Sunday, March 21, 2010

A friendish weekend, sort of

This is a weird question but I'm curious, does everyone get burned by people they thought were friends? To be fair I have a handful of good people in my life who care for me and who I feel I can trust. But it seems that friendships over the past few recent years have really had the power to hurt.

A friend we thought we were close to had a huge birthday bash for their son. We kept getting texts from other mutual friends at the party wondering what other plans we had that we couldn't attend. We weren't invited. It was strange since I talk to R regularly, and Jack and her husband work together, play football together, and get lunch once a week. It was strange enough that I had to ask her what happened. She said we didn't attend her son's birthday last year because Jack wanted to play football instead, and that we didn't have kids. I was pregnant with Speck last year and her party was for 10am. I had morning sickness with him and getting up at 8am to attend a 10am party on a Saturday morning would have triggered a bad day for me. She assumed we chose not to go for a football game and decided to ban us this year. And- I know I'm pregnant now but it still stings to be told I was not invited somewhere because we don't have kids. Those words still have the power to burn, and I'm surprised she said this since she knows about my losses and struggles.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a former friend who e-mailed to apologize for cutting off all ties with no explanation nearly three years ago. You all gave me great advice with lots of different perspectives but most of you felt no reply was necessary. I saw her last night at a wedding. I figured if I ran into her I'd say hi but during the wedding our paths didn't cross. At the end of the wedding Jack and I lingered with some friends outside when Z came to leave. She came up to me and and hugged me and kissed my cheek. We smiled and idle talked for a few minutes before she left. Because of what y'all said, and my mom and Jack, I am choosing not to pursue the issue- but it left me so sad. It was like seeing an ex boyfriend you thought was the one. But the quote Lilly shared with me by Maya Angelou when people show you who they are, believe them- the first time, sticks with me and despite missing her, I feel I must keep my distance. It's just such a strange thing to still miss a friend despite the span of three years.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who has this sort of thing happen. If facebook is any indication the rest of the world is singing kumbaya. Jack says this is not true. That this is common- it happens- that in this world you're lucky to have a handful of friends over the course of a lifetime that you can truly lean on.

Is this true for you? Because honestly, I'm getting tired of the games and the drama. I appreciate the handful of friends who I can rely on, but it seems sometimes its just not worth it to keep trying to expand your social circle because your odds of getting burned are high.


  1. Yes, I find it true as well. I have friends but only a few that I feel I can trust wholeheartedly. I don't really have any friends that I talk to everyday except my husband.

    I don't have any sisters (albeit step) and I have always fantasized about living next to a best friend that I do everything with. Coffee and talking and visiting and what not. I think that would be so awesome. I do feel lonely sometimes. I have 3 female cousins that live near here but only really talk to at family functions.

    There is something seriously wrong with that one chickadee who cut all ties off with you. I would not even give her the time of day as painful as that may be.

    And yes, my "circle" of friends all have young children and because I don't I get "left out" of their social networking all the time. It doesn't feel very good at all.

  2. Wow. I'm sorry about both situations. To be honest, I think R's reaction - blacklisting you from the party without ever speaking to you about the reason you didn't come the year prior - is juvenile. I know she's your friend, but adults talk things out, they don't ban each other based on assumptions. And frankly, no matter what she thought, banning you is simply junior high antics in my humble opinion.

    I have to agree with Jack on this one. Of course, I'm no social butterfly and between deaths, leaving my job, and infertility, I have virtually no friends left to speak of. Not real friends. Not the kind you can trust and really lean on. I haven't had that in a very long time. I find as an adult it is much, much harder to find good friends. And relationships, most of them anyhow, seem fleeting. It's why I think family is so important. No matter what, I will always have PB and SS.

    However, I don't think it's a waste of time to try and expand your social network a little. Who knows? There could be a friend soulmate out there that you won't find if you don't look. Goodness knows I wish I had someone to ring up every once in awhile. And I miss those friendships that I once thought would be forever.

  3. Myndi and E, thank you so much for being able to relate to this. I don't have sisters and so there is that craving for a female who you can talk to. TV and movies make it seem common and easy but in my life it just hasn't been that way. I mean, my closest friends live at least 1,000 miles away from me. . . and its just tough sometimes. I really like to think I'm a good person and a good friend but its hard to find that reciprocated most times it seems.

  4. I wish I had some wise words of advice on this one, but I really don't. I have gotten burned by friends in the past, but it was WAY in the past (high school and college). Since graduating, DH and I have been so busy with working full time, night grad school, infertility, and then relocating that our problem is more that we haven't built friendships close enough to have the ability to burn us. That is changing now, slowly.

    I wouldn't use facebook as any sort of reflection of real life. I refuse to even join because it seems like one big high school reunion to me -- let me advertise how awesome my life is!!! I don't think so.

    Anyway, sending you big (((hugs))) and hoping that once sunflower arrives, you can connect with some nice, normal, trustworthy mamas.

