The subject is how you treat friendships, and which concept applies to you: Are you a Universalist or a Particularist on regards to this? NOTE: Will appreciate it if you have further information in the subject. I am looking for good sources to read about this, so for now I will not add a link for it. I’d also appreciate it if you read Sulz post since this is my reply to it, and bear with me for now.
This is very interesting. I think I have heard about this concept somewhere, but I never paid too much attention until now. Right now it’s perfect for me to learn about this, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently… how do I treat my friendships and why.
Still, I don’t know if I can draw a line and just place myself on one side or the other. But I guess I’m much more of a Particularist. I will consider every situation taking on account the specific factors that apply to THAT situation, and will change my point of view if given new evidence. There is nothing that is Universal enough to be applied for every situation or relationship…
In regards to friendships, I am NOT an all-or-nothing person. On the contrary, everything is gradual and full of gray shades to the point I don’t think there’s anything white or black in this area. My opinion towards a particular friendship change according to situation and the changes are rarely definitive. I’m always open to learn why they do this or that, and I believe I can be extremely understanding, even when it hurts me. I have developed good empathy powers, and I have become able to place myself in the other person’s place until I almost forget my own point of view. Almost… I do value my happiness, and I’m not such a good friend at times. If I’m overwhelmed by something I’m likely to withdraw and not feel like interacting with the people around me, no matter how much I care. I’ve realized not everyone shares my ability to just understand the situations like I do with other people… and not everyone understands that even though I might withdraw from time to time, being pretty much oblivious to everything that is happening around me to the point I might not notice that you’re having a bad time if you don’t tell me. This does not mean I don’t care about you. If you could somehow let me know that you need me, you’ll realize that I’ve always been there and will probably not go away no matter what I do or what you do.
It’s not a sign that I can be stepped on and will be unconditional just because I want to stay friends with you. This would make me prone to getting slapped on the face all over the place several times. It would be a sign of neediness, and would make me extremely vulnerable to abuse.
I like to think that I like to decide what value I put in a relationship, depending on many different factors, but NOT depending on the level of correspondence of the other person. How I feel about YOU will be independent (as much as it can be) of how you feel about ME. If it happens to be equal, you will probably become my best friend, but it’s not the main objective (although desirable). I know I have friends who I love considerably more than I think they love me, but it doesn’t become a problem because I’m aware I don’t want to define my value of the friendship by trying to guess where the other person is. To me it is a game where you’ll most likely fail, if you’re expecting everyone to feel for you the same way you feel about them.
I might fall in love with you, and stay in love with you even if I know you’re not in love with me. It is completely independent. On a smaller scale it is like my blogroll. I place there the blogs I LOVE to read, not caring the less if they love reading mine the same way. I might feel like giving you a present, not caring the less if you’re giving me one back. I am not playing games with you, I am not playing a competition on who loves who more. I am going to love you based on everything but your correspondence. If you correspond me with the same level of love, awesome! But I’m still aware the dynamics might change anytime if new situations arise.
I am also aware that there are people who love me considerably more than I love them. And if they are Universalists, I’m sure it might become a problem…
and it has.