Do You Have Friendships by Rote?
Are Old Friends Really the Best Friends..or Just the Most Convenient?
I had a falling-out with an old friend recently. And I have no idea why.
We had had a little friction a few weeks prior due to a post that I wrote that offended her. But we had spoken since then and I (wrongly) assumed that we were past that and back on track.
I realized that I hadn't heard from her in a few weeks, which was highly unusual. And while I thought of reaching out to see what was wrong, I didn't do it.
I just couldn't make it a priority. And that saddens me.
But I know it's just the handwriting on the wall. We met in 1988, when she hired me to be her Human Resources assistant at a manufacturing company in Connecticut. The job only lasted 6 months, but our friendship endured.
There have been periods of time when we were out of touch, but we always found our way back to each other.
She's the complete opposite of me, in every way possible, except for our mutual love of animals and dislike of children.
She's a workaholic, driven by accomplishment and excellence. And she has had a very successful career. She made it to the corner office, and no one deserves it more than she does.
I am a Jack-of-all-trades, never pursuing a true career and live my life with no security.
Her political ideologies are diametrically opposed to mine, to the point where we have a silent agreement to disagree and rarely discuss the topic.
She has a very small zone of comfort and chooses not to step outside of it. She has no curiosity about the world outside of that comfort zone and doesn't enjoy travel or seeing new places. She has lived in only four homes in her life and her current home is across the street from the home she grew up in.
I try so hard to respect that, but it just seems so...small-minded to me.
I've moved 35 times across 8 different states and if travel were free, you'd never see me again.
But most of all, she's become angry and brittle. She's completely unappreciated at work, but refuses to retire. I'm certain she's got well over 7 figures in the bank (with insurance plans for every possible contingency), and she's almost at full-retirement age, but she won't give it up.
And this environment has made her toxic. The vitriol she spews every time I speak to her is simply too much for me sometimes. In years past, she was fun to be around. She laughed and joked. Not anymore. I admit to many times seeing her name on the caller ID and not picking up because I just can't deal with her anger.
Because she hates being at work, but she doesn't know who she is without it. And so she'd rather stay in an environment that emotionally, spiritually, and mentally drags her down and pummels her every single day than face the uncertainly of a new chapter in her life.
So when I realized that I hadn't spoken to her for weeks, my thought was, "Just let it go. Enough already." And that made me sad.
She has been a good friend to me. A loyal friend. We've known each other more than 30 years. But I don't recognize her anymore. And I don't like whoever it is that took her place.
Now, I don't know what I would do if she reached out to me. But I can say with some certainly that I won't reach out to her.
I'll always care for her, but I think I need to do it from afar now. I wish her well and I wish her love. Most of all, I wish her a happier life.