So the original post for today was going to discuss friendships, but it seems I've already written it and said pretty much everything I want to say.
It's just that I'm thinking about all of that stuff again lately. I think it's because this week, I was contacted by an old and dear friend I've missed terribly (anyone remember Lady Starfish? 25 pts for you if you do). She was my best friend for years. Even when she moved to Tennessee, we stayed close. Then one day, she didn't return my call. I waited a couple weeks, called again, and that call was not returned, either. I am pretty good at taking a hint, so I admitted defeat: the friendship is over. A few tears in my pillow, and I moved on. I tried not to take it personally. She is the first to admit that she's a crappy friend. This was about 2 years ago.
Every so often, I would think about her, and even try and call her. But to no avail. After a while, I realized I may not ever be able to get in touch with her again: she probably changed her phone number to avoid her psycho ex-husband, she changes jobs a lot and she got re-married to a guy whose last name I don't know. So I basically gave up.
So imagine my surprise when she called me the other day!
Well, she sort of called me. You know how if you hit the wrong button on your phone, you can accidentally call someone? Somehow, she did that to me. I was so excited. But when I picked up, all I could hear was a car radio. She must have been driving somewhere, and the phone was on the seat next to her. I could hear the radio loud and clear, and even hear her rolling the window up and down. But she could not hear me yelling her name. So I gave up. And hung up. And was very sad. So close, but so far. If only...
Today, the rollercoaster friendship started back up again. I got a text message from her, telling me she misses me and is going out of town but wants to catch up on Monday! She apologized for being gone so long! Yay! My friend is back! She must have seen that she accidentally called me.
But I am wary. I am gun-shy. I'm wondering if we can even be close friends again. It's not that I'm not aware that friendships can fluctuate or even wither away. But it is painful, sometimes. She's one of my favorite people, so for her to jump in and out makes me feel...disposable. B-list. Back burner. And it hurts. I think I am going to have to say something about this, when we talk on Monday. Oh, who are we kidding. I KNOW I will say something. I have a big mouth and I think out loud. So we will see. Right now, I am expecting her to not answer her phone on Monday......experience makes you a pessimist. *sigh*
I swear, it's like dating a guy or something. My emotions right now are the same as when an old ex-boyfriend would call me and want to get back together. I have all these questions, and old memories, and a longing to have that person in my life again. But at the same time, didn't we already try this? How can I trust them again? How do I know this will be worth my emotional and time investment? Do I only give it a half-assed try, in order to protect myself? Or should I settle in for the time being, grateful for every moment? Maybe I should keep up some walls for a while. It's only fair, since I've been put on the back burner all this time.
Right now, I am wary. But excited.
Also this week, I have been dealing with the flip side of this situation. There's a girl I used to be friends with. She's very nice, but not very fun. And she makes (what are, in my opinion) stupid decisions. She has a tendency to be negative. A wet blanket. An Eeyore. Looking back, I am surprised I could even tolerate being around her for as long as I was. But when your schedules mesh well, and you can't really come up with a bad reason to stop being someone's friend...you find yourself sort of stuck with them....
Until you can't take it anymore and realize you'd rather just be alone. Which is what happened to me about 2 years ago. So I faded away. I didn't always return calls, and if I did, I cut them short. I cancelled plans, or always had some kind of an excuse. I was hoping this would do the trick -- she would get the hint and move on.
Only, she hasn't. About every 6 months, I will get an email or a phone call. I don't return them, of course. I thought she was done, until she called me. And emailed me. And text messaged me. All in the same day. That day is today.
She is having a big graduation party and wants me to go. While I applaud her achievement, I have ZERO desire to go to the party. She will corner me and expect an explanation for my long absence. Or worse, act like it never happened. The other girls from that "group" will also be there. I have also blown them off for the same reasons. The food might be good, but the party will be lame. It will be awkward, at best. I know everyone will want to know "where I've been" because I'm a "stranger". Which, if you are a woman, you know is just a thin veil for, "WTF? I thought you were my friend!" The best thing I can hope for is that they are all pissed at me, and will refuse to speak to me. This would actually be the best thing to happen, if I go. But do I want to go to a party like that? Um, no.
And yet, I cannot bring myself to reply to any of her attempts at contacting me. What do I say?? I can't go to your party, which isn't until mid-December? Congratulations on working your ass off for the last 3 years, but I can't make it? I don't want to be your friend anymore? Please stop calling me? I'd love to, but I have to clean my house that day?
Any of these replies will either hurt her feelings or open the door for further contact. Neither of which are viable options, from what I can see.
The thought of talking to her fills me with dread and guilt. At the same time, I am even growing a little irritated at her inability to just let sleeping dogs lie. Get. The. Hint. You know?
It's so funny, because I NEVER had these feelings when I dumped a boyfriend. I felt relief. I was happy to move on. If they called me, my attitude was more along the lines of, "WTF do you want?" rather than, "Shit. I am an asshole." -- which is how I feel right now, staring at my phone and its voicemail message from Miss Eeyore.
It's a million times more difficult to blow off a friend than a boyfriend. I can't figure out why. You'd think it'd be worse with the guy -- after all, you have probably seen each other naked. There's an intimacy there. But for some reason, loyalty seems to trump compatibility in friendships. It's sort of the other way around when romance is involved. Look at all the men who have friends from childhood, and despite their obvious differences, they still hang out. Guys don't seem to care. It's like loyalty is the #1 rule. Even if the guy is a lame-o. I don't get this. You can call me selfish, but I think life is too short to spend it with people who bore the shit out of you.
Perhaps it's confusing, because I don't hate her guts or anything. She's still on my myspace friends list. I just don't want to be an active friend to her. If I run into her in the grocery store, fine. Let's have a friendly chat. Catch up. But I do not want to hang out with her over a meal or even a drink. I don't miss her or regret ending the friendship.
And I don't think there's any way to tell someone that without hurting their feelings. So my phone stays where it is, next to me on my desk.
It's so strange, being on both sides of the same coin at the same time. I am excited! No, wait. I'm an asshole. I can't wait to catch up! Why won't you leave me alone? Please remember to call me! Ugh, stop calling me!
With Miss Eeyore, I feel guilt and shame. And empathy. Which only makes the guilt worse. I know exactly how this must make her feel. The confusion. The pain.
With Lady Starfish, I have trust issues. I am hurt. I am resentful. Yet understanding. Because I have been blowing someone off for 2 years, myself. I also worry that I am her Miss Eeyore, and I have finally browbeaten her into calling me.
Is this karma at work? Some surreal metaphor? Is the universe trying to teach me something?
Ugh. Friendships are hard. What should I do?