Life is messy

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.

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3 Comments

Filed under girlfriends, relationships

3 responses to “Life is messy

  1. Cliff

    People are cowards at heart. It’s easier to just walk away than to just come out and say, “you know, when we’re together you always , and that hurts my feelings.” Sounds wimpy, doesn’t it? Difficult and wimpy are hard pills to swallow, so many folks just change their numbers. I recently told a friend “why” our relationship had changed over the years. It wasn’t easy — no sir — but he deserved it. I have a tendency to expect friends and family to understand what’s going on with me and to know when they’ve done something to hurt me. It doesn’t happen like that in the real world…

    Okay, I’m beginning to babble. Sufice it to say they aren’t very strong people. Whatever it was it’s probably something that was going on for a long time, and instead of saying, “hey, I resent that”, they let it go, assuming you knew you were being “bad”.

    That said, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s in their ball park now. Hopefully she’s reading your blog and will muster up the courage to call, or text message, or e-mail, or blog her feelings. Too many good people out there…time to move on.

  2. Cliff

    Oops! I put a the following — insert slight here — in angled brackets, which the blog thought was a command and didn’t print! It belonged in the first sentence, as part of the quote.

  3. Cap'n Crusty

    We writers are odd creatures. Generally speaking, we see things from different perspectives than most people–not better, necessarily, just different. That’s one reason we write: to explain ourselves (hopefully). And when we’re doing our best, in some small way we may actually be helping to keep society as a whole from stumbling down
    dangerous roads that “normal” folks might not otherwise see. I know that sounds pretentious, but I do think it’s one of the reasons we’re not reflexively burned at the stake
    whenever we raise our weird little heads; that is, on some level the public may recognize us as having some cultural merit. Hunter S Thompson comes to mind as a perfect
    example.

    It’s also probably why we best function around other writers, as is often the case, and as you’ve pointed out, Liz. Who better to understand–even if there’s little mutual agreement–if not another scribbling nut-cup?

    The problem arises when we try to socialize with non- writers. We’ll say something outré in total honesty, in total innocence, not meaning to hurt anyone’s feelings. But rather than question further, or nod sagely (“This guy’s weird, but then, so am I, so I won’t rip him/her to shreds”), the “normal” we’re conversing with might instead take offense. Especially if we’re cutting too close to a secret truth. Which, you have to admit, we sometimes do, unconsciously or otherwise.

    So if someone you once thought was a dear friend quits you without an apparent (to you) reason, it may not be your fault. You may have simply, yet forthrightly, stumbled over or shot down a pet belief. It’s what we do, this gutting of sacred cattle–if we’re any good, and have any shred of integrity. It’s what we can’t HELP but do.

    Any true friend should realize that. Those that can’t…well, maybe it’s best for all concerned to see their dwindling backside.

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