  5. Based on everything I've ever read on your blog, you're a wonderful person, and those women are crazy to treat you as they do. Wish I lived close by so we could hang out!
    I don't have very many friends either. I'm pretty introverted, and my best friend is most definitely DH. I've got a couple friends from high school who I keep in touch with, but they live a 2h drive away and in the depths of Africa. Another close friend is in Germany. 2 from uni are a 4 hour flight and a 5 hour dirive away. Two from med school and residency are in town, but we're all busy and don't see or speak to each other often.
    I'm sure it doesn't help that I've been so obsessed over the IF and pregnancy stuff for years - not much interest in going out for drinks or dinner or socializing. And the two friends in town have gigantic other social networks of their own.
    I guess I'm a friendless loser! Hopefully both of us will find some lovely new friends through our babies and the mothers groups or playgroups I'm sure we'll end up in. Hopefully I'll be able to find more friends and be more outgoing for my daughter's sake!

  6. Hello, my name is Kait and I just found your blog through ICLW (I'm #127 on the list - I really appreciated your post today. I too have been writing a lot about friendships lately. Since I had my ectopic last summer and am now pregnant, I've been watching so many friendships change in ways I wouldn't have expected. It's been very hard. I even bought two books about friendship, hoping to make sense of things and get some advice on how to handle the disappointment and drifting apart. So I would way yes, I definitely have experienced major set backs in the friend arena, and I'm so sorry that you are experiencing them as well. I LOVED that Maya Angelou quote you shared. I'm going to remember that in the future because I think it would save me a lot of heartache. I'm just subscribed to your blog on my google reader and can't wait to continue reading. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I don't have many friends I consder 'close', and partly because I was screwed over by two of them in the past. Both were friends from college, and both were very involved in my life. One, I was her son's Godmother, and the other was a bridesmaid in my wedding. The stories are long and complicated, but I trusted them, and they both hurt me. Bad, and stupidely I let BOTH of them back in my life thinking it was just a 1 time thing... But none the less, I was wrong, and they screwed me over again, and so they helped me realize that people get one shot, fuck me over, I'm done. Period. It's not worth the heart ache.

  8. I really like that Maya Angelou quote. It's so true. I think it's a lot easier to think about what we're doing wrong, when most likely it is something in the other person's life. And it may have nothing to do with you at all, but something may prevent them from continuing the relationship. I, too, keep a small handful of really close friends. I like it that way. I enjoy my bigger circle of fun friends and acquaintances, but for me, it feels cozy and safe to have a handful of really great and dependable people that I know I can always count on.

    Lots of luck to you with working through the relationships. As for your friend, I think you should just tell her that you would have loved to have been invited. And tell her your reason for not going last year. Hopefully she had your best interest in mind and didn't want to put you in a weird situation with a ton of kids.

    Happy ICLW!

  9. oh my gosh is this accurate for me, especially today. But first I need to were blacklisted for not attending last year!?!?! RUDE! That makes me so sad for you.

    I also feel like I am constantly getting burned by people who I thought were my friends. I have found that it is true that you only ever really have a handful of true, good friends.

    This was made abundantly clear to me yesterday when most of my friends did not attend my baby's 1st birthday. This was a massive day for us as at one point we did not believe he would live to see his 1st birthday (paranoia following the death of our last baby) and only a handful of people turned up.

    And I do understand what you are saying about facebook as well - I am often jealous of what I see on other peoples pages. Isnt that silly? To the outside world it would appear that I too am popular as my facebook is pretty full of loveliness at times - but to be honest they are mostly my internet friends!

    Where my IRL friends let me down, so often my internet friends do not. It sounds silly but at times they (you all) are my lifeline!

    I (and my partner) have decided to focus on the few wonderful true friends we have and let the rest do as they please. If we are included in their lives, great. If not...well we will not be mourning their loss!

    I'll be your friend :)

  10. WOW! Your post hits home on so many levels. It is true when you wear you expand your social group you end of putting your heart on your sleeve to wear. This is where and when you get burnt. I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. I have been there, and sadly enough I even have family that does the same things that you described in this post when definitely they shouldn't. Huge hugs to you, b/c with friends like that you sure don't need enemies. I wish I could offer more advice, but as I said I find myself in these circumstances way to many times myself.

    Happy ICLW!

  11. i have found this to be true in seasons of my life as well...i am learning to take my time trusting people and am careful not to use a false sense of intimacy/trust/closeness to ease my anxieties around being alone. i think this is what has gotten me into awkward/painful situations in the past...and i, too, have a friend whom i considered very close until i felt she betrayed me two years ago (mere weeks after my first m/c she told me she was pregnant and due one day after i would have been---which she new all along and chose to keep to herself until she was "safely" into her second trimester...i thought i would kill her i felt so hurt, angry and jealous)...i still miss her a lot, but i know that there's just simply too much water under the bridge between us and far too many smaller hurts i let go which then led to the big blow up between us. in truth i wasn't true to myself in that friendship and that's so much of why it erupted the way it did.
    all of this to say, yes, i have my share (or more!) of broken relationships and it makes me sad...but i do have a close few whom i trust will be there for the long haul b/c of the ways we are able to talk about what we are each feeling---shitty feelings toward each other and all.
    i think that's really all i can ask for...a few friends i really trust.
    just curious, where did you leave things with the b-day party friend?

