Some of you know of the saga of the friend who disappeared and hid from emails and voicemail for over a year and finally admitted she didn’t like me anymore.
Well, last week (over a year after she severed all ties and two-plus years after she stopped communication) I sent an email, telling her how I missed her. I explained how the things around the house reminded me of how kind and generous she had been with me. I expressed nostalgia for our friendship and told her I was sad I didn’t know about her life anymore.
She returned my email with a curt message that said I should burn or sell the things that reminded me of her. And that she’s glad I have friends because she didn’t want to be one.
Damn, y’all. That is cold. I know I’m prone to melodrama, overreaction, and hyperbole, but damn! (Come to think of it, remmebering how I am prone to melodrama, overreaction, and hyperbole, maybe I’d stab me in the heart if given the chance, too.)
So I was sad for a while. And I was disappointed. And insulted. And I’m resigned now. A fifteen year friendship gone against my will.
I waited a week to unfriend her from Facebook. Because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t spiteful. I just think that someone who specifically says they don’t want to be friends shouldn’t get to see my neuroses, photos, or photo collages of neuroses.
So here’s my question. Why can I not let this go? Am I so upset because she doesn’t like me anymore or because she was so childish and then rude about it? Is there any healthy way to be grateful for the enormous loving effect she had on my life for a while without letting it cloud by her current behavior?
And is there any way to blame the partisan bickering in Washington for this deep hole in my heart? Because I do, really, enjoy blaming most of the malaise of our nation, times, and daily lives on those effing asshats.
I am so sorry. I know how much this hurts. I am dealing with a similar situation with my best friend from college. She was actually in the delivery room when my son was born and although she lives down the street, has seen my children about 5 times. I am about to move across the country and away from her and I am so sad and confused as to why she has been so absent in our lives during the time I have needed her the most. The kicker is that I have to help throw her baby shower in 3 weeks and act like all is well. I will show up with my 3 dozen cupcakes and fancy drinks, give a great gift and move my family back home to the east coast. But, I will never forget how hurt I am by her abandonment and will always wonder what on earth I did to cause it. My husband’s answer? “She’s always been selfish. It’s not about you. It’s always been about her. Just let it go.” Ahhh, to be a man. Or, at least a much less sensitive woman.
@Emily Wow. You’re a better person than I am. I would bail on the shower. Maybe she doesn’t get having kids? Maybe she doesn’t know how much you need her? Maybe she’s selfish, sure, but maybe she’s just oblivious? Maybe she’s scared?
Doesn’t it seem as though a divorce would be easier than this, because we know we’re different people than men are, and we somehow assume other women think the way we do, which means their distance is proof…PROOF…that we’re unworthy human beings? When men leave we think “I deserved better.” When friends leave it blindsides us because we know who deserved what, since we only cultivate friendships worthy of us.
Yuck. I have such a hangover about this. Sorry your move is going to be clouded by her insensitivity and asshattery. I hope the day after her birth the realization of how selfish she is comes crashing down with the “oh my gawd, the pregnancy wasn’t the point…this shit is forever” realization.
I’m really sad for you, Nap. I had a falling out with a friend recently and had to unfriend on FB and remove all contact info. It was just hurting me too much to see things pop up on FB or to see that sign-in name on my chat program. Yet. Now that it’s been a few weeks, I have texted to apologize, and I hear nothing back. I want to friend the person on FB again, but what if I’m rejected (or ignored or whatever)? What if that door is really closed forever because I’m the one who slammed it?
This was a shorter relationship — five years. But still. It hurts.
So I sympathize, and I don’t understand it. But I get it. And I know that it’s so hard. Hugs and tears. :(
Hey, Fie. It’s nice to have a group cry about this one.
Thanks for the reminder to delete the contact info. Really, why feel stabbed each time I scroll through her section of my phonebook or address book?
At a certain point, I think it’s time to move on. Nobody needs the abuse of begging a former friend to re-like them.
I have no idea what your circumstances or realities are, though I know the move was probably a big change that makes you yearn for all the ties you can conjure, but I say ditch her. She’ll come to you if she knows what’s good for her. And if she does, awesome. But if not, wipe the slate clean and open your life for new friends and old friends who actually deserve you.
Good to hear from you, btw. Hope you’re settling in well. I haven’t been reading blogs in an ice age and have no idea what anyone’s up to.
I’m so sorry you got blindsided like that. She, obviously, has no taste and isn’t worthy of having you as a friend. So there.
I’ve had that happen to me twice — once in college and once in grad school, and the pain of it is still raw enough to hurt whenever it comes to mind. I agree, it’s much worth than a romantic breakup for some reason.
Anyway, you’re awesome. Truly awesome. And I feel blessed to count you among my friends.
As someone who is still mourning the loss of someone who cut me off in an unbelievably cruel manner, I am completely in your corner. I think we cannot let it go because when a deep connection with someone is broken off without warning, blindsiding us, there’s so much unfinished business–words that need saying, emotions that need airing, explanations that we deserve hearing. And we don’t get that.
Plus, you miss them. No matter how harsh the breakup, you miss them. Things, places, books/songs, restaurants…they’re still with you in so many ways.
Also, unlike relationships with men, when you have a long, intense friendship with a girlfriend, you somehow feel safe…as if they know the worst of you and love you anyways…and then when you realize that’s not true, it stings to the core. I know that personally, I’d never felt so alone.
I love you, and she is a narrow person. In every way. I’m here if you ever need someone to listen. xo
I understand what you are going through too. Losing a really close friend in this manner is worse than death. A friend disappeared from my family’s lives and we don’t know why he left us. He was my brother’s best friend from elementary school so he was in our household all the time. Thirty years later he was gone with no expanation and we have no way to find him. How very sad for you. Your true friends and all your fans are here for you.
