For many years now I have had a desire to cultivate more same sex friendships. I count myself pretty fortunate and lucky to have the friends I do. I normally don’t feel that I’m lacking in terms of a social life, but there are times when I’ve felt I lack in closeness. I’ve had periods where I’ve felt that I’ve wanted more people near me that I feel connected to.
One of my best friends lives in Missouri. Michael doesn’t count her as someone he looks forward to seeing, but she’s one of the few people I feel that I can talk to and say what’s on my mind, even if I know it’s not something she agrees with or wants to hear. We can spend hours talking about everything and nothing. I know I can count on her. There’s something very rewarding and validating about having that connection to someone and feeling that they’re rooting for you in life.
Most often I find that I’m surrounded by people, but at times I struggle to feel truly connected to them. I’ve always felt there should be some sort of balance in terms of the people you spend your time with. Ideally I’d like to spend my time with people I feel connected to in some way.
Maybe I’m just feeling sentimental because of the surgery, or the pain meds, but tonight, I was very annoyed by a couple of people in my life. One called to say that she was sorry; she essentially said that she was too busy and distracted to call earlier this week to see how I was doing & felt guilty.
The other person is someone who has pulled disappearing acts in the past and recently reappeared asking for another chance. When I saw her last week she said she’s been home and I got the idea that I’d see her more because she was available. I called her and asked her if she could come over on Friday after I got home from the hospital. I thought it would be good to have someone to sit with/help and visit with the kid and I as Michael ran some necessary errands. It also seemed like a good time to catch up and visit with her before her baby shower. However, she never returned my call or email asking her if she was free and would be willing/able to come by.
She had her baby shower yesterday and 10 minutes before the shower she sent me a text saying, “sorry I didn’t get back to you, I have family in town.” Strangely, I found it important to get her a gift and despite being sick had Michael help me make her a diaper cake. I was too sick from the medication to attend the shower, but we were on our way there, so we dropped it off. She came out to say thank you and again apologized for not calling me back and said she’d spend time with me soon. I had to fake a smile and realized too late that I didn’t believe her. Today I’m wondering why I went to all the trouble when she clearly doesn’t communicate very well.
In both cases these are women I very much enjoy and love to be around. Equally damaging is the fact that these women share the same occupation as I do and we’re spoken about the value of communication and how important friendships are to us. However, right now, they feel like work and the forced apologies annoy me because what they also seem to be saying is, “I realize I’m expected to be your friend which comes with certain responsibilities, but you should forgive me for not being responsive to your needs or desires but I’m very busy with my own life.”
In both cases I tried to be optimistic and kind as I would want the other person to give me the benefit of the doubt and to be gentle and patient. However, in both cases these are people that aren’t able to find time to see me or to spend time with me much less call me back or see how I’m doing until someone else asks them, how is Danna doing? Is she ok?
I’m thinking it’s time that I re prioritize some things.
Another friend came by tonight and despite being busy and a single parent, I’ve seen her since I’ve had the baby. She doesn’t use life as an excuse to check out of our friendship. I felt a surge of warmth because she came to return a couple of books, but she brought me a bag of books to read and some dvds to watch over the next week while I’m recovering and at home with the kid. She also asked if we could have another mama’s night out to see a movie or dinner next week. It felt good to be attended to and have someone responsive to the situation. That’s what friendship is to me, the little things. I don’t expect a lot, but I do expect some compassion and communication. Apologies are great, but they’re only as good as what happens afterwards.
I suppose the bottom line is this-I enjoy my friends, friendship doesn’t feel like work for me and being there for other people doesn’t feel like a burden, isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?
I also don’t want my son to see me sad or upset when someone I call my friend ignores me or forgets about me. Especially when there are so many other wonderful people in my life who don’t forget. To those people-I want to hug you, thank you.