  12. I so relate to you. I've always been trusting that people would treat me the way I treated them. I've always given them the benifit of the doubt. I've been screwed over way to many times so I have 2 or 3 close friends that I would trust with my life. Everyone else I'm friendly with but I don't share enough of myself so I don't get hurt. No one gets my blind trust anymore.

    I'm sorry you have to go through this all over again.

    Happy ICLW!

  13. This is so true. Friends are so hard to find and keep. What is with all the drama! We are supposed to be adults. Good luck to you.
    Stopping by from ICLW!

  14. I was best friends with a girl, M, through high school and we roomed together our first year in college. (Mistake!) By the end of our first semester she had moved out and we were no longer speaking to each other.

    Fast forward 6 years later and we find each other on FB and rekindle the friendship. We got along great and had fun. I stood up in her wedding and by the time my wedding rolled around we were starting to drift slowly apart again but I asked her to stand up in mine.

    She became more and more distant, not showing up to a lot of my pre-wedding GTGs and giving lame excuses. After the wedding we hardly spoke. She just chose to remove herself from my life without explanation. She showed me who she was in college and I chose to give her a second chance - she just reinforced what she had already shown me. Our friendship just wasn't as important to her as it was to me. I now spend my energy on friends who matter to me as much as I matter to them.

    ICLW #59

  15. Thank you so much everyone for giving me perspective and for your kind words. It seems everyone can relate and while that is sad, its also comforting to know that this is a part of life.

    Lilly, when I got the response from R about why I was not invited I wrote her back (this was done via e-mail) and told her why I didn't go to her son's birthday party last year. I needed her to know that what she assumed was incorrect and I had a legitimate reason for not attending last year. She never responded to that e-mail. It's interesting how we can bear a grudge or hurt feelings over a perception we have about another's actions or priorities when in truth it was something else entirely. I hope to remember that lesson in my own life.

  16. I don't have many close friends but I do have friends that even though we may not speak for a long time, we can just pick up where we left off. My therapist once asked me if I prefer such friendships to save myself from being hurt by my percieved 'fickleness' of former friends. I had a think (back to high school and college friends) and I felt that was pretty true. I didn't like the concept of being a friend of the week and being replaced by newer or trendier models.

    Sometimes I wish I had a female friend IRL to share with. However, I have some amazing blog friends who have been so phenomenal!!! I think I've found a happy medium.


  17. It's happened to me a couple of times. It sucks, it hurts but your Maya Angelu quotes some it up perfectly.

    I still miss my friends and the fun times but I can't trust them again so I can't be their friend again.


  18. Yes this is true. I feel the same exact way. Infact the one person who I thought was my best friend for a few years now... forgot my birthday... didn't wish me a happy birthday or anything! I guess in a way its not the same thing but feels that way...

    ICLW 17

  19. I have had friends like this as well. Thankfully, I have cut those types of people out of my life and the wonderful supportive friends I have now are as against needless drama as I am. But it took a lot of decisions to get to that point. And even with my current close circle, they still don't quite understand IF. They want to, and I can tell they are sympathetic, but they really don't understand it.

  20. Oh I've definitely had that happen before. Those people I realize are not true friends and I don't need to waste my time on them. It still hurts though. I have real freinds that have stood by me through all of the infertility craziness and I know they are true freinds. Sorry this person hurt you, but know you are not alone.

    ICLW #28

  21. It's such a shame that someone would say something so harsh.

    ICLW #113/114

  22. it is true, and some of the friends in my handful are people i had falling outs with at one time, i gave them a second chance (sometimes after years) and i'm glad i did. i'm not saying that's what you should do, you should do what makes you comfortable, i'm just telling you what my experience has been

  23. I can definitely relate, though I'll admit a lot of the reason I don't have a ton of friends is bc I never put in the effort. I've been hurt so many times in the past that I've almost given up on the idea of having a group of local girlfriends. Not to mention I'm just all about family lately, I have no time for friends. An infant and toddler will do that to you! ;)

    it's not you. It's normal, even if pop culture tells you otherwise. :)

  24. I am sad to say that I can totally relate. Infertility has changed so many of my friendships in a negative way. I feel like we don't fit in anymore because we don't have kids. I also feel like we are excluded from certain things for the same reasons. It can really sting ... and the shittiest part of it is I don't see it changing so long as we're on the wrong side of intertility. It sucks...

    I'm sorry you were excluded - I know how much that can hurt.

  25. I too get really upset when someone excludes me for no good reason. Very uncool of your friend--it's just silly middle-school drama! I'm sorry you're dealing with that nonsense. But it's true, you just don't need someone like that in your life, and now you know her true colors. Ugh, I just don't know what's wrong with people sometimes!