I’ve been meaning to post on this topic for quite sometime now. It’s been about a year and a half since a good friend and I parted ways and it still bothers me. The main reason it bothers me is that after over a decade of friendship, I’m an uber-bitch one time (I was pregnant, tired, strung out on hormones, and cranky – not an excuse, but you know, context and all) and all of a sudden I’m not friend material anymore?

But of course, some background. This person was one of my dearest friends. We lived together once in college and once after graduation. We kept in touch through multiple major moves (either out of state or across the state) and talked via IM almost every single day. She was in my wedding party and I thought every thing with her was great.

Then I got pregnant and I had a feeling that she was having a hard time with it, that she really wasn’t that excited about it. It felt the same way she had been when I was getting married. I know she has her own issues, so I tried not to be hurt about it. But then she told me she wasn’t that excited about my being pregnant and afterward, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing with her anything about it anymore. We spoke mostly of other things but when it’s your first pregnancy, that tends to fill your whole world. Eventually, she worked through her issues but the damage had been done.

Then, about halfway through my pregnancy, I invited her to visit for the weekend. The day before she came up, I wasn’t feeling too excited about visit and was feeling that it was a burden. (I was really really tired.) My mistake was telling her about how I was feeling. As a result, she was already colored by what I had said, and since I was rather cranky, (and I do have a tendency to be a bitch), she was very hurt and avoided me all weekend and spent a lot of time with her other friends. Needless to say, I was relieved when she cut short her visit. Relieved yet hurt and confused.

A few weeks later, after many unanswered calls, she finally emailed me telling me how hurt she was by my behavior over that weekend. In fact, she said she was surprised that I called her afterward since I made it clear that she was unwelcome in my life. I found that astonishing. How could anyone think that one bad weekend after over a decade of friendship would be indicative of no longer wanting to be friends?

We exchanged a series of emails wherein we aired some things out. Basically, she didn’t feel as if we were on the same page anymore in life. She said:

For a while now (much before the pregnancy) I have felt some distance from you based more on life-view than life-circumstance. It’s more based on a very divergent life path in terms of values, choices, perspectives, etc. than marriage or single, pregnant or not. I still value the history we shared together, and really love you, but sometimes now it’s hard to relate to you and to understand what is driving you (perhaps you feel the same way about me). I know this because I have some close friends who are married, and/or have kids, and yet we can still share certain connections based on deeper kinds of commitments. It’s on those deeper kinds of commitments where I feel like you and I have diverged. And I feel like I am open to hearing more about yours, but sometimes that you don’t really want to share about it or feel pushed if I ask about underlying motives, etc. I don’t want to make you defensive, but mostly just ask to get to know you, since your thoughts are quite different from mine.

Whew. That was a mouthful, but I didn’t want to mess it up by paraphrasing. I understood where she was coming from, of course. At that point in my life, I really didn’t want to think deeply about my life. I was coasting and cruising along and was fine with that. I can also see how it was very hard on her since she feels things deeply.

I responded to her and then, nothing. (I think I was pretty gracious in my email even though I was still pretty pissed. As if my values were all of sudden not holy enough or righteous enough or whatever. I know that’s not what she meant, but that’s the way it felt.)

After that, I emailed her a few times, giving updates and checking in with her but got either no or brief responses. When I visited the area where she lived, I always checked to see if she was free to hang out, but she always deferred. In fact, one time, I got a response that made me livid.

She wrote, “What I think would be fun is maybe if you are hanging out with a few people at some point or something, like if there are other people you want to see down here, maybe I could join in on the group activity?”

I realize I was probably overly sensitive by this point, but really? She thinks it would be fun? I was incensed. If she didn’t want to hang out with me then she should just say it. (Although, I guess she had been implying it with her actions, right?) After that, I stopped asking.

I’m still somewhat bewildered by this whole situation. I just don’t understand how such a long friendship can be dropped because of one mistake. I know that it was more than that, but what, there’s no room for error? I think the hardest part of this for me to reconcile is that she’s a big time Christian (although, not your stereotypical one) and she has another friend who’s been even crappier on a consistent basis with her and yet she’s stuck by him. So, in the end, I cannot help but think that there’s something wrong with me – that I’m a bad friend and/or a horrible person.

It’s difficult for me to remember that it’s not the case. That she just doesn’t want to be friends with me anymore but that it’s not reflective of my personal value. Sometimes, I believe my pep talks. Other times, I’m still hurt and reeling.

DH says to just, “Cut the bitch off.” I wryly reply that you can’t cut off someone who has already done it first. *shrug* Ah well, there is a life lesson in this, right? That sometimes, you can erode a friendship so much with your crappy actions that there’s no way to salvage it. Bummer of a lesson but you have to learn it at some time, right?

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