I am one lucky girl to have a couple of decades-long friends. You’ve met Diana. She’s a gem. There’s also Ginger, you haven’t met on this blog yet, but will sometime around Easter. She’s been in my life since kindergarten!! That’s a LONG time ago folks!
These are people who stay with you no matter how stupid you are or what dumb things you say. And in return you are there for them, no matter what. But the underlying sentiment is that you love them, for who they are, all they bring to the relationship. Like a marriage in many ways, but without telling them to roll over because they are snoring!
I consider myself a pretty good friend. I make all kinds of effort to stay connected. Not because I feel I should but because I love to! I call. I send birthday cards. I email. I text. I ask. I listen. I laugh. I cry. I care. I genuinely care. I blog about friends too! How many friends can say that? I don’t choose friends because they share any particular values or ideas. I have friends across political lines and values lines.
But when out of the blue one friend tells you off in an email, goes on about how I’ve been flippant about something she is going through, and adds insult to injury telling me I’ve been tepid about her child’s upcoming wedding, and worse, says she’s irritated about something I did two years ago, gee, maybe it’s time to think about the merits of this friendship.
But actually, I didn’t stop and think. My instinct after I was thrown under the bus was to apologize, to say of course I care, of course I didn’t mean to be flip.
I’ve known this woman for almost twenty-seven years. We have very different lives and lifestyles. Very different children. Very different spouses. Some similar ground on politics but she never really liked to talk politics so I stayed away from that subject. She and her family are sports fiends. Me, not a fiend, but I certainly enjoy a good football or baseball game but never the same team as she. So when the Giants won and her Eagles didn’t, she didn’t want to talk sports. She didn’t like to be asked questions. She didn’t like to share much about herself as a rule, but I do think over the years she told me more than she told anyone else. No secrets mind you, just things girlfriends talk about.
We DID love the same music and she had a spot-on sense of humor. Maybe that was our only real bond. Or so I thought, until a wise-crack I made was interpreted as being flippant and uncaring.
And the longer I thought about our friendship, the more I realized it was anything but. I honestly think she didn’t like me but put up with me because we’d known each other so long. And finally had enough and let me have it. And I’ve got to add, this wasn’t the first time she took me to the mat. A few years ago she got angry with me over something similar – telling me that I didn’t care.
So I took a deep breath, had some distance after vacation, and emailed her to say that I thought she was an amazing woman – wife and mother and concerned citizen – but that I was not interested in waiting for the next time she decided she didn’t like something I said.
I thought I’d be more upset about this loss than I am. I actually think I’m a bit relieved. So maybe I didn’t like her either all that much and this was a good way to move on.