I was talking to my closest friend last night and we got into a discussion about friendship. I’ve touched on this topic briefly in previous posts but last night it was weighing heavily on my mind so I decided to rant a little here and pick her brain a little there and ultimately decided this would probably make a good post even just to spill out everything I’m thinking right now. So in order to put it all together, I need to share a story about a friend I used to have.
About a year and a half ago, I met this girl while working. Actually I was one of the reasons she got hired at my workplace because I was one of her interviewers at the time. I wouldn’t say it was an instant friendship connection but we definitely got along really well and it grew tremendously in a short amount of time. We both really loved books which is normally how I connect with people because they share a love of reading but sometimes it’s for other reasons like sharing the same views or we just generally make a good team. We texted each other a lot; most of it about random stuff. And then we made it a point to hang out outside of work once a week. It worked really well for months. She was a bit scared to drive far distances so I would always go to her house. Plus, I lived in a one bedroom apartment and it’s hard to entertain in such a small space. We’d watch shows together and go to book sales, all that good stuff.
Then one day the texting pretty much stuttered to a trickle and then a stop all together. I didn’t understand why. Right before that, I had made a decision to transfer to a different store because it would provide me with better career development but I figured it wouldn’t affect our friendship too much cause technology was so great. I was pretty wrong and I got frustrated because I felt I was putting a lot into the friendship and pretty much getting nothing in return. When it became days between texts, I decided to ask her what was going on. I was always told her life was soo busy and she just didn’t have time to engage with me anymore. I admit, that hurt my feelings because I feel like it’s not that hard to message a person with the millions of avenues available to do so and especially when I’m becoming annoying by trying to reach this person almost every day.
I pretty much got tired of the excuses and simply stopped trying. Two weeks went by and I got radio silence. I figured if I’d stop sending her messages then maybe she’d get a clue and maybe take the initiative. She didn’t. So I gave up. I sent one last text telling her I could no longer be her friend and listed all the reasons why and that was the end of that. About a year later, I get a text from her asking me how life is.
ONE. YEAR. LATER.
I couldn’t even believe it. Like is this real life? And all that I had let go, the sadness and bitterness and anger and finally defeat came rushing back in one big ball of rage. I lashed out as much as you can in a text message and pretty much questioned why she was texting me. After a few exchanges, cause I’m sure she could tell I was heated, she informed me that even though I didn’t consider her my friend, she’s always still considered me her friend. Currently, in the present, she got wind that I’m pregnant and now she occasionally texts me wanting to know all the details about what’s going on my life but I’m quite short with her as you can probably imagine. I don’t really know how to feel about someone who can be a here again, gone again friend you know?
So I spilled all of this to my friend last night and told her how I feel like making friends is the easy part but keeping them is so hard. Maybe I’m desperate because I’m only getting older and making friends as an adult is harder than it was when we were kids. Or maybe I just care too much and I shouldn’t but I’m such an emotional person and I can’t help it. My feelings do get hurt easily and my response is to pretty much shut them off at least to the outside world and present this facade that I don’t care when I really do at least for a little while.
I equated growing a friendship to a sapling growing into a tree. You have a little sapling you’ve just planted and you check on it every single day, watering it and making sure it’s getting enough sunlight so it can grow to be a strong tree that’ll live a lifetime. If you stop watering that sapling for a day, it’ll still grow a little because it has a bit of nutrients stored in the roots. But if you stop watering that sapling for a week and then a week turns into two or more, that sapling is going to start to die and by the time you come back to it and realize you wanted to save it, it’s either already dead or a small seed will float elsewhere to try and root itself to become stronger than before.
Maybe I’m absolutely sensitive that I think so deeply on this subject but I think ultimately it stems from trying to understand how other people think and how it seems so easy for someone to borderline forget that you were a great friend. Or maybe you weren’t and they just didn’t inform you of their true feelings so instead floated away cause that was easier?
Long read and heavy topic I know. If you made it all the way to the end, I commend you, you’re awesome and I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