A friend has just ditched me. This is the fourth time in my life that a girlfriend who I valued has walked out of my life with no explanation. Each time I have called and emailed, apologizing for inadvertent, unknown transgressions, and asking for an opportunity to mend the rift. Each time my requests were met with silence, and I was left to search my soul. Did I do something? Am I a bad friend?
Sunday, I talked with a friend who had once ditched a gal pal. She said that she didn’t like the person she became when around that woman, and that she didn’t want to hurt the other woman’s feelings by explaining all that to her. So she just stopped taking her calls.
Am I difficult to be around?
I don’t know, but I don’t think so.
In those four instances, I will likely never understand what happened–and in retrospect, I see that those four women were not the friends I thought they were, or they would have cared more for my feelings than to dump me in such a heartless way. I do know that life is messy and that cleaning it up is a daily event. I have to apologize for saying inappropriate things (my most common housekeeping task), clarify things that were ambiguous or erroneous, say things that have gone unsaid for too long. This reverse-entropy relationship work is some of the most unpleasant work of life, especially if I allow it to build up. I try not to do that. I try to fix things as they arise. Anything that keeps me awake at night needs to be remedied first thing in the morning, if possible. It’s especially important with regards to families. I can’t afford to have a serious falling-out with anyone in the family, so I work hard to keep things good with my family, my husband and his family, my kids and their families.
But there was a time when I had quite a list of people I avoided. I went to great lengths to avoid them. My life was messy indeed, and now that it has been cleaned up, I don’t ever care to go back to that place. I try to keep it clean.
So what of these four women who I once counted as my friends? Are they hiding from me down the grocery store aisle? I hope not. It would be good to get a phone call, if for no other reason than to say, “have a nice life.”
That is precisely what I wish for each of them.