Time for new friends?

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
Post Reply
shoe
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2019 1:47 am

Time for new friends?

Post by shoe »

Hey guys,
A couple of years ago I was really depressed. Since then I got treatment for the depression, went back to school, moved, stepped up my Buddhist practice, and got more involved my community. Since getting help I noticed something. Holy shi_t, most people in my circle are not happy! Not only are they not happy, they live a lifestyle that seems to increase their own unhappiness, avoid doing something about it and drag others down with them. Should I go low contact or no contact? Has anyone else realized that their circle of peeps is toxic after treatment? I kinda feel like a jerk for pulling away, but I do not want to become clinically depressed again either.
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11226
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by Queequeg »

First rule of administering first aid is make sure you're safe. If you can encourage others to follow a positive path, do it. If they're not receptive so be it. Everyone has to walk their own path.

What's your big goal? Is it Buddhadharma? Then follow it, gently and persistently. The rest will fall into place.

I'd suggest keeping your eyes on the prize, and the rest tends to sort itself. No need to actively cut people out unless they pose an immediate detriment. Keep going on your own path and those who are going in the same direction will continue to be your associates, and those headed elsewhere... Trust that they want to be happy and that will be their compass. If you demonstrate that you have a steady happiness, they might ask you for help. Be ready to help.

Check out the Vimalakirti Sutra.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
User avatar
Könchok Thrinley
Former staff member
Posts: 2355
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Once 5 or 6 years ago I was so depressed. I actually started drinking alone at home and kept myself lightly drunk most of the time. As I was making my way through a bottle of whiskey a friend called me up and decided to give me an intervention. I will never forget that day because we were at a bar and she ordered coffee for both of us and one shot of vodka for her. She poured the vodka into her coffee, drank it and told me "Dude, you are an alcoholic, get help." In two months she ended up in a rehab and I had few more months of alcohol filled fun in front of me. What I am trying to say is that drowning person cannot be a lifeguard. I love all of my friends but I only message them from time to time because I cannot help them and I know I would only drown with them.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.
User avatar
tobes
Posts: 1821
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by tobes »

shoe wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:03 am Hey guys,
A couple of years ago I was really depressed. Since then I got treatment for the depression, went back to school, moved, stepped up my Buddhist practice, and got more involved my community. Since getting help I noticed something. Holy shi_t, most people in my circle are not happy! Not only are they not happy, they live a lifestyle that seems to increase their own unhappiness, avoid doing something about it and drag others down with them. Should I go low contact or no contact? Has anyone else realized that their circle of peeps is toxic after treatment? I kinda feel like a jerk for pulling away, but I do not want to become clinically depressed again either.
When I was younger, I had a number of very close friends from high school. Very beautiful, intelligent people, with good hearts. But ultimately tracking in roughly the same direction as you mention; just being fundamentally samsaric, without even being aware of the fact. There was always a kind of toxicity to the group mentality.

Over time, I gradually let them all go. It wasn't easy, but true practice is not easy.
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11689
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

shoe wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:03 am Hey guys,
A couple of years ago I was really depressed. Since then I got treatment for the depression, went back to school, moved, stepped up my Buddhist practice, and got more involved my community. Since getting help I noticed something. Holy shi_t, most people in my circle are not happy! Not only are they not happy, they live a lifestyle that seems to increase their own unhappiness, avoid doing something about it and drag others down with them. Should I go low contact or no contact? Has anyone else realized that their circle of peeps is toxic after treatment? I kinda feel like a jerk for pulling away, but I do not want to become clinically depressed again either.
I think it's a sane decision, and I've been in similar places.

I would say just don't do it rashly. Find some new, more positive social influences, but keep minimum contact with the others.."checking in" type stuff. You never know, people can change over time, and some actually do. The thing is, you have to prioritize your psychological and spiritual well being here. Put on your own oxygen mask on first and all that.

When I got more serious about Buddhist practice one of the first things I noticed is how some of my friends would just find the negative in literally everything, including other people. They would gossip some too. I realized that at one point I was like them - doing that same stuff. Only for some reason now that kind of behavior bothered me, and I didn't want to participate in it anymore. It definitely changed some things for me socially.

