Friday, October 10, 2008
  I've been meaning to write this for a while.
But I wanted some time to devote to it. I don't really feel like it tonight, but I also want to get it done already. So here goes.

You know, I don't cover too much personal stuff on this blog anymore. Ever since a guy I dated went through the archives and was loaded with all sorts of resentment the next time he saw me due to things I had said about my ex-boyfriend. Months before. Then I realized how dangerous it was to talk about your feeeeeeeeeeeeeeelings. I mean, I do to some degree still, but I definitely keep it in check.

But writing and sharing personal stuff feels good sometimes. This is incredibly personal. I won't name names, although some of you will figure out who I'm talking about.

So I have.. or had.. whatever.. this friend of mine. We're related. We've been really good friends since our moms played matchmaker when we were 14 or so. One of our moms (I forget the details) and said, hey, your kid is about my kid's age - and I think she's bored - wanna see if they want to hang out? And we did. And we were super close for many years. Until last year, I guess it is.

For years, I considered her my closest friend. I considered her my best friend. Even after I left Wisconsin. We managed to stay close. I don't know what she considered me... she had a friend that she got matching tattoos with, so I'm guessing she beat me out for the role of official "Best Friend" but even realizing that, I considered her to be my best friend. She was the one person I felt I could trust with everything. Who would be understanding, and who would be honest.

She was the one who came to stay with me the night my dad died. We didn't really talk about it, but instead we ate s'mores under my "starry" sky (I had put glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling back then). She was probably the one person that at the time I could've had around me, who would be a comfort by just being there. She helped me through more things than I can say. And I hope I've helped her through things, too. I mean, I tried my best.

Some things about her worth mentioning? I have always thought her to be one of the kindest people I knew. And, you know, while most people piss me off from time to time, she really never did. She was the one person I never talked shit about, ever. (This isn't something bad about anyone else; just something really good about her.) The one person whose phone calls I always answered if I heard them. When Chris and I have talked about getting married, I thought that the people that were absolutely crucial to be there (besides Chris, of course) were my sisters... and her.

Then around last summer, something changed. She met someone around that time, who I guess now has evolved to be her best friend. They spent a lot of time together...

And for us, by the beginning of this year, it went from us calling each other every day or every other day to me always calling her. Her never calling me.

I didn't get a gift for Christmas, nor for my 30th birthday... What had I asked from her? To get pictures of my nieces and nephew (she's into photography, and some 1500 miles close to them than I am). I thought it was a simple request that she may actually enjoy, but.. yeah, no. I sent her a box of stuff at the beginning of the year to my sister's place, and she never picked it up. I let her know that it bothered me that she wasn't troubling herself to pick it up, and kept saying she would, but by July, I just told my sister to keep the stuff inside before it all expired because it was obvious she wasn't going to make the trip across town to get it. This just kills me.. she knew it upset me for, like, SEVEN MONTHS and she never bothered to stop by to pick that box up. ?! After she knew that I had told Kamille to keep it, she said she felt really bad and at least wanted to call Kamille to apologize for letting it sit at her house for that long, but she didn't make that call either.

To me, it looked like she was putting absolutely no effort into our friendship.

So rewind to January. I checked my calls and realized she hadn't initiated a phone call to me in over a month. Not even to return a call. So I decided I would just not call and see if she would bother to call me, ever. She didn't. So after a few weeks of this, I sent her an email, letting her know how unhappy I was with the situation.

She wrote back and said.. and forgive me if I get the details wrong, but it's been nine months now.. More or less that she didn't realize it, she was sorry, and she would try harder. Also something about how she didn't take all the responsibility in it, but she took a lot of it.. That, I never understood. The falling-off of communication was not double-sided; it was only on her part. But whatever, I didn't argue the point. I said more or less, okay, and thank god 'cause I really didn't want to lose you.

