I effectively ended a friendship today. I say effectively because I did leave it open for discussion and/or change.
I sent her a letter. Well, a Facebook Message to be precise. I typed it up in Word first. Almost 1000 words. I explained why my feelings have been hurt over the last couple of days. I explained how I had resolved to put those feelings aside and continue with our plans for this evening.
Let me back up:
We met at a class at church. Pathways to Membership. I don’t really remember what attracted her to me, but at the end of the class, I offered to exchange phone numbers. “Why?” she responded. “umm, I don’t know.. to keep in touch maybe hang out I guess?”
Her response struck me as odd then. Hell, it strikes me as odd now.
So we slowly began a friendship. If you call it that. We’d have coffee before church on Sundays sometimes. We’d sit together during services if we saw each other. I invited her to go thrift store shopping with me. She invited Jack and I to dinner with her and some other people. It was going okay.
But she never called me. Sometimes she’d FB me something. Every time we did talk, she gave me the impression that we didn’t spend enough time together. But then she came over and would insult Jack (and by extension, me). And then I’d get the impression we should plan something .
And she has some odd status posts on FB. She did one of those “Year in Review” apps that makes a collage out of your statuses from 2010. Her comment on hers; “Wow, I didn’t realize I was so fascinating!” Another example: a day or two before Christmas, she posted: “Let me state for the record that it is the thought that counts. With that said, when you open your homemade gifts, be kind. I actually put a lot of thought into all of them…”
At the beginning of December, we made plans for Thursday at 11:30 a.m. (We’re both unemployed). Wednesday, something came up. I needed to be somewhere at 2. So I called to reschedule with her. “I shoulda known it was too good to be true” she said at the time. I let that one slide and made plans with her for Monday evening instead.
She wrote on my FB wall “So we’re still on for Monday, right?” on either Friday or Saturday.
Sunday, I was prevented from church by a vehement 6 year old. Jack reported back to me that she had asked him to remind me of our “date for Monday”.
Monday night, I was preparing to go over to her house, as planned. I sent her a text that I was on my way (as I had agreed to twice earlier in the week). When I arrived, she told me that she had been getting ready to leave because she hadn’t heard from me. Turns out she had broken up with one of her boyfriends (she had 2 at the time — polyamory, not cheating) that morning. I was there over 5 hours.
But we had a good time that night. She did get a little weird toward the end when I mentioned getting home. (i.e. she offered to let me stay over. When I said I preferred to go home, she acted miffed – like who would want to go home when they could stay here?) But overall, I had a positive impression of the evening.
She stopped by one evening that week. Hung out for a few. Passively insulted my brother (who was sitting 5 feet away).
We chatted on FB a few days later. I was in a particularly honest mood that night and opened up to her a bit about my self-esteem issues, especially surrounding housework.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I’d do with your place. It’s so cluttered! I wouldn’t know where to begin!”
These kinds of jibes are par for the course with her.
So somewhere in the midst of all this, she asks me if we’re exchanging Christmas gifts. It seemed kind of weird to me that she felt the need to ask. I mean, I know it’s kind of a tricky ettiquette thing but I felt like she put me on the spot – forced the decision on me. Almost like a test of our friendship. She was taking my temperature: how good of a friend do you consider me to be?
I told her I had planned to do something for her, however it would be homemade and/or otherwise cheap and that she was not to spend a lot of money on me for that reason. We’re both crafty (me far moreso than she is, but she’s catching up) so I knew she’d likely make mine anyway when I said that, but if she wanted clarity, then I wanted full clarity.
A week or so later, at church, she mentioned to me that we should do a Gift Exchange with the two of us and our mutual friend from the same Pathways class. Great idea! We’ll totally do that!
A few days after that, I ran into our mutual friend who mentioned the idea to me and asked me for input on it. I offered to set up a FB Event, invite both of them, and then we could collaborate on what kind of event we wanted to do.
So I set it up. I chose a date that worked for me and a suggested time. In the description, I asked a series of questions: should we invite Sig-o’s? should we include anyone else? etc. She RSVP’d that she would be there. No further comment. Our mutual friend commented but didn’t respond to my questions.
The date I chose was tonight.
Yesterday, there was a post on FB. Joann’s Fabric asked what people were working on the day after Christmas. I responded: “Some napkins made of muslin for some friends from church.” An hour or so later, she posted on my Wall, “You know, you really shouldn’t post what you’re making us for Christmas until AFTER we’ve received them. But I’m sure I will love my last-minute gift just the same…”
Just for the record: the napkins I made (ok, haven’t QUITE finished but would have but for today). I had some white muslin lying around. A lot of it. Muslin is just 100% cotton. I bought a box of Rit dye for $1.99. I cut the muslin into napkin-sized rectangles and dyed them in my washing machine. Then I embroidered each one in the corner. Then I stitched it together. THIS WAS NOT A SMALL UNDERTAKING. I worked on them for 12 hours straight yesterday and almost finished all of the embroidery. I spent the time the muslin was soaking in dye to decide which embroidery pattern to use. I picked the one with symbolic meaning for the 3 of us at this party.
Also, did I say anywhere that she was my “friends from church” mentioned in my post? Do I not have other friends from church? I mean, yes, the napkins were for her but she *still doesn’t* know that.
Her comment ruined my day yesterday. I kept Jack up until 4 a.m. talking about it – whether I should respond. Publicly or privately? In person? Let it go? When I’ve already let it go so much?
Oh, and at some point during my marathon embroidery-mulling about this “friend” and her comment- day yesterday, I did fire off a logistical message about our party.
Just a quick note saying, hey – no one responded to my questions so I guess it’s just us. Jack will be here so bring your sig-os if you want; i’m making soup and you guys bring something?
I got no response.
This morning, I hopped on FB. I had a ton to do today: I had napkins to finish, wash & wrap. I had grocery shopping to do (I don’t have the budget but I’m doing it anyway) for the meal I had planned for us. My house needed to be cleaned massively.
She had finally responded to my message. She would be bringing food, of some kind, and her own booze, of some kind. She didn’t know if her boyfriend would be interested in coming.
I opened a chat window with our mutual friend. I told her about the message yesterday and asked her opinion about it. She suggested that I try not to respond at all and to just write it off, again. So I tried.
A couple of hours later, I was out and about. I got a text. From her. “I have plans with someone else at 8. Please don’t hate me if I beg off early!”
I burst into tears.
Jack got me home. Mutual Friend arrived shortly thereafter. The three of us talked about her for a long time. We all agreed that the kindest course of action to HER would include an explanation. So, I cancelled tonight via text message with promise of an email later explaining. I drafted that long letter I mentioned at the top. My Friend read over my shoulder and helped me find words that were hard to articulate. Jack read it and suggested a couple of minor edits for clarity.
I am proud of the letter. It makes my point in the most adult, calm, kindest way I know how. I used “I language”. I acknowledged her needs and feelings the best I could. But I was clear: her behavior is not acceptable to me. The stress of this “friendship” has become a hazard to my health (I have clinical depression and generalized anxiety. And no medical insurance. Stress = bad). If she is willing to try to change the behavior, I would like to try to build a friendship anew. But that if she is not willing to change the behavior, I cannot continue our friendship.
What’s sad to me most of all is that she probably will never speak to me again. I doubt she’ll be able to see past the anger and confusion and even take in how I’m feeling. I’m not sure that she will be able to see that anything she’s done could possibly have caused me to feel this way. She will take it as pure rejection.
It it wrong that I feel sad about that? Why does some part of me still feel like the bitch in this situation?
Originally posted on Band Back Together