I feel like it's easier when you're middle aged, everyone is so busy that no one gets offended by less contact, generally speaking.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
User avatar
jake
Global Moderator
Posts: 1485
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by jake »

I wanted to share this article, not because I felt it had direct relevance for the original post but because I found it a helpful commentary on contemporary pressures on friendship and thought others here might find it thought-provoking.

https://qz.com/1352437/our-friends-aren ... ust-human/

A paragraph from the article that has stuck with me:
The way we talk about friendship paints an ugly picture of the new notion of relating—one that seeks maximum return on minimal investment, and outlines an exit strategy anytime a friend doesn’t fulfill our fantasies. These posts reveal more about the toxicity of our society than the negative people they’re describing. It’s friendship as a capitalistic exchange, instead of relationships involving people who care about each other, hanging out, and helping each other through life’s ups and downs.
I don't know what country the OP is in but there are a fair number of good articles on how hyper-capitalism has been altering and undermining relationships of all kinds, not just friendships. This I feel is most apparent in the US and the UK but also spreading to continental Europe which you can see more and more. A recent example I came across was encouragement to "re-brand" myself for more successful job-hunting.

Back to topic....
User avatar
明安 Myoan
Former staff member
Posts: 2527
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by 明安 Myoan »

Just continue to study and explore applying the Buddha's advice and techniques. He spoke about what kinds of qualities in friends will help us be happy, and which qualities and activities to avoid, because they cause harm to everybody.
And as you learn new ways of learning from situations, you gain some understanding over time.

I made a lot of mistakes in my 20s, because a lot of people are confused about what they want, what they think will help us most in the long term as we get older. The Buddha spoke a lot about this, too. Long-term benefit.

I have less friends now in my mid-30s, and find my life is more peaceful, with people I can trust.
Also, the Dharma is a great way to make friends.
Pure Land Buddhism has introduced me to people all over the world with all kinds of lives :smile:

The pain of separation, even from bad friends, heals over time too. You learn to think about more helpful things.

Good luck!
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the Nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 1546
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by Nemo »

I find when people with the same pathology get together it can make them both worse. Anxiety plus anxiety or depressive plus depressive are terrible combos particularly romantically. Anger plus anger being the most problematic. Know your personal strengths and weaknesses and have healthy boundaries. Those really pay off in the long run.
User avatar
tobes
Posts: 1821
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by tobes »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:25 am
shoe wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:03 am Hey guys,
A couple of years ago I was really depressed. Since then I got treatment for the depression, went back to school, moved, stepped up my Buddhist practice, and got more involved my community. Since getting help I noticed something. Holy shi_t, most people in my circle are not happy! Not only are they not happy, they live a lifestyle that seems to increase their own unhappiness, avoid doing something about it and drag others down with them. Should I go low contact or no contact? Has anyone else realized that their circle of peeps is toxic after treatment? I kinda feel like a jerk for pulling away, but I do not want to become clinically depressed again either.
I think it's a sane decision, and I've been in similar places.

I would say just don't do it rashly. Find some new, more positive social influences, but keep minimum contact with the others.."checking in" type stuff. You never know, people can change over time, and some actually do. The thing is, you have to prioritize your psychological and spiritual well being here. Put on your own oxygen mask on first and all that.

When I got more serious about Buddhist practice one of the first things I noticed is how some of my friends would just find the negative in literally everything, including other people. They would gossip some too. I realized that at one point I was like them - doing that same stuff. Only for some reason now that kind of behavior bothered me, and I didn't want to participate in it anymore. It definitely changed some things for me socially.

I feel like it's easier when you're middle aged, everyone is so busy that no one gets offended by less contact, generally speaking.
Yeah, the issue is mainly (but not solely) related to speech. Speech is very, very important. If you want to practice Dharma well, you have to be very, very mindful with your speech. When this mindfulness goes, a million unwholesome things proliferate like weeds in the summer.
User avatar
ewomack
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:47 am

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by ewomack »

I abandoned a few groups of friends earlier in life because I found them becoming increasingly toxic and I wanted nothing more to do with them. I did the same with a past girlfriend whom I actually loved at one point. Though we had deep feelings for each other, which we confessed before finally breaking up, I realized that we nonetheless had a toxic relationship and it was best for me to pull away. All of these situations were painful, but years later I now completely understand what my innards were trying to tell me. I honestly think that my life ended up being better without them, though there remains plenty that I dearly miss about those relationships. The Dhammapada has a passage similar to "a fool cannot help you on your journey" and I've grown to believe that. You should still feel compassion for them, but that doesn't mean that you need to keep them in your life, especially if the people will have negative impacts on your life and outlook. Sometimes letting go is the right thing to do. Sometimes the path of emotional pain is the right thing to do in the long run.

