I lost a friend today.
That certainly sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? It’s not like I don’t know where she lives or like I turned around and she was gone. We didn’t have a falling out, a fight, or any such mutually negative interaction, and she doesn’t, I doubt, even know that she has been lost, because nothing changed. Even though both of our worlds are changing daily, everything about our relationship remains eternally the same. And, that, I realized, is exactly the problem. That is how I lost her.
We are moving quickly in different directions, both of us growing, and although I feel like I’ve attempted to keep up, and support her in her new direction, I haven’t felt that same support coming back to me. Beyond support, I haven’t felt any interest in what I am doing or going through coming towards me. This isn’t new. It’s been the dynamic of this particular relationship for a while, perhaps even since the beginning. This friend is very smart, charismatic, funny–and, I can’t say she has never been there for me because she has, but it feels like a herculean effort to get her to stop her own train of thought to focus on someone, anyone else. And, I’m tired.
We had breakfast this morning. At her suggestion, and based on a tweet I tweeted the other day about apologies. She called me the instant she saw that tweet to ask if I was okay, and with everything going on in my life: Anna at school, the girls being sick, and this huge exam hanging over my head, I told her I actually could use a talk, so we arranged to meet this morning, the two of us and another friend.
I never got a word in. She was all about herself and her stories. The third friend and I both attempted a few times to turn the conversation towards one of us, but to no avail, and, finally, we just sat there and stared at one another, waiting for the check to arrive, while she babbled on, loudly. All the while, all I could think was that I was missing valuable study time to someone who doesn’t value me.
I understand this sounds whiny and narcissistic, I totally get that, and at almost any other time in history I would have brushed it off and chalked it up to Friend being Friend. But, I can’t do that anymore. One of the things that Anna being bullied, and all of the fall out from that situation has taught me, is to examine the people in my life a little more closely, to more carefully categorize friends and acquaintances and people with kids who share common interests with my kids, because I no longer need anyone in my life who doesn’t support and/or value me in the same way I would support and/or value them. My trust level has taken a hit, as has my tolerance level.
I’ve thought a lot about this today and I’ve come to the resolution that we have, as the cliche’ suggests, simply grown apart. Or, to be more precise, I have grown apart. I’m not going to unfriend her or turn the other way if I see her out and about. We will most certainly have casual conversations in shared social settings, but, beyond those things, I can’t do anything more than match her level of commitment.
Because, if I do, I’ll be the one who is lost.