Adult Friendships & Unhealthy Friendships

 

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[Image: Sunset over mountainous terrain. Small silhouettes of two people sitting by the water. Most of the bottom of the image (the beach) is shrouded in darkness]. Source: morguefile.com.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship. I’ve been trying to figure out what it means to me now. That might seem like a funny question, but I think it’s worth asking.

Friendships change from childhood to adulthood. When you’re younger and in school, you’re often automatically friends with the people you see every day. You may form friendships in little groups and then be friends with all the members of that group because they are there, not because you necessarily like them. You may be friends with people you don’t particularly like because your friends are friends with them.

As an adult, however, you seem to have more of a choice. You can be more selective. You’re no longer bound to people who you have little else but school in common with. You know yourself a little better. Hopefully, you’re better at identifying toxic relationships or knowing when you simply don’t want to be friends with someone.

These are good things, but not all of these changes are good because, in some ways, adult friendships are also very weird.

You don’t see each other unless you actively organize to do so. You may go weeks or months without seeing the other person if your schedules are busy.

You may not have a common thread, like school or work, to keep you connected, and so you have to find and develop your own points of connection. If you don’t manage this then the friendship just sort of fizzles out.

In high school, I belonged to a group of friends, but now my friends are mostly spread out and separate from one another. I spend time with them one-on-one as opposed to in a group, which I prefer anyway as someone who’s pretty introverted.

Since entering the realm of young adult friendships, I’ve had no problem meeting people but a lot of difficulty with maintaining connections. People my age are so transient. We come and go without making too many commitments to each other because commitment isn’t always possible when you’re always coming and going.

Then there are ruptures, which can damage or end friendships. Ruptures are very common and can happen for a whole variety of reasons. It can be very hard to know how to repair ruptures, especially if they are only a symptom of a larger problem: an unhealthy relationship.

Friendships can be unhealthy. Friendships can be toxic. Friendships can be abusive. Sometimes we overlook these things because we don’t tend to expect them from our friends. We think of friendships as being relatively innocuous. We underestimate them. They can have far more profound effects on us and our lives than we usually give them credit for.

This year, I am learning more about what healthy friendships look like by learning about what unhealthy friendships look like.

Generally, they shouldn’t be stressful and demanding.

You shouldn’t feel like you need to walk on eggshells around a friend because any little thing could set them off.

You shouldn’t be putting their needs before your own in order to please them.

They shouldn’t act like they know you better than you know yourself. Your friends are not the authority on you, only you are.

If they become irritated with you all the time for no other reason than you simply existing, there’s a problem.

If they’re dismissive of the things you’re passionate about, the things that make you feel excited, there’s a problem.

If they take your friendship for granted, there’s a problem.

If you desperately need their support and they won’t give it, there’s a problem.

If their friendship and love are highly conditional on you being what they want you to be, there’s a problem.

If they’re having a relationship with their projection of you instead of you, there’s a problem.

No one is perfect. We’re all shitty friends sometimes, but when some of these things start to add up into an overall unhealthy relationship, it’s time to reevaluate that relationship.

As an adult, I feel like I have a lot more control over who I choose to spend my time with. None of my relationships are passive. I have to work to make them happen.

I believe in giving people second chances, opportunities to change, but I don’t believe in third, fourth, or fifth chances. I don’t believe in endless chances. At some point, you need to be able to recognize that your friend isn’t going to change.

You have a choice. Can you or can you not live with that?

I’m still making mine.

What Kind of Writer Do I Want to Be?

 

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[Image: aerial shot of a pad of paper, a pen, and a pair of glasses lined up on a wooden table]. Source: morguefile.com

 

I’m working on my second book. It’s a memoir. I decided I didn’t like the last one I wrote which was science fiction.

I write poems. I write scripts for videos. I write blog posts like this one here. I’ve considered freelance writing and even gotten a couple of pieces published, but don’t quite know how to get my foot in the door when it comes to paid work.

I’m still not sure what kind of writer I want to be.

Should I be a novelist or an essayist?

Should I work on poetry or short stories?

