Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Important

The biggest problem with tough choices is that I'm pulled in so many directions.

I want to be happy. I want to do what is right. I want to be a loving person. I want to be a good friend. And I want to learn to think differently about what's bothering me, so that it doesn't bother me so much.

J says that he just makes people who hurt him less important. But I've had a habit of making people who hurt me MORE important. For me that's because I was hurt a lot when I was young, by my parents, and when you're a kid, of course your parents are very important. But I'm an adult now, and I can change that habit. I will never be hurt again like I was when I was a kid, because I'll never be that vulnerable again. So I don't have to protect myself from getting hurt.

So the situation I'm facing is my friend's new girlfriend, who is that former friend of mine who was unpleasant to me when I was going through a tough time and then refused to return my keys and bank pass for a couple of months. That got resolved after I called her mother and asked her to intervene. She's now moved from Canada to Holland, and is living with him.

I recently saw my friend for the first time since his girlfriend arrived here. We were able to arrange that because she went out of town for a few days.

He told me a few things that she told him about what happened, sort of letting me in on what he understands her perspective to be.

She told him that she was hurt that I didn't trust her to return my things. She told him that she had made several attempts to return the keys and bank pass but that my cousins hadn't responded to her. She told him that she didn't care if I visited him, but she didn't want to be friends with me because I hurt her so much.

I was very surprised to hear this. At first, I resented that she had told him about how she felt about me, and not me. And I felt really sad that I had hurt her. But you know, I tend to believe what people say, even when their actions say otherwise.

Her actions were to not reply to my emails for months. I sent her 5 or 6 emails over the course of about 3 months. Not only was I trying to heal our friendship, but I also asked her to please confirm that she had my keys and bank pass and that she would give them to my cousins. She told my friend/her boyfriend that she was just deleting my emails unread. If that's true, she only knew that she was supposed to return the keys and bank pass to my cousins as soon as possible.

She and her mother know my cousins. They both know the mom and the dad and the three adult children living at home. So she knew five different people she could contact to return my keys and bank pass. I hadn't told any of them the problems I was having with her, or that she just was refusing to reply to my emails. After all, it's none of their business. So they would have been just as loving and kind with her as they have always been over the years.

It would indeed surprise me if my cousins had ignored her requests to meet, since I was also in contact with my cousins who knew this was important to me. My cousins were replying to my emails and letting me know what was happening. And my cousins told me that she had made a couple of vague appointments but then just never showed up. So if this is a test of who-is-more-likely-to-be-telling-the-truth, then based on these facts, the believability lies slightly more with my cousins, if for no other reason than that they provided me with this information at the time.

I knew my former friend very well. She has lots of great qualities, but she isn't the most honest person. I have no idea if she's lied to me directly, but she told me many things about herself that began with, "So-and-so still thinks that this happened, because I lied about it. Really, something else happened." Now, that's her business, and she has the right to shape what people think about her in this way if that's what she wants to do. But back to the test of truth-telling: based on her character, she is less believable than my cousins.

So my conclusions are:
  1. I think she probably was hurt by something I said or did.
    Now, she had the chance to make things right between us, but didn't. She could have read my emails and learned what I was thinking and feeling. She could have told me what she was thinking and feeling. She didn't do those things, and I suspect that there are two reasons behind that. The first is, friendship isn't (or at least my friendship wasn't) that important to her, so when she got hurt, she just moved on. The second is that she did value my friendship, but when she got hurt she decided that the effort to talk about it with me was too much work for her, and moved on.
  2. I think she is shaping what her new boyfriend thinks of her by saying what she thinks will make him think better of her.
    I don't believe she really made the efforts she claimed to contact my cousins about the keys and bank pass. I don't think my apparent lack of trust in her was hurtful to her, or if so, that's really odd. If she didn't reply to her colleagues at work asking about a project she was handling, would she be hurt that her boss no longer assumed she was working on the assignement? She knew she had a responsibility to fulfil, and didn't make it happen - for months.
I really valued her friendship, and loved her how I imagine people love a sister. She really mattered to me. But now I can see that her hurting me wasn't a mistake or an accident, it was something that she did deliberately, (although not likely with hurting me as a goal). I did everything I could to try to heal our friendship, but she didn't. That is really sad.

I notice that my anger and hurt is gone, as I realize that of course I need friends who are less likely to hurt me. I can't befriend everyone, and like financial investments, there are some friendships that depreciate in value over time. It's sad, but also like a financial investment, there is a point at which you need to move on.

And in order for me to do that, I have to recognize and accept that I tried to make this friendship work. I placed a high value on what was there, and made every effort to breathe life into it. But a friendship is a team effort, and I can't do it on my own. She had the opportunity to know how I felt, what I thought, and that I asked her to forgive me for whatever happened that made her angry or hurt. But she chose not to know those things, and I have to respect that. She had the choice to make this friendship work or not. I think she made the wrong choice, but it is her choice to make.

So what I need to do now is realize that she is not important in my life. She used to be, but not anymore. She's my friend's girlfriend, and when we visit him she might be around, but she doesn't matter. My friends and family matter, not people I used to know once upon a time.

Gak. I sure hope this is the end of this drama with her inside my head!


  1. if one door closes, others open up! friends come and go, thats live...don't worry too much! my best friend during business school got pregnant and after school we lost contact (she didn't react when i called her etc), but now i'll see her again in june on a friends we'll see, maybe we'll be friends again?! there's always hope!

  2. Oh I know... I think I'm just trying to let it all go. I've got tons of friends that have come and gone and come again, and bygones are totally bygones. But I guess this is sitting with me because I'm working on developing myself and trying to change things that make me unhappy. So I think I got a bit distracted during my post - I started out thinking about how what you pay attention to, grows... and that I have a habit of paying attention to the negative things. And although what happened with her was negative, it only got to be such a big deal because I paid so much attention to it. So I didn't like what happened - oh well, tons of stuff have happened that I didn't like, that's life. It's character-building to accept myself and face my challenges. And sure, there's always hope! I don't think I'd be interested in her again in the future, but I have no doubt there will be other friends I enjoy as much as I enjoyed being friends with her - maybe even more!