Do you remember the book girl who ignored my messages and talked about herself or her writing the entire time? Well, things came to a head as far as that situation was concerned, and I felt it was the time to talk about friendship.
They’re funny, aren’t they? Friends? Sometimes they’re there for you through thick and thin, your BFF forevs. The next thing you know, they’re gone. Poof. Vanished. You won’t even know what happened. They could be your ride or die through the most ridiculous situations in life, and it’ll be the one stupidest thing that breaks you apart. In some cases, forever.
I’ve long since come to the realisation that your friends will change as you age, and your needs from those friends will change too. Once upon a time, this particular friend was one I NEEDED in order to get through a breakup or life drama. Almost as if I couldn’t have survived it without her. At the same time, she lived for my relationship ups and downs, giving me the words of her wisdom and generally being an all-round there-for-you kinda chick. When did things change? I’m not sure. Somewhere around a couple of years ago, when she went on to have a couple of kids and I … didn’t.
We’ve never really had that much in common, but now it feels like we have less than ever. What doesn’t help is the fact we haven’t kept in touch half as much as we should have done. We wouldn’t exactly know whether or not we had anything in common because we barely talk about anything.
I looked back over a few of our messages, the last year or so, and it upset me. Firstly, there weren’t half as many messages as there should have been and it didn’t take me long to work my way through them, and secondly, she NEVER asks about my life.
It really upset me. Like, really upset me. I was going to text her and ask her why? Why she never asks how I am or what I’m up to. Why I was following all of her personal and author accounts and she wasn’t following any of my businessy ones, only my personal one. I wanted to know why I seemed to ‘like’ a hundred and one of her posts and updates each week, but I never seemed to catch her liking any of mine. I know it was petty, but the situation was really starting to get to me.
When I text her to tell her there was a chance that the bad cells on my cervix had come back, she told me that life was better without kids and then started to talk about her publisher.
When I told her my Nana had died of dementia, she responded with a sad face and then went on to talk about her grandfather, who also has dementia. She barely acknowledged what I said. It was almost as if I should feel bad for mentioning that my Nana had died when her grandfather was sick and could suffer the same fate. In fact, I’m sure I even apologised for saying it.
When I text her to say George Michael had died (because that’s the kind of crap we used to text each other), she didn’t respond.
“Merry Christmas!” came five days late from her, and I didn’t bother saying it on the day because it kinda felt like she was pissed at me and I wasn’t really sure why.
There were message-exchanges where she wouldn’t send me a single word. She would just send pictures of new hair or tattoos, and once I’d responded with a compliment, I wouldn’t hear anything back.
Over the last year, she has not ONCE asked: “How are you?” The ONLY time she has EVER invited a conversation that goes two-ways, and not just her talking AT me for a few messages, is when she was asking about my fella. And even then, she simply asked, “You moving in with him?” and then didn’t respond to my response.
As I realised all this, I also realised something else. My mind rushed back to when I was moving in with Bear and out of my old house and I came across all this stuff I’d bought for this friend and never sent to her. All the letters I’d written, or half-started, and then never sent. Never even pushed into an envelope. If we’re talking about being a shitty friend, I’m probably one of the worst. I’ve had my head shoved so far up my own ass the past few years that I’ve lost 100% of my friend circle and I’m still not entirely sure who’s fault it was each time. If I wanted this friend to change, I would need to change too. I went home and wrote her a letter. We used to write each other love letters all the time. Handwritten ones. Lovely ones to both read and send. I also sent her a message. It was a TimeHop thing that we’d written years ago, adorable as fuck. If anything’s gonna make her crack and get the conversation going, that’ll be it. I sent it, put the phone down, and got to work.
A couple of hours later, I checked my phone. Nothing. I didn’t get too worked up about it. She’s a busy author, mum-of-two, and we have the whole time difference to think about too.
A couple of days later, I sent Bear out the door with a parcel to take to the post office.
“Oh, wait, Bear. I got an international letter I need you to take too. I just need to write the address on it.”