Damn, that is so harsh. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I wouldn’t be able to let it go either.
You are all making me cry. Thank you for taking the time to be kind. It means the world to me and I want you to know that little acts like commenting on a sad person’s blog are genuinely important and the kind of human interactions that socail media naysayers just don’t get.
@Dana Thank you. Your friendship means a lot and I appreciate your kind thoughts.
@TKW We talked before about our shared devastation at a friend divorce. You’ve absolutely hit it when you say “as if they know the worst of you and love you anyways…and then when you realize that’s not true, it stings to the core.” That’s exactly it.
And the offer of an ear, given the flood drowning you right now, is way more generous than I deserve. *You* call when *you* need an ear.
@Donna Sorry you lost contact with your friend. I don’t know which was worse…not knowing what happened or finally getting an email that spelled out why she can’t stand being with me. Not true, actually. The not knowing scared me. The honesty stung and saddened me. But at least I knew she was okay. And her health, safety, and well being are more important to me than my hurt feelings.
@Elastamom Thanks. The harshness is what’s sticking in my craw. Letting people gently fade away when you have grown apart is one thing. Hiding from me after years of intense closeness, then telling me that she just doesn’t want to be with me is almost cartoonish in its harshness.
You generous people have been so kind lately in response to my sadness posts. I promise to write something funny soon. Maybe about those political asshats I blame for my lack of sleep, growing wanderlust, and impressive weight gain.
Wow, Nap, this post stung. I’ve been friend-dumped before. A few times. Okay, a lot of times. More often than I care to admit. Most of the friends were more casual, but one was my oldest and dearest friend. It’s been over 10 years. I’m married now, I just had my first baby… I always thought we’d be friends until we were elderly, but now I’m spending my 30’s without her. Why? I don’t really know. What I do know is that it hurts when I think about it, but I think about it less often with every year that goes by. Maybe that makes it even sadder, I don’t know.
I adore your blog, and from what I know I adore you too. This chick has no idea what she’s missing. She thinks she does, but she’s way off. Part of what she’s missing, clearly, is the knowledge of what a good friend is. Long term emotional investment pays off. If you have a close friend it’s always worth it to work through rough spots, not just run and hide from them. Especially in such a cruel, heartless, immature way.
You deserve better, and I hope you find in the end that you are happier without her.
@mw So sorry you lost your friend. I found that having a baby brings some friends to the foreground and sends some running for the hills. Not sure if she dumped you during the pregnancy or not, but that is a rough time for friends, especially if they don’t have children.
Thank you for your kind words about the blog and my awesomeness. You clearly have fabulous taste and know a good thing when it weeps a drippy, ugly cry right in front of you. ;-)
The thought that makes me feel better and worse about the whole thing is that she was there for me twice when I really, really needed someone. Now that I have a solid support network, she has let me move on. I don’t want to, but at least I’m in a good space to do that. I hope she has people who will buoy her the way she did me. Though I’m sad and angry and bitter, I still wish her intense joy.
Big hugs. Really big hugs.
xoxoxxoox, unicorn. Go forth and be happy and employed and brilliant and even happier.
Hurt aside, does that just seem weird? How can someone behave like that? I don’t understand. I’m up over the hill, or through the tunnel. :-)
Cathy, that’s exactly what a good friend said. How very high-school-ish, he said. How immature and weird. Who just hides from someone who isn’t a fulfilling friend anymore?
I don’t get it. But I used her food processor tonight and drank from her wine glasses and wrapped my baby in her blanket, and I’m really ready to stop calling those things hers.
Because who acts that way?
I don’t know you so anything I offer warrants the addition of a huge grain of salt. But. . . absent a mental illness or significant drug-usage, I think someone acts that way when someone is really hurt or frightened. I don’t think *you* hurt or frightened her but I think it’s possible you may have some connection to some *thing* she just can’t bear to confront–maybe something hidden deep within herself.
From your description, it sounds like the connection you once shared was very strong. With my own lost friend, I sometimes wonder if I only imagined the bond. And yet with you, I think there’s plenty of evidence of its real existence in the support she offered you during your rough times. This end to your friendship seems jarringly at odds with your previous experience of her. It would have been surprising if you had been able let it go more easily.
I’m really sorry it hurts so much.
Shepane, what a generous and thoughtful reply. I have heard from a couple of people who know her peripherally that her behavior sounds like she’s in a lot of pain or is terrified of something. Because this happened when she was pregnant with her second, there’s a decent chance that had something to do with it.
Thanks for pointing out that it seems rather normal that I have a hard time letting it go. I was judging myself pretty harshly for mourning the friendship’s death as though it were a person, but to me, reading your comment, I guess it was.
Welcome, by the way. And thanks for taking the time. It was really decent and human of you to reach out in that way. I appreciate it.
Hi, NW. Actually, it’s just Stephane, not “Shepane”. In Alaska (formerly of the Bay Area), no less. Clearly, my sense of humor ran amok– a g a i n . I was making an oblique reference to the reply you left me on another post where you called me “Shepane.” ; )
Ah, dang. I was replying to the “Shepane” thinking that was a strange moniker, but live and let live. Sorry I mucked up your name on another post. In Alaska via the Yay…how was that transition? In momentary fantasies I long for such solitude and natural beauty, but in reality I love CheeseBoard too much. How long have you been up there? Sorry again about the typo gone horribly awry.
It was still very nice of you to comment so thoughtfully, though it makes a bit more sense since you’ve been here before. Welcome, anyway. And welcome back. And thanks. And may the force be with you.