Am I better suited to fiction or creative non-fiction?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Hey, Sage, why not do all of those things?” I mean, I can. That’s what I have been doing until now. But at some point, I think I need to narrow in on my focus. Writing takes time, energy, and commitment. It’s not always the best practice to stretch oneself over half a dozen projects.

Also, getting oneself published requires a lot of research and work. If I want to be a freelancer, I need to sesh out publications and sending in pitches. If I want to be a novelist, I need to figure out whether or no to self-publish, and if I do choose to self-publish, go through all the steps of marketing and distributing my work.

I suppose the question isn’t so much about the kind of writer I want to be, as I am already many kinds, but about how I want to carve out my career as a writer. This is an especially pertinent question right now as I’m on the cusp of graduating university and trying to figure out the student afterlife.

I think it makes sense to try to develop an internet presence through my YouTube channel and this blog, but that’s not quite enough for me to write for a living. I also understand that expecting to make a living off of my writing is pretty huge and something I’ll have to spend a long time working on before it becomes even remotely feasible. That’s why I want to find my focus and start now.

I was on a train today. Trains are great places to think. I realized that I really want to publish a book and that, because I haven’t made a name for myself yet and am writing something sort of alternative, I should self-publish that book. I set a goal for myself. No matter how much or how little I’ve written by the end of the summer, I am going to take that material and begin revising for what will be a short memoir filled with poetry and prose. I’m just going to make it happen. It’s not going to be flawless or the most ultimate, amazing thing I’ll ever write, but it does not need to be those things in order to be worthy of publishing. I’ve written quite a bit of material that I didn’t feel confident enough to publish: a book of poetry, a science fiction novel, and countless shorter pieces. At some point, I need to start putting this stuff out there and refusing to let the idea that it’s not good enough get in the way.

That’s the kind of writer I want to be.

Welcome!

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[Sage, a white non-binary person with short red hair, tilts their head to the left and giving a small smile, wearing a black-and-yellow flower-patterned shirt, with their hair parted to the left and a paint splattered background].
Hello, I’m Sage, and I would like to welcome you to my new website!

I decided to create a domain using my internet handle rather than my full name for, like, job applications and other adult life stuff. I also wanted to start a fresh blog that is more incorporated in with my YouTube channel and all the other fun things I do online.

I have two goals for this site. The first is for it to be a place that connects the dots of all of the things I do around the internet. The second is to put out weekly blog posts on a range of different topics, from LGBT+ issues to book recommendations to personal updates. In a way, these blog posts will be the written correspondents to my videos. For example, I may write about my love of amateur photography on Monday and then make a video on Thursday about how awesome it is to be able to share that love with like-minded folks online.

So, if you prefer reading to watching videos, then this is the place for you. Or maybe you just want to know more about the Sage-things, and that’s cool too!

Speaking of the Sage-things, who the heck am I? And what do I do?

I’m a writer and a YouTuber. I make reflective videos over here about being a young person, school, feminism, identity, jobs, art, traveling and everything else that affects my life. In terms of writing, I’m currently working on a book as well as various smaller pieces here and there. I tend to write poetry, memoir, and short stories.

I’m non-binary and use they/them pronouns. I’m queer/bi/pansexual. I’m white, able-bodied, and deal with various mental health issues. I’m on the cusp of graduating with my undergrad from the University of Toronto. Bet you’ll never guess what I studied there (hint: it’s quite obvious).

I love being outside and in the nature. YA audiobooks are totally my jam and I am not ashamed to admit that I still read fanfiction. I prefer TV over movies. I hate cooking but don’t mind cleaning. I’m addicted to coffee but still don’t know how to make the perfect cup.

I make videos here. I tumbl here. You’ll find photos of nature and some quotes here. Frequent posts and updates reside over here. I write articles here sometimes. My adventures with books happen over here.  And I even utilize archaic technology here.

I’ll be adding some of my old pieces from my previous site to a separate page so they will not be gone from the web forever when I take that site down.

I want to make my internet presence as accessible as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about this site, please fill out my contact form or send a DM to @herbdinoohno on Twitter.

That’s all for now! Expect another post next Monday.