6 Things I Learned About People In 2014

Time for a thinky post! This is the first of probably many end-of-year wrap-up posts – most of which will probably be about books. So! I thought today I’d talk about something that isn’t books. I’m going to discuss stuff I learned about something that is very mysterious to me.

People.

People are confusing and weird and awesome and figuring them out is tricky. Here are some of the things my little introverted self learned about people and relationships in 2014.

1. Sometimes friends grow apart and that’s OK. It’s sad, but it happens sometimes so I’ll just have to deal.

I used to be friends with this girl. And now I’m… not? I think? But we didn’t fight – we simply grew apart. I think that in a way that is harder than breaking up with a friend.

I’ve always wanted a sister, and if I could pick who she was, then at one point I would’ve chosen this girl. Now I’m not so sure. We’ve grown up and changed. The interests that initially bonded us aren’t really there any more, and we don’t have too much in common nowadays.

Perhaps most tellingly, we don’t make much of an effort to get together and hang out, or even just to talk to one another through emails or IMing or whatever. I have online friends – people I’ve never even MET face-to-face – for whom I make a greater effort to stay in contact, because… because we actually have stuff to talk about.

I still like this girl. We’re just not as close as we once were, and it’s taken a while to get used to that. But it happens… it’s just another part of growing up.

2. Having a long-term friendship with someone should not compel me to remain friends with that person if they make me uncomfortable. If they’re unpleasant, I shouldn’t feel guilty about ending things with them even if we have quite the history together. 

This happened to me twice this year.

Late last winter, I broke up with a friend I’d know since about seventh grade. I thought coming out to her would be simple, but she turned out to be one of those “love the sinner, hate the sin” people.

Ew.

I didn’t need to deal with her homophobia, so I told her that – and said that I wouldn’t be talking to her again. I didn’t want to do this: She has a great sense of humor, and loved geeking out with me about all sorts of things.

And like I said, we’d known each other for around six years. I had a LOT of memories of doing fun things with her, and it felt weird to dump her. In the end, though, I’m pretty sure I made the right choice, because I would’ve felt sooooo uncomfortable continuing to hang out with her.

The second example features a group of people, instead of a single person. My brother and I changed 4-H clubs after spending eight or nine years in our old one.

I’d basically grown up with some of its members, but we’d been dissatisfied with the club’s leadership and lack of organization for years. 2014-15 is my last year of 4-H, so I wanted to have FUN. I didn’t to want to be miserable! So we left and joined another club.

And it’s weird. There are still so many people in this new club who I don’t know, and I’m still getting used to my new club’s traditions, the way they run their meetings, et cetera. But that weirdness doesn’t mean that things are bad. They’re just different. I’m glad we made the choice between sticking with the “meh” club we’d known since forever, and something new but better.

In both situations, I felt guilty about abandoning those people. THEY didn’t make me feel guilty – I did that all myself. I guess… I guess I just kept thinking about how much I used to like them. And then I was like, “Do I really want to keep hanging out with someone because of what our friendship used to be? Because of memories? No. No, I don’t. I’d rather find new people to make better memories with.”

3. “I’m willing to lose friends over ideological differences.”

That’s in quotation marks because it’s from a friend’s video. Miriam Joy @ Miriam Joy Writes vlogged about some things they’d learned about themselves in 2013. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s an old video, but I didn’t see it until recently! Anyway, that quote stuck with me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind, because it perfectly sums up some of the relationships I’ve ended this year.

Like my friendship with the girl from point #2.

I don’t mind if my friends are different – but if their ideologies lead them to treat me (or others!) as lesser, then I DO have a problem with them. If they treat me poorly because I’m _____ (queer, female, atheist, et cetera) then it’s over between us. If our parents or siblings are friends then I’ll probably still have to see them, and I’ll be courteous to them, but I’m not going to go out of my way to talk to or spend time with them.

I don’t need friends who try to convert me. I don’t need friends who mock me for liking girly things, then later tell me that I’m not girly enough. I don’t need friends who tell me, “I don’t hate lesbians, but why can’t you be quiet about it? Why don’t you try liking a guy?”

Thankfully, most of the people-I-know-who-are-drastically-different-from-me-in-some-way aren’t like this. But sometimes they are, and I don’t want to be around them any more than is absolutely necessary. Why would I be friends with a jerk whose interests are the same as mine when I can be friends with a sweet, awesome person whose interests are the same as mine?!

Having friends who are different from oneself is very beneficial because it exposes to different ways of life and points of view. But if hanging out with that person becomes uncomfortable, rather than mutually beneficial, then… what’s the point? If I’m fine with our differences but the other person sees our differences as a wedge that splits us apart, then I’m getting out of that friendship as soon as possible.

