad-friends-pic-3Inspiration for this post came from 9 Warning Signs You’re in Bad Company over on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Value of Friendship

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It never stops to amaze me how some people just don’t know how to be a friend, or how to properly treat their friends.  Our friends are like our families, and it’s important to cultivate these relationships to ensure they thrive and grow over the years.

This is especially important in the gay community, as there are a lot of us out there whose friends ARE their families for one reason or another.  And without that network of dear friends to support and guide us through life, a lot of us wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today, wherever that is in each of our individual lives.

For myself, I’ve never been super close to my family even before I came out of the closet.  So over the years I’ve had to rely on dear sweet friends to become my family and support network.  It wasn’t because my family and I didn’t get along, because that’s not the case.  It was more because we’ve just never been that close and I didn’t feel like I could go to them with the issues I was going through.

And that’s too bad.  I would have loved to have had a closer relationship with them (it’s surprisingly a little better these days compared to when I still lived in the same country as them hahaha), but sometimes it’s best to move past what you can’t change and make sure you have people there for you when you need them.  And vice versa obviously.

Best_FriendsAdmittedly there has been times over the years when I didn’t have many friends to lean on, as some people tend to fade away when things aren’t going well.  And that’s okay, because it shows you who your true friends are.

For me, I’d do anything for my friends.  They’re always there for me, so of course I’d always return the favour when they’re feeling down or going through a rough time.  That’s the whole point of being friends, right?

Unfortunately there are too many out there who would take advantage of someone’s generous nature or their trust, all in the name of friendship.  They are only there for their own selfishness, be it intentional or not, and can’t seem to see how their actions can affect their ‘friends’.

The thing is when you’re on the receiving end of this behaviour, you can only take it for so long before you can’t do anything else but walk away for your own sanity.  Friends need to be there to support each other, not for one to act the ‘parent’ so the other (child) can continue to do what they want, safe in the knowledge their ‘parent’ is there to clean things up for them.

why-friends-are-important1That is not a healthy relationship.

We are all adults, whether we want to be or not, so we need to grow up and take responsibility for our own lives.  That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have fun, but instead means you have to be aware of your own actions.  And accept the consequences of them.

And if you’re not happy with your behaviour, then you need to do something to change it and soon.  Because if you don’t or if you wait too long, those loving friends may not be there any more.

Positive Reinforcements

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Is anyone else out there sick and tired of how negative we are towards each other?  Since when is it ok or even welcome to verbally or emotionally put down those around us, especially those we consider friends?

Oh, no you didn't! *snap*

Oh, no you didn’t! *snap*

Is there any wonder that a prevalent stereotype out there is of the ‘bitchy gay’??

All too often we say things to each other that are just a bit too critical, demeaning, and could have negative connotations in the long run.  Sure, it may just seem like a harmless joke or a bit of banter between friends, but is that truly being constructive and encouraging?

We truly do need to become more supportive of each other as people, regardless of sexuality, and use positive reinforcement to encourage each other to keep going.

Below is a list of things we should start saying more of to each other that I found over on Medium.com.  Have a read through and let me know in the comments if there is anything you’d add to the list.

1. I’M PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE.

When was the last time someone said they were proud of you as a person?  Or that you told someone that yourself?  It’s rare, especially when most will focus on what you DO not who you ARE.   Show appreciation for each other for how they live their lives, treat others, how they approach life itself, and even for attempting for something new, even if it doesn’t turn out the way you’d like it to.

2. COME JOIN US.

rtk3Who hasn’t been at a party, a pub or some other social event and totally felt excluded by those chatting away with their group of friends?  Or noticed someone standing off to the side, looking lost or lonely.  Well, invite that stranger to join your gaggle of mates and maybe they’ll turn out to be your new BFF or something.

3. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM LIFE?

Although never an easy question to answer, it’s definitely less lame than ‘What do you do?’ that people will try to start a conversation with.  And it could potentially start a more interesting and in depth conversation in the long run, and may even help the other person realise their dreams a bit more.

4. HOW CAN I BE A BETTER FRIEND?

Without meaning to, we all tend to take advantage of our friends and their willingness to be there for us.  But when was the last time you asked your friend what you can do for them?  For all you know, maybe that friend has some deep down insecurities they’ve never been willing to open up about.  It’s all about showing your friends that you’re there for them, regardless of what is going on.

