A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friends and Friends of Friends

One of my daughter's friends, Kathy, recently had a difficult experience with one of her own best friends. It's always difficult to end a relationship with someone you've been close to for many years - no matter what happens, there is always that hope that it will get better, plus a certain comfort level in your shared history.

Over the course of my life I've had friends who, once I weaned myself from them, I found myself wondering what the heck I was hanging out with them for in the first place! My first experience with this was with PL. She and I met in college and eventually rented an apartment together. She was always on lettuce and ice tea diets (which made her cranky), was afraid of lightening and thunder, but would leave the front door key in the planter outside so her other friends could drop by! And she had a way of cutting to the core with some of her comments. Like when I saw this double-breasted winter white coat in the store window. I put it on lay-away for 3 months and was finally able to bring it home. I loved that coat! I was so excited and I put it on for PL. She looked at it and said, "Oh, yeah, I remember seeing that in the store window." And then she walked into the other room. That's it! Not "nice coat" or "it looks good on you". Just - I saw it in the window. I was young and I was crushed. PL and I got married and then had kids within 3 months of each other. When my twins were 6 months old, I ran into PL and her family at a park. They were all quite overweight and when I ran into them with my twins, the first thing they said to me was, "Well, didn't you just get all skinny again!" Nothing about the babies, nothing about "nice to see you" - nada. I remember thinking, "why the heck am I even bothering to continue this friendship?' End of story.

Another friend of mine, MM, had VH in her life. VH took great delight in always pointing out MM's fashion flaws, makeup flaws, stupidity in choice of boyfriends. MM would buy something that she really loved, and VH would ALWAYS make some snotty comment about it. Finally, after 4 years of this, MM bailed.

IP had a friend, LW, who was a unreliable, flaky and a bit unstable at times. But they were still pretty good friends. Until IP's cat that she had for 12 years came down with cancer. It finally got so bad that she had to put the cat to sleep - and it was a very difficult decision and time for her. When LW found out, she called IP and ranted at her on the phone about how cruel she was to put the cat to sleep, how she didn't really love the cat if she could do that, how LW would never do such a thing, and on and on. Pretty much sealed the fate on that friendship.

And JR had a friend, BW, who she'd been close friends with for many years. At one point in JR's life, she decided to start a small business and she was very excited about the process. When she told BW about her plans, BW laughed and said, "Oh, that will never happen. You never stick to anything you start!" Yup, that's real support.

As I get older I realize that these types of people come into our lives and, for some reason, we cling to them even when the only thing left is history, frustration, and sometimes pain. But, since I AM getting older, I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer expend valuable time and energy on people who bring me down. I still have quite a few close friends - none of them has ever betrayed me, hurt me, disparaged me, or caused me to think "what the heck?" These are my real friends - the ones I love and the ones that I willingly expend time and energy on.


Jenni said...

I hear you! Some "friends" are definitely not worth keeping. So why then, do I continue to keep in sporadic contact with JB, who stings me with some demeaning comment nearly every time we speak? Misplaced sense of loyalty, I guess... Or perhaps a desire to show her that I'm not as bad as she thinks?

kathy said...

thanks for the support... seriously. i needed it. and it's good to know that i am not the only one and to hear that i made a good decsion, even though it may not feel like it sometimes.
and to jenni... you are BAD but not a bad-bad but a bad-ass-friend-bad. i love you! : )

Jenni said...

Thanks Kath! You're pretty bad-ass too.

Oh, and so are you mom. ;)

Sandi said...

OK, I'm going to assume that being "bad-ass" is a good thing. If not, Jenni, you're grounded!