is this friendship recoverable or should I just let it go?
May 28, 2011 8:08 PM Subscribe
Dramadramadramadingdong. If your friend is pretty much over you, or just doesn’t have bandwidth in her life for you, what do you say when she finally calls?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My best friend since childhood (we are in our 30s now) left me a voice mail today to ask if “we’re ok.” Well, we’re not ok, and haven’t been for a long time. It’s tl;dr even for you patient MeFi folks… Basically, she has gotten so busy with her career (which I am undeniably jealous of) and with her intrafamilial social obligations (and I’m jealous here too – my own sibiings live far away) that I’m off her radar; to the point where she didn’t even call me, much less send a card or gift, when I had my second child. (She called over a month later and explained that she’d been busy with some college friends of her husband’s who had been visiting with them, which I thought was illuminating.) (I couldn’t call her, by the way, to cry and ask for help as I desperately wanted to do in the depths of my PPD, because she refuses to carry a cell phone and I didn’t want to leave a message like that at her office.)
Anyway, I miss my old friend terribly and have for years. But the current version who doesn’t call when I have a baby? – no, I don’t miss her. I’m angry at her for abandoning me, and jealous of her to boot.
(I did tell her, when she announced her own pregnancy some months ago, how devastated I had been by her lack of interest in my wellbeing when I gave birth; she said she was sorry, but that it pretty much was what it was: that she was too busy, and pulled in too many directions by her demanding career (which, did I mention, is in the same field as mine, but far more successful?) and loving, involved family, to not sometimes disappoint the people that wanted her attention.)
The voice mail comes out of nowhere. I did go to visit her some months ago in an effort to try to normalize things (she only lives about an hour away), and I sent an expensive gift for the baby. But I haven’t been to see her and the baby since it was born. I think of her and it always takes me back to the black emotional hole I was in when I gave birth, and how angry and sad I was and still am (I have some ongoing issues from my own births that I am trying to get some help with), and it just doesn’t feel right to go cuddle her baby when I’m not actually happy for her. So I didn’t visit. I called once to say congratulations when she got home from the hospital; she said she was doing fine; and I haven’t talked to her since. I think about her often, but came to realize that it was pretty pointless, since she never calls me anyway. But now she has.
So. Does it matter if I answer this voice mail? Is there any scenario where this friendship is recoverable? The thing is, if it were a question of “forgiving” her for being a terrible friend for years, I could do that, if it were for the sake of having my friend back. But she almost never calls me (it has been years since she called just to see what's up or say hi); I am jealous of her professional success and it makes me miserable; and for the past several years she only functions socially as part of her married unit anyway, which has been awkward.
And yet… I miss my friend so much… and silent treatment is so lame and passive aggressive and childish… and it feels like the years of history demand some sort of response, even if the friendship isn’t really revivable. And there’s always the small chance that she could actually use a friend now, as a new parent. God knows I know how hard that time can be, although I doubt she’s having the difficulties I had.
“Are we okay?” What do I say?