4. Online friends count, too!

Hey! Here’s something cheerful, after a bunch of relationship-y topics that were kind of bleh!

Anyway, online friends are important too, and not lesser because we’ve never met face-to-face. I’ve met some absolutely amazing people through various online writing communities, and talk to a lot of them every single day. Thanks, guys. You’re the best. I love our fangirlish conversations, your words of encouragement, our hopefully-not-so-ridiculous plans to meet up someday when we’re older.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to the people who were exceptionally awesome friends to me in 2014:

[Blows platonic kisses to her friends and also offers them chocolate]

5. I am often EXTREMELY shy around A) my crushes and B) people I admire.

I think all of us are like this to some extent, but I feel REALLY shy. (Not to mention awkward!) It doesn’t help that this year I crushed on, like, a gazillion girls, queer and straight alike.

I don’t even flirt with (most of) these girls, for heaven’s sake – I just get shy about asking them stuff like, I don’t know, what they did last weekend or when their school goes on winter break. I need to get over this. BUT IT’S SOOOO INTIMIDATING. Blergh.

6. Friendships do actually require effort and sometimes I need to exert more effort with this stuff.

Sometimes I don’t spend much time with friends but it’s not because we’re growing apart! Sometimes I’m just lazy when it comes to asking friends if they want to meet up somewhere and hang out. Sometimes, as I said above, I’m just shy.

I need to work on being a more involved friend. That doesn’t mean I have to become a social butterfly, but if I miss someone and think they’re awesome and want to hang out with them… I need to actually make an effort to ask them to do so.

-~-

What did you learn about people in 2014? Was it a good year for you in terms of friends, or was it kind of sucky? Let me know in the comments!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
This entry was posted in LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to 6 Things I Learned About People In 2014

  1. Oh, thank you for mentioning me! You are a very sweet, awesome person and I’m glad we’re friends. *blows a kiss*
    2014 was a very…weird friend year. In winter-spring 2014, I had a great bestie, who happened to be a boy, and I happened to begin to have a crush on. Turns out he liked me too, and we became kind of boyfriend-girlfriend.
    But in the fall, when school started again, we completely “broke up.” He won’t even speak to me, and it’s really awkward because we hang out with the same people.
    Thankfully, I met a lovely new girl who I am now BFFs with. Sadly, it probably won’t last long because I’m going to a new school next school year.
    I definitely learned a lot about moving on this year, and I am very happy currently. I anxiously await 2015 and all the joys it will bring!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Same to you! 🙂

      Ugh, that sounds uncomfortable. I don’t intend to do that ever… I mean, unless I someday break up with a REALLY horrible girlfriend. But if it’s just like, “Meh, we’re not right for each other” I wouldn’t want to just stop speaking to that person if we’re still hanging out with the same people… um, can you say awkward?!?!

  2. Awesome post ❤ so so glad I stumbled upon your blog (I blame Cait).

    I've been on the receiving end of #1…kinda. Watching other friends grow apart is so hard when you still love both of them. Thankfully I haven't had any #2 experiences…that is awful! Die, homophobia.

    I've learnt so much about my friends this year – the one that stands out? Going out with a guy for almost a year before he realised he wasn't bi but gay. So that's a happy case of being closer as friends. 😛

    • nevillegirl says:

      I blame Cait for a lot of things. 😛

      Hmmm… I was going to say “I don’t think I’ve ever seen my friends grow apart!” but then I don’t have very many friends (never really have, tbh) and so I probably wouldn’t notice anyway. But that’s just me.

  3. I have sort of drifted apart from some online friends. It makes me feel sad but then, as you said, if you have nothing to talk about and no motivation to keep things going, it’s better that way. 🙂 I guess the biggest thing I learnt this year was that people aren’t really so scary as they can seem. They’re human with quirks and faults and they mess up sometimes too. And remembering that really helps me talk with other people.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I can relate to that a bit, I think. For the most part I still talk to the same people I “met” on various writing/blogging sites three or four years ago, but there are some people I used to be really close to and now I’m just… not. Idk, there’s this one guy who always used to insult me and then say it was just a joke, but eventually I wondered why I was putting up with that when he always made me feel weird?

  4. Miriam Joy says:

    It was a weird year for me because I left school and started uni, which meant meeting a lot of new people and having to adjust to being surrounded by folks who were completely different to those I knew back home. I also changed quite a lot as a person and really began to explore who I am, which meant my interactions with people that I’d known for years also altered as I explored how to relate to people. So yeah, it’s been a voyage of discovery.

  5. Mo says:

    [snorts] I haven’t been commenting on your posts lately because I haven’t found a lot to respond to, but then I read this and I started giggling. Yes, I know I need a blog, and hopefully I’ll work up the guts to talk to my parents about starting one in 2015.

