What went wrong?

Alex,

I have been thinking of writing this to you for the last week. It has been on my mind quite a bit recently and I finally decided to do it. This is going to attempt to explain what went wrong in our friendship from my point of view. It is not meant to be judgmental or come off as either of us being the better person. It is just the facts, feelings and situations as I observed them and what led to where we are now.

What brought this on you might ask? Well, a couple of people recently asked me what happened between us to cause the rift that I’m sure you have felt by now. I told them I wasn’t really sure where it started or what really happened. This is why I have been thinking about it a lot recently. I wanted to know what happened too. It wasn’t any one thing. I know from talking to others, that you think it started or ended with the dog. I can tell you that wasn’t it at all. It may have been part of it, but not for the reason that you might think.

When you and I met and started hanging out, you were a much different person than who you are today. You were funny, confident and totally your own person. You were strong and independent. That, however, is not how I see you today.

I was looking through some old video that I have on my computer and I came across the video of Kohl, you and I watching “America’s Got Talent” and drinking. I was watching it with Beth and she asked me “What happened to Alex? He used to be so funny and cool.” I agreed. The person that you were in that video is the person who I was friends with. That Alex isn’t the Alex that you are today.

We had many talks about things like your sexuality, ADD, religion, schooling and friends among other things. These are the things that contributed to the eventual demise of our friendship.

I know that living with someone can turn two totally normal people into enemies. It happened with you and with Kohl. The things that made me hate living with Kohl are not the same things that made me hate living with you. You cleaned up after yourself. Did the dishes. Cooked. Bought food for the house. Contributed and made yourself a part of the house. Those were things that Kohl, for one reason or another, never was able to do.

Here comes the part where things went south. As far as I can tell, it started with Facebook and social networking. We were friends on Facebook, just like I am friends with a lot of people. We had similar interests, just like a lot of my friends on Facebook. Where it became a problem is when I would friend someone and you would friend them too. I would like something and you would like it to. Not just a thing here and there, but seemingly EVERYTHING that I liked or became friends with, you did too! You were like a virus assimilating everything that I was online and becoming like a “mini me”. It was frustrating, because in my mind my social life wasn’t just me and you – it was becoming us.

I want friends who have clear and distinct selves. That line was starting to blur. I know that it was partially my fault. You already had a Facebook and Twitter and I encouraged you to sign up for DailyBooth and get a blog. Again, on DailyBooth and twitter, we started following the same people and communicating with them. I couldn’t have any friend to myself – it was like I had to share it all with you. Generally, that isn’t a problem. It became one when it felt like you were friends with everyone that I was.

I turned you on to podcasts that I thought were interesting and you started listening to them as well. It was nice to have someone to talk to about a similar interest. This was never a problem for me. It was like watching the same TV show. Except when it started to be every TV show. It seemed like if I was watching a show, no matter what it was, you somehow became interested in it. I’ll admit that some of the stuff I watch is pretty good. That is why I watch it. In the end, it turned out that you only watched those things because I did. Once we stopped really interacting with each other, you stopped watching those shows.

So, why did you do it? In talking to people about this, they seemed to come to the conclusion that you may be in the same boat as Beth. You aren’t navigating or paddling the boat in the same way, but it is the same boat. You have a fear of abandonment. The problems that arise from this, at least in Beth’s case, is that it causes her to lose herself to be the person that she thinks people want her to be so she doesn’t lose them as friends. In your case, it was very similar from a third person perspective. You assimilated all the things that I liked, partly because you may have liked them too, but mostly because you needed something to have in common to keep a bond there. For the record, I didn’t need that. I just needed Alex, the way he was when I met him. Funny. An individual. Someone who was just finding themselves and was pretty happy about it.

You went to the LGBT center downtown and helped yourself and others become accepting of themselves. You told me how difficult it was for you to go in there the first time. I didn’t come from the same background and didn’t know how that felt because I was always pretty confident in who I was in this respect and if people didn’t like that, then too bad. You had funny stories to tell about things happening in your life and they weren’t always about “This one time, in Austria”.

