Pardon me, I'm a little slow...
...but I've finally figured it out.
Misery truly does love company. And birds of a feather really do flock together.
Now, before anyone gets too alarmed, I'm not miserable nor have I sprouted wings and a beak. But I have had the lightbulb go from dim to burning brightly, so if you need shades, don them now.
It hit me while I was driving the few miles to a favorite chinese food place for lunch the other week. I remembered all the times that a former friend of mine (the infamous one from CS) and I would drive out there. And I remembered all the 'letting off of steam' that would occur during those excursions to pick up lunch. I remember one particularly interesting conversation when she worried that I would leave her behind when I ascended to my new position working for the COO because I would have new friends... friends who are decision makers and who have power. And I would be one of them.
I promised I wouldn't leave her behind - I don't care what positions my friends have in a company - that doesn't change the friendship. I lied, I think. I left her behind, but I didn't do so because of new friends, or a new position. I had good reason. She was so darn negative all the damn time. Disenchanted with her job, hated her supervisors, and generally disappointed by the lot that life had given her. I kept telling her that she could affect change, but she basically ran up against that saying it was hopeless.
Ok. More often than not, I dropped it. After all, I had my own issues with the boss I had at the time who became the ex-boss from hell after I became his peer. There were times that I was openly bitter and miserable with her over that whole change. I couldn't stand his boasting, I couldn't stand the ego, I just couldn't take the fact that he wouldn't budge an inch on giving me information that I needed.
As my position changed, and the weather did too, and he started realizing (months later) that I wasn't coming back to the team. He had no control over me and was told to back off by a few people (I learned later) - I became happier. Much, much happier an individual. I was happy with the initial change - that was noticed almost immediately by more than a few people. And then a few more changes made it so that I was truly pleased with the way things were.
I think my former friend couldn't take that, and that's why the negativity upped itself in scale. Or maybe that's my perception of the situation. She couldn't be happy for me - oh, she said she was, but it was clear in her tone that that was not the case. So, she would do and say things to drive me away - I couldn't be miserable with her any longer because my career was doing what I wanted it to, and therefore I wasn't suitable company. I couldn't be a true friend with her because I was happy and she was miserable.
At least that's the excuse that my brain has cooked up now for all of this. I don't know why I keep analyzing it other than we were friends for a good 3 or 4 years and it's interesting seeing her in the office looking down disapprovingly at people over the tops of her librarian style glasses with the chain hanging from the ends. That and the little throat sounds she makes when one walks through the lobby. She's really snippy and rude to all of us who were her circle of friends but have found ways to either maintain a neutral attitude at work, or those who are really happy about what we're doing.
Now she's targeted a guy (as mentioned in a previous blog), but from what it sounds like, they may be perfect together. They both are of the type that they feel oppressed by thier employer to work for a paycheck. They're both occasional downers. I'm a cynic, but a happy one, and that's what I tend to associate with online and offline. It's the birds of a feather theory in action.
So, that's what I'm chalking it up to - misery truly does indeed love company, and can't thrive without it. Miserable people support other miserable people. It's the perfect dysfunctional dependancy cycle...
...but I'd rather be a happy bird.