I grabbed my phone and opened up my messages … I never asked her for her address. She didn’t respond to the cute TimeHop message and I never got the chance to ask her for her address. Well, that seals it then, I’ve upset her. But what the fuck have I done?
The next few days after that, her Facebook posts seemed to be the first thing I’d see every morning. It would make me cry. Why? Why didn’t she respond to me? Why is she mad at me? What have I done? After the third morning of the same wailing routine, I figured I’d best do something about it. Torn between feeling petty and not wanting to ruin the whole book experience she had going on, and desperately wanting to find out what was going on, I figured I’d unfollow her. I wouldn’t see the posts. I wouldn’t be upset that she hadn’t responded. I would calm down and then figure shit out.
Except I didn’t unfollow her, did I? I unfriended her. Oooops.
I didn’t even realise until she sent me a heartbroken text a couple of days ago, which I’m pretty sure makes me look like an even bigger cunt-friend. In the midst of a serious month-long Facebook cull, I hadn’t unfollowed her as I wanted, I’d actually unfriended her. And made her really sad to boot, apparently.
I explained that I hadn’t actually meant to unfriend her, but I had meant to unfollow her, and then I explained why she had upset me. I was friendly. I admitted that I was in the wrong also, and I decided to undo my shit-friend-ness by actually being a good friend but she hadn’t responded to me. Again.
There was quite a lot of back and forth, but one thing seemed very clear from the beginning. She was very upset about the unfriend, and that would be the only thing we were focusing on right now. I explained that I hadn’t actually intended to eradicate her entirely from my life, but I didn’t feel it was fair to be woken up to sadness and tears every morning because her posts would be the first thing I’d see, yet she wouldn’t respond to my messages.
I told her she hadn’t asked me how I was for years. She told me I should have just told her stuff. She shouldn’t need to ask me. I tried to explain that when I would ask how she was, she would tell me how she was, I would say, “Good for you!” or something along those lines because the news was generally positive, and then she would say, “Thanks!” That’s it. There’s no back and forth. No, “How about you?” or “What have you been doing?” It was all very one-sided. She didn’t understand though. She just kept saying that she’d not once felt the need to unfriend to unfollow me, no matter what I’d done.
Okay, so what have I done? And whatever is it, I’m sorry for it. Nothing. She didn’t say anything.
She asked me where I wanted to go from here, and I kinda felt like telling her to stuff it. You can’t ask me why I’m upset and then tell me I’m wrong for feeling the way I feel. The things I said … they actually happened. Like, they’re still there, in text form. I can still see them. I can still reference them, if necessary. I didn’t though. I put the phone down to calm down and wrote a blog post instead. This situation seems to be following a very disturbing trend lately. People upset or offend me, they ask me why, I tell them why, and then they tell me I’m wrong in feeling the way I feel.
Really? Like, ALL of those situations I’m in the wrong for? Nah. I ain’t having that.
I think this friend and I are just going to need to agree to disagree. The woman who couldn’t text me back after I’d sent a heartfelt message, and yet, in the same breath, was so heartbroken upon realizing I’d [accidentally] unfriended her, it crushed her heart.
I love her. I do. And I think I need to accept that’s just how she is. I think that’s the thing about friendship, especially over the course of a few years. You change and evolve, turning into entirely different people. You want different things, develop different opinions, and think that different things are socially acceptable. This is probably even more so the case when there’s an ocean and a time difference between you. Is she really so in the wrong? Or is that just how our friendship is? Always was? Perhaps all we ever did was send five or six text messages talking about ourselves before disappearing for a few months again and I’m just super sensitive to it now? I don’t think that’s the case but, of course, I wouldn’t.
I don’t know who’s right or wrong in this situation, but do I really want to lose someone who I’ve respected for eight years? A woman who I’ve never actually had a bad word to say about? Is this just a breakdown in communication, or is she just a selfish mare who doesn’t ever want to talk about me? I mean, she said she wanted me to tell her about my life and my stuff, but when I did that, we just ended up talking about her again. If I wanted a conversation like that, I’d call my mother …
Friends, friends, friends … Tricky stuff, eh?