The Alex of today really frustrates me because, in my opinion, he is turning into someone else. Today’s Alex goes to church every weekend, a place that is not healthy for someone who is still struggling with their sexuality. Today’s Alex goes to work and all he can talk about the place is how unhappy he is. Today’s Alex wants to get away from La Crosse – a place that he LOVED just months before. Today’s Alex isn’t completely truthful when it comes to purging gay things from his life.

You texted me asking if I wanted your season 1 of “Queer as Folk” because you were “packing stuff up and didn’t want to have to take too much” when you moved. You haven’t packed up anything else. You just wanted to get it away from you. You took the gay sticker off of your car because “someone vandalized your car” because of it. This is BS because there were a few of us at Walmart that had gay stickers on our cars and we NEVER had anything done to us. You took it off because you were going to visit with your friend who you haven’t come out to and were afraid she would see it.

You never brought your friends Brian and Ryan in to meet me or my mom, even though you were going to. Probable reason? We have gay shit everywhere! Wouldn’t want them asking questions that you didn’t want to answer. What is wrong with being who you are? You are gay. So what? Even though our friendship isn’t near what it was, can’t you look at me, Kohl, Jay and other gay people in your life and realize that it isn’t something to be ashamed of? Because it isn’t!

Enough of the gay denial that bothers me. Lets move on.

When we met, you weren’t on any ADD medication. You seemed like you were a perfectly fine operating person. You could focus on what was happening and were funny and creative in the moment. Since you have been back on the medication, you seem distant and not yourself. I urge you to get off of this medication that you think you need. You don’t need it. Beth also has ADD. I’m certain that I do to. Most smart, creative people have ADD. Why take something that I see as an advantage and kill it with medication? Beth says that she just learned to live with it and use it to her advantage. I think that you could do this as well and save yourself some money in the process.

What could be next? Walmart. Most of the recent conversations that we have had have stemmed from something happening at work. I know that you haven’t been getting out much lately except to talk to Brian, Ryan or Linda who are all your “best friends” who you aren’t out to and can’t really be yourself with, so the only new life experiences are created here. That isn’t a knock, I was there too. Walmart was my only social life for a while.

You let yourself get so upset and focus on all the wrong things about that place. Yes, you wanted a promotion to CSM that isn’t happening. You think you are a good candidate for it. When talking to me about it, you say that all you need is the chance to prove yourself. It doesn’t work that way. You have to prove yourself first. In your case, in observing you there first hand as well as talking to Robb and his fiance Katie, your main problem is confidence. You really don’t have any. I know you say that you do, but you can’t fake confidence. Trust me!

I may not agree with your vision of yourself all the time, but you are a strong person when you let yourself be a strong person. You don’t need to tell people that you would be good at something – SHOW them! Like I stated earlier, the Alex that I became friends with and formed such a quick bond with, WAS a confident person. Confident in his abilities and his self. Even if you weren’t – people couldn’t tell! I couldn’t! Beth couldn’t! If you can get back to having this confidence in yourself and how you carry yourself, you will find that people will naturally be attracted to you in so many ways.

You don’t have to try and prove yourself with knowledge and rambling facts about things that you know about to show that you are a smart individual. Just be yourself and show people that you are smart, you don’t have to tell them. That comes off as desperate.

Look at me. I have a horrible personality sometimes and almost no interpersonal skills. Why are people drawn to me? Confidence. Get this back, Alex, I beg you! Do it for yourself. You aren’t your job or your wallet or your possessions. That is not what makes you valuable as a person, so don’t value yourself that way. Don’t be afraid to show your friends who you really are. If they truly are your friends, they will accept you no matter what. It is when you stop being yourself when people turn away from you instead of stand together with you.

I hope that this helps you in some way and I hope that at some point we can be friends again.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. It was quite lengthy and took me over an hour to piece together and a week of thinking about it to actually sit down and write it.

-Tage

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