Emotional disappointments

After a weekend of celebrating and visiting and carrying on with family and friends, going back to work was a big let-down. I like work, but thankfully there was no cake, ice cream, or gratuitous sugar there for indulging in throughout the day. I did, however, give in to my yearning for french fries. After a fry fast since late March, my will power broke under the weight of work. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

One of the wonderful things about this month is that I hear from friends I usually only see or speak to in May. It’s only a little sad that we let things like geography and work and disparate life pathways interfere with getting together or communicating more frequently, but it is what it is and we all seem comfortable with it. If we were not something would change, right? From my years of marriage, children, divorce, remarriage, still being a full-time, hands-on mom while having full-time and part-time jobs, it did not leave a lot of time or room for socializing with childless friends. And really, I am okay with it. After almost 30 years of this particular life and lifestyle, we cherish the times we communicate and spend together.

These are special, cherished people I would and have drop everything for in times of crisis. These are friends got on planes and flew full fare to be here with me and for me when my oldest fell ill and died so suddenly. I have also flown on short notice or driven across several states to attend funerals and be there for serious medical surgeries or treatments. I call and/or email every birthday and Christmas, and they do the same. Even if the conversation lasts only a minute or two, we know there is genuine joy in the interaction. These are my backbones, those I call first when the critical mass events happen. For everything else there is email and facebook.

One woman in this special group completely dropped off my communication tree a few years ago. In 2010 there was no May phone call, and in August (her birthday) there was no return call or acknowledgement of my good wishes for another year. I heard through others she was busy, as we all are, and thought no more about it. Christmas came, I hosted my usual get together around the holidays and saw all our friends. She was in town but did not attend or send regrets via phone/text/email, the first time in more than 20 years she and her husband and children did not attend and it was alarming that there was no follow-up phone message to try and get together. I realized that for whatever reason, I had been dropped.

It was perplexing and it was hurtful, but I moved past it. M counseled that people change and grow apart, and I was mostly mollified by that. Except the rest of our friends still communicated with her, received their birthday and Christmas phone calls, etc. It was 2012 – the third year she did not come to my house for the holiday party – that they realized something was amiss. I asked them to leave it be, because if she was not grown up enough by now to just tell me what is wrong then there is obviously something really wrong. With her. I stopped inviting her after the second snub in 2011, although I still see her parents and siblings in town occasionally and always ask after her and her family. I try to be courteous and cordial that way.

This year there was some drama in my long-time friends villiage. In the midst of our happy catch up conversations, one friend mentioned off-handedly that former friend was very hurt by my snubs. Snubs? What snubs? My failing to invite her to our holiday open home event had not gone unnoticed by her, and then there was my not calling on her birthday anymore.

These are not first world problems by any stretch of the imagination. I left high school a really long time ago and enjoy my drama-free lifestyle so much I banned angst from the house when my kids were growing up and going through that stuff themselves. Mostly I was surprised and disappointed and hurt by the things she had said to other long-time friends – which none of them actually believed yet the behavior sounded so out of character they thought they should tell me what had been said in my absence – and I expressed curiosity about anything odd or unusual going on in her life and/or brain chemistry. Apparently all seems normal, with the exception of this spontaneous bitterness towards me.

Tonight I decided I should simply dial direct and go to the source of my curiosity and concern. If she has an issue with me, perhaps we should act like 50-something adults and leave the mean girl gossip tendencies way back in our pasts where it belongs.

No answer, so I left a message. It was cautiously cheerful and not at all angry or challenging or threatening in any way. The response back – from her husband – was to never contact them again. Okay.

I wish I understood what might be wrong. It’s upsetting and bewildering. But I have to respect their requests even if I do not completely understand it. There is this amazing itch to know and to understand, though. Sometimes we must just accept our disappointments and move along.

But it’s difficult. And troubling. And infuriating. And frustrating. And oh so aggravating.

5 thoughts on “Emotional disappointments

  1. Well, that must be totally frustrating to wonder and not know why she doesn’t want anything to do with you, especially with your long history. I’ve just really come to the conclusion lately that people are just plain strange!

    • Agreed! It’s hurtful, for sure, but one of those beyond my power to change. Let it go, let it go … or so I tell myself every time it crosses my mind.

  2. This situation frustrates me for you! If you wanna play the blame game (which I’m sure you don’t), she started it! ;-p Something I often do when there’s a disagreement of sorts is write a letter (or email) to said person. It’s a chance to organize my thoughts in a clear, concise manner. The other party can ready what I said without interruptions. And think about how they feel before responding.

    On a side note: I’m now at the age where marriage, children, & careers are starting to take precedence over friendships & it’s sad. I feel like I make 90%+ of the contact attempts with my friends (& even family). Very few people reach out to me first or initiate gatherings. I can only imagine what would happen if I didn’t have Facebook or didn’t send the first text or call. I’m afraid I’d never hear from certain people again :-/ And of course, the minute I stop reaching out, that other person will become testy. I’ve tried telling certain friends how I feel; they always blame it on being busy. It only takes a few seconds to text ‘Hey! How are you?’ It all boils down to expectations & how each person values the relationship.

    • I can completely relate to the issues surrounding maintaining relationships. It’s hard work, no doubt about it! When my kids were way little and I had single and/or childless friends, our social life dwindled. I was exhausted all the time and they figured I was busy with family life and that we had less in common. I began reaching out and finally explaining how isolated I felt, and I know how fortunate I am to have friends willing to work with me to maintain our friendships. I can clearly remember many a Friday night after the kids were in bed with friends coming by with a bottle of wine for a movie or game of cards. Or weekend breakfasts before teh craziness of soccer or softball started. So it IS possible, but both parties must prioritize. The “busy” excuse is true of all of us all the time and is generally a state of life to be worked through when something is important.

      • That’s a great perspective. It’s ok if my friends are too busy to go out, I really just appreciate them checking in on occasion. Asking how I am, especially when I know how tired/busy they are, means SO much!

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