Keep on keeping on

Saturday’s meeting was good. I found myself chatting to lots of people naturally before the start, almost as if I were an extrovert. I chatted briefly to people I knew and people I didn’t know; when I went to get a cup of coffee, I even chatted to the guy I’ve had a crush on for weeks! He was serving the coffee, so I would have had to say something to him anyway. We only talked for about thirty seconds, about nothing extraordinary. He’s already forgotten me, I’m sure.

As I was playing the role of everyone’s friend I encountered the usual doubts below the surface. Questions about whether I was saying the right things, was I boring people or making myself look stupid. Once the meeting had started and I couldn’t talk any more I had more time to dwell on these things.

I’d heard the guy giving the chair about three times already in the past six weeks, so I could kind of predict what he was going to say, and I didn’t relate to very much of it. I’d forgotten that that can happen when you go to lots of meetings. The pool of people available to do chairs is limited, and not every share I hear is going to set my world alight. Well it shouldn’t have to.

After the meeting I waited for the group to convene for coffee. I was determined to go again for the third week in a row, though it was a blustery and cold evening and most people looked dead set on rushing home to warmth. I forced myself to stick it out, because the after meeting coffees are how I’ve gotten back into AA recently.

After a few minutes four of us made our way to the local coffee place and had a good natter for half an hour. Clearly I’m in a good place with AA at the moment, with all this socialising coming more naturally than it has done in a very long time. But there’s no doubt I will have to keep working at it every time I go to a meeting. I’ll never be able to take these social opportunities for granted.

*****

My morning meditations are still asking me to think about what I’m resisting in life, and I keep coming back to P. The other day I thought that I was resisting his friendship, but today I think it’s more than that. I’m resisting being honest with him. Now that I’ve realised this it makes a lot of sense. Whether I am to let go of him or keep him in my life, I need to be more honest with him. Whenever he annoys me, instead of saying anything I resist it and keep quiet, because I think he won’t understand or he’ll get upset. That’s why he’s driving me mad, because for so long I haven’t been able to tell him the truth.

It might be helpful to have a list of things he’s done to annoy me, because there are so many of them! It might help me to decide whether I have a case for being really upset with him or not, because I just don’t know any more.

  1. We’ve established that I don’t like his politics, and I don’t like the fact that he doesn’t seem to care or realise what supporting the status quo means for most people
  2. The way he disagrees with most of my opinions and has to be right all the time – I hate it.
  3. His constant use of dating apps when we’re supposed to be socialising gets on my nerves so bad, not just because it’s rude, but it’s the fact he doesn’t realise how big of a waste of time it is
  4. The way he talks on facebook grates on me. “Lolz”, “ActuLOL”, “OMG”, “Awww” are words he actually uses all the time, along with the obligatory emojis. I want to remind him he’s not eighteen years old he’s nearly fifty!
  5. The attention seeking content of his posts gets to me as much as his teenage terminology. His need to be validated online, for example when he nagged me to wish him a happy birthday on his facebook timeline last year, grates on me so much it’s not true.

The first couple of examples may seem more important than the last few, which are just things that lots of people do online (including me sometimes). Maybe so, but since we chat online all the time they are the things I come across the most, and I’m almost more angry about them than I am about the politics and the constant playing of devil’s advocate (although I do wish he’d stop doing it). Above all it’s the immaturity of it all – it gets under my skin. Unless I opt to keep my mouth shut from now on, I’m going to end up snapping at him. At the moment it would just take one thing to set me off, I know it. I know at some point he’ll probably ask what I’m doing this weekend, because he’s bound to have nothing on. After having spent a few hours with him this month, any more would feel like too much and I definitely won’t want to see him this weekend. I might not feel like spending time with him again for a long time, the way things are going.

If not being honest with him is the reason why I feel this way, it might just take a good long chat to sort it out. Then again, it might need more than that. It depends whether the things that bug me so much are things that can be changed or not. Some of them are things he’s always done. Can I really expect him to stop doing all these things? Is it some fundamental aspect of his character that I’m not agreeing with? I know I can’t change him as a person, I can’t change anyone, so perhaps, in the end, I’ll find I can’t be his friend any more. These things aren’t going to stop bothering me. I just haven’t got a clue how I would go about ending this friendship. Our lives are too involved, we have too much planned for the future.

Where the fuck does one start with honesty anyway? I’ve never sat him down and told him he annoys the hell out of me sometimes before. A few times I’ve tried poking fun at his obsessions, like Grindr, like saving money, and he’s just laughed along, not realising that I don’t actually find it funny at all. Maybe I should just let myself snap next time.

*****

At last night’s meeting, apart from talking to lots of people again I managed to say goodbye to some of them before I left the meeting. Usually when everyone’s gathering at the end to say their goodbyes I struggle to get anyone’s attention, and if I’m in a mood I just walk off without bothering to try. It’s what I’ve done at 90% of the meetings that I’ve been to over the years. Breaking that habit is hard. I still hate breaking into a conversation that someone’s having just so I can say goodbye to them or ask them when they’re next free for coffee. But it’s got to be done. There are people I’d genuinely like to be friends with, and they’re not always going to be stood on their own at the end of the meeting waiting for me to come over. I’m learning that by making that extra little effort to say goodbye I’m building up good will with them, with the meeting, with the world in general. Like everything else, it’s going to be a constant effort to keep doing it. I’ll have to keep on keeping on, as they say.

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