All relationships experience problems. Trouble areas. It is both unavoidable and inescapable. Things get said. And heard. In and out of context. Confusion sets in and then erupts the chaos. The word wars are almost always more difficult than any live action.
So you had better learn to deal with it…
I struggle with relationships. I am a person who likes to be alone. Not always, but I could handle it were it so.
Friendships are especially hard for me. Always have been. I have a terrible time making friends. And even more trouble keeping friends. But not because of distance or lack of effort. Hubby says it is because I hold people to task, offering too much truth serum.
Maybe I should just keep my yap shut?
But I figure I am just not a likeable person. Or one people deem unworthy of continued friendship. Because the “friends” I have had all bailed on me. And maybe I bailed on them. By not playing the game their way.
Closer Means Farther
I spent my first year of university away. Well. Almost my first year. There was that whole DKA snag that saw a year of my life (and then some) completely unravel. And saw me transfer to the local university (of which Dad is alumni). Because I had moved back home.
There I met a gal. We had all the same classes. And had registered for them because of similar interests.
She was born out east, so our maritimer background was another great building block for friendship, and had moved here just before starting high school. We shared a love for learning, her insatiable appetite for knowledge akin to mine. We read books for the purpose of discussion. Skipped class to catch the opening day of any Harry Potter film. We would edit each other’s papers. Went to fancy restaurants. Saw plays. Haunted the museum. She was probably the most compatible friend I have ever had. Save the old hubs, we have a good friendship underneath it all. Even though we were very different.
My academic life was completed a year before hers. After I graduated I left my apartment and moved 75 km down the road. To live with my now husband. My new address was closer to where she lived with her folks. At least, it was an easier commute than back and forth from my apartment. But from that geographical closeness came an emotional distance.
She had never kissed a boy. I had had boyfriends. Intercourse (sorry folks). I had tattoos and smoked cigarettes. We had led different lives and so had different experiences. She was well travelled. Had seen parts of the world I could only dream of visiting. She had parents who fawned over her. Boodles of friends. Was enviously intellectual. And morbidly obese. When we met I was at my heaviest non-pregnant weight. Stress, honeymooning with Diabetes combined with an improper understanding of insulin, an unbalanced diet and probably 1400 other things caused my weight to fluctuate a lot over the years, especially then. But I was trying to do better about it all. Moving in with the now hubs proved good for me. But bad for the friendship.
She and I were at the party where I met him. From the moment he and I connected she and I disconnected. I was no longer invited to nights out to the pub. We no longer met for lunch or an outing to the movies. We would make plans for her to come to the city. Then she would cancel. All under the guise that I was too far away. But we both drive, have our own vehicles…
Eventually our three-plus-year friendship trickled away to nothing.
We all make friends in childhood. Preschool and junior/elementary school friendships are usually of a design that is not our own. My folks know your folks, guess we’re hanging out…
My first friend was a girl down the street. We had (seemingly) settled after a few moves around. She was a year younger than me. Had one older brother versus my two younger. She was blond and quiet, barely spoke in public. I was (am) loud, opinionated. Ying and yang we were. Did everything together though. Until we were teenagers.
Living in different towns made visiting difficult. My parents split. Hers stayed together and friends with my bio-mother. But I eventually went to live with my father, when I was eleven. Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the end of that friendship. Because it increased the distance between us. And I am not simply speaking geographically.
I think it was her 16th birthday that I last saw her. She had remained a tomboy. When I arrived she had a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey on. Hair flopped across her face. I loved her. She was my best friend. But seeing her with her “everyday” friends was eye-opening. We no longer had anything in common. We were complete opposites. And our increasing lack of communication made that painfully clear.
We reconnected one afternoon. Briefly. We began chatting via social media. Eventually making plans for her and her folks to drive from their cottage to bio-thing’s house. They came on a miserable, damp and rainy Saturday afternoon. During a studio tour I was taking part of. Stayed for a cup of tea. And left. She looked nothing like the girl I knew. Now gorgeous, tall, thin and still blond. Model-esque. Bitch. Just kidding. Into short dresses, high heels and partying. She had moved out west.
After that visit we never really chatted again. We aren’t even social media friends anymore.
When I was about five years old I took ballet. I have few memories of it. Those I have involve the teacher pricking our heels with a hat pin, meeting my second childhood bestie and a legendary recital hairdo from my father.
She and I were in the same ballet class. There is photographic evidence. We met up again in junior high. Even though we went to different high schools we stayed incredibly close. We made plans to attend the same university and be roommates. And we were. We had seen each other at our best and worse. Had epic nights out and horrible fights. But we were always there for each other. Always the first call in crisis. Until the first year of university.
We became involved in different things. Made new friends. Found new interests. We were still each other’s best friend, but she was also very close to a group of girls from her high school. Her “everyday” friends. And was becoming increasingly closer to a group of girls at the university. Not my flavour, but really at this point, I think it is fair to ask, who is? After my DKA incident I moved back home. I was supposed to be a resident don my second year. But the position was revoked. And shattered my whole life. Without that I would have to find (and pay for) lodging. I was not prepared for (or willing to) do that. So I moved back home.
As the pattern goes…communication dwindled, I moved out, we lost touch. Until we reconnected briefly on social media. Ha ha. She was married. Had a bunch of adorable kids. Seemed totally, blissfully happy. Unfortunately, a few years earlier, when I wasn’t on speaking terms with my folks, her father had passed away and she had stopped by our old house looking for me. But now, that behind us, she was raising her kids, working. Living life to the fullest. I was so happy for her.
But after our initial email or two the communication trickled off. Which is understandable. The time and distance that found its way between us was a gap too big to close. Time has a funny way about it. We think it has magical healing powers. But that isn’t always so.
We are no longer social media friends. Anymore. Either.
There are some people who make great, life-long friendships with the comrades of their childhoods. My 40-something year old step-brother’s closest gaggle of guys include more than a few whom he met in kindergarten. There are groups of people, I am friendly with on social media, which have existed since high school days and before…always the new kid or just the weird kid, but I have never truly had a group of friends like that…
7 thoughts on “Feeling Friendly: Part 1 – I Suck at Friends”
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