5. I’M A STRONG PERSON, BUT I’M HURTING RIGHT NOW.

Let’s be honest, it’s not the easiest thing to ask for help or comfort when you’re feeling down or have gone through something personally devastating.  We need to be able to lean on each other during the tough times, and part of that is being willing to ask for that support.  It’ll also show you who’s truly there for you and who’s there just for the good times.

6. I’M AFRAID OF OPENING UP.

hardtimesAllowing yourself to be vulnerable is never an easy thing, especially in a society that looks down on ’emotional’ men as being weak or less masculine.  And being a gay man doesn’t mean it’s easier to open up about yourself either, if anything it’s harder in some ways.  It can be scary and seemingly risky to open yourself up to others, because you never know how they’ll react.  But again, if they’re true friends then it’ll just strengthen your friendship.

7. CAN YOU GET OFF YOUR PHONE?!

Let’s be honest – we all tend to check our mobiles everywhere we go, regardless of what situation we’re in.  If you’re out with friends, then leave your mobile in your pocket (unless it’s urgent, obviously).  There’s nothing worse than hanging out in a pub with a mate and they can’t maintain a conversation because they’re too interested in checking out the guys online on Grindr, Growlr, or Scruff.  *Sigh*

8. ANYTHING POSITIVE OR ENCOURAGING.

Let’s be genuinely more positive towards each other and encourage those reaching for their dreams, regardless of where we are.  Too often as gay men we allow our inner insecurities come out in snarky comments and will be regularly negative towards each other.  Positive energy is infectious – spread it around.  😀

Click HERE to read the original article

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It Gets Better.. Unless You’re Fat

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Let’s be honest, it’s not easy being a fat gay man these days.  Especially not when the media and society dictates that you should look a certain way, with perfect abs, a gorgeous smile, and a head of hair enviable of pretty much everyone.  marlonteixeira1That you’re supposed to look like some Ken doll-like underwear model, and any deviation from that stereotype is considered social suicide.

What a load of bullshit, huh?  If everyone was meant to look alike, then we’d all be boring drones with nothing to do or say to one another.

But the crap thing is we’ve bought into this mind set and we spend our lives criticising others based on their appearance, be it friends or strangers.  And as much as you might say you don’t do it, you probably do it more than you realise.

I recently read an article on Buzzfeed via Facebook about this exact same topic.  About how if you’re fat and gay, you’re less likely to be included by the other gays, and you’ll probably be made fun of or made to feel bad about yourself regardless of how you look after yourself.

Click HERE to read the original article

The article was mostly about how degrading it is when people criticise you about your weight, as it if it’s such an easy thing to change.  And about how society seems to have accepted that it’s okay to criticise an overweight person, as if it’s helpful instead of hurtful.

Fat_ManBut when you wonder out loud why I can’t just lose some weight, you’re looking out for me. At least, that’s the perception. The hurtful degradation becomes socially sanctioned, because being fat is considered to be innately wrong.  And suddenly, otherwise good people feel no shame in condemning us fatties. It’s not bigotry if we deserve it.

Just like the author, I too have had people comment about my weight in regards to my looks.  That if I just ‘lost a few pounds’ or ‘tried a little harder’ then I would be so much better looking, or that it would be so much easier to find a boyfriend. Of course these people generally know nothing about my life or eating habits, so really have no right to make these comments.

And when you’ve grown up being the fat kid with low self-esteem who’s been working hard as an adult to become more confident and comfortable in your own skin, that really hurts.  As if your looks are the only thing that matters when it comes to finding friends or partners.  As if you’ll only be successful in life if you’re fit and good looking.

And it’s hard not to buy into that mentality sometimes..

ImageMake-Friends-Step-6Unfortunately, as interesting and insightful as the author was trying to be, it ended up coming across as a bit too whiney and I’m not writing about this to have a whinge myself.  As a friend pointed out when I posted the article link on Facebook:

‘..you make the best of it, you don’t wallow and go “wah none of the cool kids will touch me”, you realise the “cool” kids are arseholes and go find a circle of friends who like you for you..

And that’s the whole point, right?  Finding and surrounding yourself with people who accept you for being you, without it being all about how you look or if you fit into a certain stereotype.

And yeah, there are men out there who do like bigger guys, almost to a point where it’s a fetish, so perhaps there is some hope in the end.  Although if you ask me, I’d rather someone was with me (either as friends or otherwise) because I’m me, not because of my big belly or chunky butt.. but I suppose I’ll take what I can get.

As long as they like me for being me.  😀

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