I said something supportive to an online friend and she sweetly replied. Her reply really touched me. Because that is how I perceive myself to be. Sweet and supportive. So why am I so lousy at friendship? Was there a class I missed? If I can cause a reaction like that just from writing words that I would have spoken had we been in the same room.
Or maybe I wouldn’t. Perhaps I say the wrong things at the wrong time. It’s got to be something I do. The thing is, no one has ever pointed out why I make a lousy friend. Back in school, my “friends” would occasionally ditch me. We’d make plans for Friday, except on Friday my best friend would say she was staying home. Then on Monday someone would let slip that the whole gang went out without me. Why would they do that? I guess I was the sometimes friend. The one who filled in when no one else was around. I guess I was pretty good at being the sometimes friend. Maybe that’s when I failed to develop that special characteristic that others have when it comes to friendships.
I’ve blogged a little about my lack of friends, but today it really hit me. I do try to make friends, and I think I make a fairly good first impression. Somewhere though, things go south. Right now I am still in touch with a woman I worked with for two years, three years ago. We have each been to the other’s house for dinner and I think they were a great success. I have tried to be supportive of her financial situation. She has not worked much in the last two years and money is really tight. We email each other, and promise to get together before summer’s end. Is that it? Are we dyed in the wool friends now? I doubt I would come racing to her side in an emergency. I believe she has much closer friends than I.
But what is the next step in friendship? Do we just continue to try to get together, managing to see each other 6 times a year? Mind you, we don’t live in the same city, and are about 1/2 hour away (if there is no traffic). I think living in LA hurts your friendships because most of the people you will meet are working relationships and people leave jobs faster than they move, but they spend little time at home because they are too busy making a 3 hour commute.
I had a friend who supported me through a bad time. Unfortunately, I talked too much about private things and when my H and I got back together, she couldn’t stand it. She was upset with me and very angry with him. They couldn’t be in the same room together. I had to choose, and I chose my husband. I emailed her just recently, apologizing for being such a rotten friend, and asking her to understand why I felt I had to choose. She responded flatly that she hoped I was doing well. Another one bites the dust.
My childhood best friend recently unfriended me. I say recently, but it’s probably been 6 months. Time has a way of getting away from me. I figure it’s because I forgot to send her a birthday card. Again. If she really knew me, she’d know I hadn’t sent a card on time in 30 years. But she didn’t know, or maybe she was just hurt I forgot, again. I felt bad about it, but at the time of her last birthday I was in the midst of a crisis and leaving my job. She didn’t know anything about it, of course, but if we were still close, she would have. But she didn’t know. or care enough to jot me an email to razz me about forgetting her birthday. Just unfriended me. Maybe she expected me to make the next move and apologize, but why, if she turned her back on me? Am I wrong to feel hurt? I’m willing to admit to any mistakes I made, and I figure most of the mistakes were mine.
For a number of years I went on as if I had lots of friends, when all I really had were some acquaintances I worked with and got along well with. I just figured this is today’s friendships. We didn’t go to lunch together. They never invited me to Happy Hour.
Then there are my H’s friends. I’ve known some of them now over 20 years, yet I don’t feel any one of them is my friend. I did for a while, but realized the last time we all got together, that not one of them ever directed a question or comment to me. I was never excluded, but I wasn’t really included either. It could be it was because I was the only wife who attended these little gettogethers. Individually, it seemed all of the guys really liked me. But the last few times we had lunch I felt like a fifth wheel. I no longer go to lunch with the boys, and no one seems to mind.
Of the last bunch of “friends” from work, only one of them makes much of an effort to stay in touch with me. The rest of them expect me to drive three hours round trip to have lunch with them, when none but one has acted like I would expect, and at least occasionally drop me an email, or phone call. Do I expect too much of friends today?
Again, I am left with more questions than answers. Perhaps that’s the root of my problem. I always need to know why. Why do people seem to really like me, only to realize down the road that I was merely tolerated.
Are my feelers out of joint? Do I expect too much of friends? Is there a book out there I should read? It’s no wonder I tend to isolate and climb inside my head. It’s easier to be alone sometimes.