For months, it was.. well, it wasn't anything like it had been before. But I felt like she was making an effort. A little bit of one. We talked on the phone sometimes. Somewhere in here, this new friend of hers started dating someone and those two stopped talking more or less for a while. She was really upset and told me how she felt like she had just been tossed aside, which is just crazy to me because that is more or less what I told her I felt she had done to me months before. I would think at that point she would realize it, but she never made the connection somehow. )Those other two broke up, and I am guessing she is back to being thick as thieves with her friend by now.)

She has another friend, a close friend, who moved away and stopped initiating contact and returning calls and emails, and I have listened to her over and over tell me how much it hurts and bothers her - yet she does the SAME EXACT THING to other people herself. How can she not see it???

By this summer, it was back to like it was before. I was hurt. I kept waiting for her to, you know.. make an effort? I figured that I had already told her how I was tired of doing all the calling, which is really all we could do from this far away from one another, and was leaving it in her court to get in touch with me. She called me during July at some point. She regularly ignored my emails, when I still bothered to send them. I didn't understand why, after all that had happened, why she couldn't just acknowledge my emails even. I mean, I would send a picture or something, and I would get absolutely no reply. The salt in the wound was that she told me that her and this friend of hers basically emailed each other all day on her phone -- I remember how she even paused one of our phone calls once so she could email this girl back. So I knew it wasn't that she just wasn't emailing in general.

When I went to Wisconsin, I figured I would leave it up to her to contact me; she knew I was there, and she already knew how I felt. A few days after I arrived, she texted me. (!?) I texted back saying yes we could get together, she could call me to figure out when. A little while later she called me and we talked, and I was glad. She was figuring out her moving situation, but she did want to get together and would call me later. Something like four days went by before I heard from her.

I was due to leave Monday. We made plans to get together on the Saturday before. My sister and nieces and I came back from Minnesota so I would be there by the 7:30 time we had agreed to go out. We texted back and forth for a couple of hours wherein she kept basically asking if it was too late to come. I kept saying no, come on. I sat and waited. Then at 9:00 or so, she texted to ask if we should just call it off. Considering she was an hour away, I said, yeah, probably -- a 10:00 p.m. dinner in La Crosse, Wisconsin just doesn't really happen.

It turns out she had a headache, but... I dunno, considering all that had happened, I really didn't appreciate it. The texting back and forth for like two hours... It was just not cool.

We ended up going out to eat Sunday night. She met me at my sister's, and when we left her place to find somewhere to eat, her phone rang (or did she call out?). In any case, she spent the first three minutes or so of what we had seen of each other in over a year on the phone with her friend. Three minutes... I'm being petty, right? Look at the time on your clock and pay attention for the next three minutes and think about how you would feel in this situation. Especially when you consider that she lived next door to her friend at this point...

So out of the two weeks I was home, I saw her for one dinner at The Olive Garden. C'est tout. Still, I was happy to have seen her, and wanted to get back to the way it was. This is sounding like a drawn-out breakup, isn't it? So on Tuesday, while I was driving the long drive to the airport, I called her just to chat. No answer, and no return phone call.

A few days later, it was her birthday. I called and got her voicemail, so left a message wishing her a happy birthday and said to call me back if she could (the "if she could" because, by this point, I was pretty sure she wouldn't be calling back). Later that night, I got a "Thanks for the call" text message from her. After a couple of days, she still hadn't called me back... at which point I totally gave up. I mean, if you're too tired or whatever on your birthday to call back, couldn't you at least call the next day? To make it LOOK like you give a shit?

You know, it's not that ANY of these things on their own are that bad. It's not like I would get pissed at someone else for not returning my call on their birthday. No big deal. But when it is this no-effort behavior OVER AND OVER, it adds up. Big time. Every little thing feels like a harder slap.

So anyway, I sent her an email saying that I was giving the hell up, that I didn't want to hold out hope any longer and keep getting disappointed by her. I said that she didn't really need to respond, and I meant it. Like I said in the email, it's the way it had been for a year, so how the heck would it change now? I more or less sent it because I was sick of feeling shitty about it, and I figured if I at least closed the door on the whole thing, it would be better. Instead of WONDERING if she'd ever call, I knew she wouldn't. That's easier.