    Anyways, I can’t say I learned a lot about other people this year. I’ve mostly stuck with the same few friends because I still like them and they aren’t humongous jerks. I think (I hope) I’m developing a friendship with this girl in my writing club, who I went with to see TFioS and has invited me to her New Year’s party. I’ve discovered that I have more in common than I originally thought with a girl who I didn’t really like in elementary school. And just a few days ago, I had lunch with a favorite person that I hadn’t seen in a while, which was lots of fun. And, of course, I have you! 😛

  6. moosha23 says:

    I agree with everything you’ve written (I’ve learnt all of those things over the years too…except the one about ending it with friends). This year I’ve grown apart from a friend, but it wasn’t very painful because we still talk (sometimes). We have political differences (which I am shocked to think actually matters…but the way we view the world is just too different – sometimes the things she says freak me out in a very negative, scary way).
    Online friends definitely do count! When I started allthingswordy I didn’t know there was even such a thing as “book blogging” and when, this year, I did some research about it I learnt that the book blogging community is generally full of real cool (and nice) people…a fact that I can now support, y’know? Sometimes online friends are far better than face-to-face friends in that the distance allows them to value a part of you a face-to-face friend would take for granted. Plus there’s always those people you click with almost immediately even if circumstances mean that you won’t be seeing them for quite a while.
    Haha, 2014 the Year of Crushes? 😛 For me (a fairly asexual non-crusher – I have horrible experiences of “crushing” on people) I can kind of relate as it IS hard to talk to people when you admire them so damn hard. I’d say to just go for it, MAKE CONTACT, and you know…being shy is a part-and-parcel of talking to cool people (cool in your eyes that is) but if you overcome that I’m 98% sure the future will be looking pretty good…:D
    Yes. I realised that friendships require effort in 2014 too, y’know…growing apart happens almost on a day-to-day basis but when you have memories that connect you it’s kind of a safehaven. That’s the thing with ending it with long-term friends who’ve changed…I (perhaps naively) believe that a part of them is still the person I love and admire…it’s hard, I guess.
    But I agree with your ending it with that homophobic person – if I have a friend whose mere presence makes me feel like I’ve swallowed poo or something I’d end it too, now matter what we shared in the past.

    • nevillegirl says:

      They are so nice, aren’t they? I find that people who blog exclusively/mostly about books are some of my sweetest Internet friends. Idk why. Maybe all that reading makes a person pretty mellow. xD

      I WILL TRY TO MAKE CONTACT. *makes a slightly brave face* I CAN DO THIS THING. MAYBE. PROBABLY.

      Pffft,that’s a good way of putting it – feeling like you’ve swallowed poo. *cracks up because she is immature that way and also because some people really do make her feel that awful*

  7. Taylor Lynn says:

    Friends definitely do grow apart, and that’s something I’ve experienced firsthand. It’s not always fun, but a lot of the time I find that when it’s slow and gradual you miss it less because you’re not very compatible anymore. Not always, but sometimes. I still do miss the way things used to be with me and some of my friends, though.

    Thankfully, though, I haven’t had to make a decision about a friendship based on ideological differences, but I imagine it must suck, and I’m sorry you’ve had to.

    Also: plans to meet online friends definitely aren’t ridiculous, not in my book!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, I guess I focus too much on the memories I have of some friends… which is silly, because I can’t even imagine us doing the same things now since we’re so different!

      We should totally meet up at some point and… Idk what we’d do, but it would be super-cool. 😀 I have plans to visit comic-con and stuff with other friends… someday, someday.

      • Taylor Lynn says:

        Haha, there’s always that worry of underlying awkwardness when you think of seeing a friend you’ve never met, but I always figure if I got together with an internet friend we’d find a way to entertain ourselves without too much trouble. And I mean, seriously, if ALL else failed you and I could always talk about books or watch LOTR, right? 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, sure! Although, I actually have plans to watch LotR with another friend – she’s never seen them and I haven’t seen a bunch of the Disney movies she loves, so we hope to meet up at some point and marathon them. Because why not? Sometimes silly things are the best things to do with friends.

  8. *is back after long hiatus during finals* Yes, I so agree with what you say about friends. *nods emphatically* I’ve drifted apart from quite a few people this past year, too, and I know what it feels like… but sometimes it’s for the best! And I totally agree about internet friends! Some of them are SO much better than the people I’ve drifted apart from in real life. 🙂

  9. People are weird *nods*. Online friendships are fun, too. 🙂 Awww, it’s okay. People are intimidating. I feel super shy, too, around anyone who isn’t a close friend, even if it’s just telling them to close the door! 🙂

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