I also agree with many of the comments about modern friendship. So many friends, who I thought might end up life-long friends, have come and gone from my life in the past 10 years that I have a hard time taking the concept of friendship seriously anymore. In the end, many of these people seemed to be searching for friends to validate their lifestyle choices or to "join their club" rather than what I consider "real" friends who have the leeway to ask difficult questions and not always agree by smiling and nodding. Such "real" friends seem almost impossible to find and many people seem to look upon friendship as an investment: "what am I getting out of this friendship?" rather than a commitment to a relationship that has endured through change and phases of one's life. People just seem to move on and if you don't want to move with them completely, they leave you behind. That's been my experience, at least.
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11689
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

tobes wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:58 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:25 am
shoe wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:03 am Hey guys,
A couple of years ago I was really depressed. Since then I got treatment for the depression, went back to school, moved, stepped up my Buddhist practice, and got more involved my community. Since getting help I noticed something. Holy shi_t, most people in my circle are not happy! Not only are they not happy, they live a lifestyle that seems to increase their own unhappiness, avoid doing something about it and drag others down with them. Should I go low contact or no contact? Has anyone else realized that their circle of peeps is toxic after treatment? I kinda feel like a jerk for pulling away, but I do not want to become clinically depressed again either.
I think it's a sane decision, and I've been in similar places.

I would say just don't do it rashly. Find some new, more positive social influences, but keep minimum contact with the others.."checking in" type stuff. You never know, people can change over time, and some actually do. The thing is, you have to prioritize your psychological and spiritual well being here. Put on your own oxygen mask on first and all that.

When I got more serious about Buddhist practice one of the first things I noticed is how some of my friends would just find the negative in literally everything, including other people. They would gossip some too. I realized that at one point I was like them - doing that same stuff. Only for some reason now that kind of behavior bothered me, and I didn't want to participate in it anymore. It definitely changed some things for me socially.

I feel like it's easier when you're middle aged, everyone is so busy that no one gets offended by less contact, generally speaking.
Yeah, the issue is mainly (but not solely) related to speech. Speech is very, very important. If you want to practice Dharma well, you have to be very, very mindful with your speech. When this mindfulness goes, a million unwholesome things proliferate like weeds in the summer.
Yeah, I hadn't realized up to this point though how much my choice of social groups was influencing my speech.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
pemachophel
Posts: 1719
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:19 pm
Location: Lafayette, CO

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by pemachophel »

Speech is very, very important. It's how most of us make the most negative karma. Lama Dawa Chodrak said, if one commits the four negative actions of speech, one will not gain the accomplishment the mantra.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ
shoe
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2019 1:47 am

Re: Time for new friends?

Post by shoe »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:25 am
shoe wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:03 am Hey guys,
A couple of years ago I was really depressed. Since then I got treatment for the depression, went back to school, moved, stepped up my Buddhist practice, and got more involved my community. Since getting help I noticed something. Holy shi_t, most people in my circle are not happy! Not only are they not happy, they live a lifestyle that seems to increase their own unhappiness, avoid doing something about it and drag others down with them. Should I go low contact or no contact? Has anyone else realized that their circle of peeps is toxic after treatment? I kinda feel like a jerk for pulling away, but I do not want to become clinically depressed again either.
I think it's a sane decision, and I've been in similar places.

I would say just don't do it rashly. Find some new, more positive social influences, but keep minimum contact with the others.."checking in" type stuff. You never know, people can change over time, and some actually do. The thing is, you have to prioritize your psychological and spiritual well being here. Put on your own oxygen mask on first and all that.

When I got more serious about Buddhist practice one of the first things I noticed is how some of my friends would just find the negative in literally everything, including other people. They would gossip some too. I realized that at one point I was like them - doing that same stuff. Only for some reason now that kind of behavior bothered me, and I didn't want to participate in it anymore. It definitely changed some things for me socially.

I feel like it's easier when you're middle aged, everyone is so busy that no one gets offended by less contact, generally speaking.
Thanks, I think I am going to try just checking in. It's not cutting them out of my life, but it's not letting them have a heavy influence over it ether. Maybe they will change, maybe not. There is no way to know for certain unless I give them a chance.
Post Reply

Return to “Lounge”