It is often that I find the idea of another person or relationship often get’s in the way of who the person actually is. In this case, my idea of friendship is loyalty, kindness, non-judgemental and a supportive force. unfortunately, at times this is at odds with who a friend actually is. Human.
Following college and thrust into the working world, I met and became friends with a co-worker who was also new at the company and seemed to share many qualities I admired. She drove a long distance to work here. As our friendship developed, I started to get a daily phone call from her and we would chat about all things work and personal. At one point I gently teased her that it felt like I had a new romantic partner with the daily phone calls, that was not the case however, I began to enjoy our daily conversations.
Many years before my friend and I ever met, I discovered that I struggle with a type of agoraphobia that hinders my driving radius when it comes to heading into the big city but, point me North (free of cities) and I am good to go. No anxiety or other related driving issues. We traveled for long weekend getaways. Both being single this was a newfound sense of freedom to get out-of-town with a like-minded friend. We took our dogs along. It was fun and we always headed up North, stopping to vacation somewhere along the California coast. We were close and I could see us growing old together as dear friends.
About 2 years into our friendship, she quit working for the company, which was about 50 miles from her home. The phone calls were less frequent but we arranged to meet for lunches and various get-togethers in and around my town or head North for a min-vacation at least once a year.
Year 3 or 4 into the friendship: I am a private person and was uncomfortable when I found out that details about me and my struggles were being shared with a group of colleagues that I was vocal about not liking very much. I felt betrayed and asked her to not discuss me when I was not present. After which guilt for setting these rules took hold. I called my friend to apologize for asking her to monitor what she talks about with others and then I spoke aloud the words that I was thinking: ” I will just have to be sure what I tell you is something I don’t mind others knowing about. ”
My thoughts need not have been spoken, it was more than enough for me to recognize the newly discovered limitations of our friendship. Disappointment. Another out-of-town trip, more lunches and phone time but time in between became greater and greater. And years began to pass.
Year 6: One day over lunch she informed me she had been coming to my area once a month over the past year to meet with mutual colleagues (yes, those that I did not favor) for a monthly get-together dinner. I was very surprised and somewhat hurt that she had made the trip and not so much as called to say hello, invite me or ask to stop by for a quick cup of coffee. ( I would not have attended if she had invited me to join “them” but it’s nice to be asked ) I hadn’t seen her in over a year.
Year 7: This year I sent an email wishing her a wonderful birthday and lot’s of nice friendly news. Not a word, no thanks for thinking of me, nothing. I followed up 2 weeks later with another email asking her if she had received the birthday wishes. She had and how she had a great time with another friend who took her out-of-town. Then proceeded to tell me I needed to drive down to the city if I wanted to see her. I told her I would need to get some xanax for that to happen, reminding her of my driving problems and she replied, OK, I’ll see you all xanaxed up then. That was earlier this year and I haven’t heard a word from her since. At this point, I am not planning on that overly stressful drive to visit someone who really isn’t there anymore, as a friend.
The end point for me came back when I felt my confidence had been betrayed, loyalty was missing. I had been trying to move beyond that and keep the friendship viable. I don’t have or make many friends, I am equally as hard on myself as I am on other people. The idea of friendship and other people in general is based on, Treat other’s as how you want to be treated. Yet, I do recognize I faltered in the driving to her area earlier on, in that I was selfish and let my agoraphobia issues rule my actions. Odd that hanging 0n is such a problem.
I am moving on and away from this friendship.