How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year?
Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
Hmm, this is interesting. I'll throw out one little thing.
I have this one friend, whom I like very very much. But I figured out over the course of the past year that we have a hard time talking about jobs (at the same time that I very much enjoy talking about jobs with hir because 1] law students are, generally, obsessed with jobs, and 2] zie's much more tied in to the law school network than I am, and has good gossip!). And I think this difficulty may be because this friend feels I have been more successful than zie in getting the jobs I want?
What's funny is that I would never say that I think I've been more successful getting jobs than zie has, because I don't think about our friendship in that way. For one thing, I'm pretty sure this friend has a higher GPA and class rank than I do (which is a bigger deal in my head for some reason), and is overall a better student than I am. But if I stop and look at what's happened in the last two years, I can identify three significant jobs (or job-like situations) that I got and zie didn't (not that we were usually up for literally the same job, just comparable job categories, if that makes any sense).
I think I figured this out in a sudden burst as a result of gradual changes - as different job application periods have come and gone, little things kind of built up until I was feeling slightly uncomfortable (and I tend not to notice such things as directed at me until they're fairly obvious, honestly). And one day I think I suddenly realized that this tension explained a lot of what was kind of confusing me.
This has changed my perspective because mostly, I know what it feels like to see other people get jobs that you wanted. And it's very strange even to suspect that I'm on the other side of that equation now. (Because, believe me, there are still plenty of jobs I've wanted that I haven't got!) But basically, I thinkbasically, this friend sees me as competition, and I've never felt like I was competition to anyone in the past. In the general sense, where everyone in my law school to some extent competes for the same thing. But not in a specific sense, directed at me, personally. (And I do think that sense of competition is being directed at me, if unconsciously, given that there are other people whom I've actually beat out for specific jobs from whom I don't get that feeling at all.)
But it is probably a valuable thing to learn, how to cope with this, and to learn what it feels like to be the person who makes someone unhappy by getting something they wanted, rather than the other way around (if that sentence makes any sense). I'm not sure I'm always the most sensitive to how my friend feels about this, but I'm trying to be. But I'm also acknowledging that sometimes zie makes me uncomfortable about this, and that when that happens, it's really not about me as much as it is about hir (as it's been about me, when I've been in hir position in the past).
Wow, I hope that made SOME sense.
(I'm also not entirely sure whether this friend just wishes zie'd gotten the jobs that I have - if it's even that conscious a feeling - or feels that zie should have gotten them over me. But that's a different issue, and I'm just ignoring anything that might suggest the latter unless/until it becomes something impossible to ignore.)