But she did respond. And this is the kicker... she texted me to say she was in class and would respond to my email afterwards. A few hours later, I got another text that said that she had gotten carried away with her studying and lost track of time, and did I want a reply anyway? I didn't even bother to respond to that one. I mean, dude. DUDE. Way to go ahead and finish my argument for me.

So how do I feel about all this? Well before, I kinda felt like it compared with the stages of grief. I went from so sad and feeling bad about myself, thinking there must be something wrong with me for her to be willing to drop me like that, and I still wonder about that.. then it went to angry.. you know, THE NERVE! And then I felt like I had reached acceptance. I even stopped asking my mutual friend for updates about her. She's done more or less the same thing to that mutual friend, but they are still on speaking terms..

But now I kinda feel like I'm back in the angry stage. I'm bitter. I'm annoyed. I feel like she's been wholly inconsiderate. Selfish. Flaky. To put it bluntly, she's been an asshole, and I never, ever expected this out of her. This person I always felt was just the best person ever... how could she have changed so much? How could she throw people away... how she thinks her new best friend is the only person she needs? How does she change from someone who I thought should be at my wedding (no, there are no plans for one yet, but it's the IDEA) to... someone I don't even talk to? In, like, a year? It brings a lot of issues of trust out. If you can't trust someone you so wholeheartedly love and respect, who can you trust?

Chris says, oh, she'll figure out someday what an ass she's been and want to be friends again. He said he's had people do it to him before... They find a girlfriend or whatever and drop out of sight completely and then realize that, yeah, if you meet someone you'll have LESS time to spend on you friends, but that doesn't mean you can or should drop them altogether... I said, you know, that's not even what I want. I don't know how you could go back to being friends after all this.. I gave her chance after chance, wiping the slate clean in my mind and just hoping she would be better, and she just didn't bother. I spelled it out for her in black and white that it made me feel thrown away, but she just kept right on not callin', not writin', not tryin'. If what you were doing made someone you cared about feel like they were being thrown away, wouldn't you try to make it better? So while I don't hold hope, or even desire, for it to go back to the way it was, that doesn't stop it from upsetting me.

Golly, this got long. So anyway, thanks for listening. Losing your best friend is a kinda big, upsetting thing - hence all the WORDS here. Whatever.
i'm sure i've said it before, but you're a far more forgiving person than i am...

... and this is an area in which i've been far too forgiving.

with more or less the same sort of deteriorating contact with the person i thought of as my best friend, the last time i saw her, she was in town for a week and only managed to see me for an hour or two while she was already out with two other friends. after that, i had just about had it--my prediction was that, since i was not going to make any effort to contact her again, she would call me only when she needed something from me.

around 10 months later, she called and left me a voicemail (i was working and too busy to answer), which started out with the "wow it's been a long time. how're you?" kind of stuff, but then immediately went to "i really need help with my master's thesis."

listening to that voicemail was the moment i finally understood how someone could end up throwing their cell phone against the wall and breaking it. i didn't call her back and haven't heard anything from her since.

er, whoops, sorry, that was longer than i'd intended...
That's actually why I don't have friends. My mother in law is basically my best friend (well besides of the hubby of course) but you always need someone you can vent about your family too. I have one other friend who actually calls ME to talk instead of me always calling, so I usually ven to her. But she used to live in FL, just now moved to cali, but to LA. I gave up on onesided friendships a lot time ago. Its just too much effort to make yourself feel like crap. What's the point of that?
ike: that sounds super horribly shitty. good for you for not returning her call; she really deserved that.

ering: yeah, it's frustrating. even before this, i realized that MOST of my friends had disappointed me in a major way... you know, by being generally insulting or something along those lines. this was just the smack in the face because she didn't seem like she would be like that. it really DOES make you wonder about the friendship thing in general.. it's hard to make good friends, and apparently even harder to keep them!! :(
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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