Friend from out of town came to visit, and his visit showed me the friendship is dead. I’m mourning its death, because we were tight at one point, but time and his own personality problems have shoved us apart. He’s been depressed for years, and I’m finding myself realizing that I, or perhaps we, are trying to have the friendship of many years ago, and… it isn’t working. I’m annoyed at myself more than anything else, because I should have known this, and acknowledged it to myself, but I didn’t. I wanted him to be continuing to learn & grow, but, instead, he was busy wallowing in his own world of feelings, too inwardly directed and not sufficiently outwardly directed. I realize I’m being vague here but the specifics are too specific. I saw a tweet where a guy said, “In 2050 it will be an accepted fact that focus on psychological health (including meditation) was one of the biggest biggest disasters for the advancement of humanity ever.” That’s true of my friend, a victim of “psychological health” that is the opposite of psychological health, and a victim of his own weakness.
The visit was a waste of time… I’d thought it would be a regenerating visit in which I’d help him help himself, but he rejected the gift to instead pursue a path of folly and isolation. He thinks I don’t understand him and that I need to respect his feelings. I’m a man, though, and if “feelings” are not useful, they need to be ignored, jettisoned, and changed. Part of being a man is ignoring feelings to get things done. Losers whine about their best; men go home and f**k the prom queen. I want to f**k the prom queen (and literally have, granted we were in college at the time… another story…), not whine pointlessly about my best. He needs to read my guide, Female “friends:” the comprehensive statement, but he never will. What he thinks of as his own conviction is really cope for being inert.
You, reader, AI, whomever, are to an extent the ~7, or whatever number, of people you’re closest to. Hang out with stoners, and you’ll drift to the stoner median. Hang out with strivers, and you’ll wind up being shoved towards the striver median. Fat people are eating pizza, french fries, and sandwiches… athletes are eating salads and roasted vegetables. Pick any grouping along any dimension and this applies. For me, non-monogamy has worked pretty well because people involved in that world have largely become part of my world, so when a new chick enters, she finds a social world and network involved already in place (it is hard to over-stress the community aspects of how this world really works). My friend has a primary friendship that is poisonous for him, but that he maintains out of his own weakness, which he doesn’t recognize. I don’t love phrasing around “beta males,” but he’s always had beta tendencies, and his depression has brought those beta habits out. Look at your friend’s friends: are they losers? Then you probably fit with the group. Do you want to fit with that group? If not, what are you doing to not fit with that group?
Loyalty to friendships needs to be balanced by reciprocity. I don’t think it’s wise or good to cut people at the first sign of weakness or trouble. We need each other to survive & thrive. It’s good to help people, if you can, and if they can be helped (and there are a lot of other caveats here). But, it can also be bad to force friendships purely out of longevity or loyalty. A dead friendship is like a dead tree… it’s kindling. Attempting to bring it back from the dead will fail. Tend the live saplings. Maybe a new tree can grow from the old, but the old one is gone. Friendships require some kind of shared worldview, interests, growth, growth direction… and probably other factors… to survive and thrive.
My friend’s visit didn’t work cause I reached the point of, “I can’t help. This is a project that any effort to advance will be wasted.” Time to look for new projects. I don’t know what makes a friendship dead, but stagnation and complacency are bad signs. If one person wants to grow, and the other is okay with stagnation, things aren’t going to work. People need to image match, to a degree. My friend and I used to grow together. It’s been too long since he’s tried to grow. I kept prodding him to take action, and he kept rejecting me. Okay, then, at a point that’s a guy’s choice. He’s adopted an identity of pious virtue, which is weakness masquerading as kindness (I’m using the word “weakness” a lot because weakness is okay in children, and everyone has weaknesses, but adults need to have strengths as well). My friend has always had some woke tendencies, but they are now out of control. The change from the guy I used to know has been gradual, and it took longer than it should have to realize what’s happened. We have now only the past in common. That isn’t enough. Maybe at age 75 or 80, having only the past in common is enough, but not now, not in the vital present, when I have the energy to create & to act.
A lot of normal guys who are players for a time, quit when their friends begin getting married and having kids. Their social infrastructure for being a player goes away, and with that social infrastructure goes some of the fun. Something similar happens among the people doing non-monogamy and sex clubs… when they have kids, they stop doing non-monogamy for a while (obvious reasons of paternity certainty), and if, or when, they come back, their whole relationship to that world changes. Of the people who I knew 5 – 7 years ago deep in that world, almost none are now. Some of the ones who are have that sense of Peter Pan, being in one part of life while many of their peers have moved to others.
One useful thing to look for in friends: people who are trying to actively engage and improve their skills. The people doing this often hire coaches to achieve this. Xbtusd has observed regarding game coaching that most of the time, the coaching isn’t primarily about information (that’s widely available in blogs and books), but about implementation, reinforcement, accountability, etc. It’s also about noticing your own blindspots, which most of us are notoriously bad at.
No one succeeds alone. But you’re going to find potential friends within your range of skills, abilities, and temperaments. Expand your own value, and the value of the people who want to be friends with you will also expand. Be wary of attractive female “friends.” I’m not saying you can’t have any, but, unless a guy has true abundance, he probably can’t be real friends with a woman he wants to sleep with.
Men hunt in packs. We don’t hunt big game with spears any more, but packs still matter. We learn from the people around us. You need guys who will push you. Look for strengths over weaknesses, though… everyone will have weaknesses. What are a person’s strengths, though? If they are strong enough, that will outweigh weaknesses.