I’m going to talk a bit here about friendship. It means many things to many people. I don’t have many friends myself. I have a lot of acquaintances, but few real friends. But that is by choice. Robert and I are basically loners, preferring our own company to that of many others. Having worked in an office for years, I can attest that most times, office friendships can be troublesome.
That’s why I can count true friends on the fingers of one hand with a finger left over. Well, now I’ve got one more finger to spare. I’m dropping an erstwhile friend. Why? Well, this was her third chance. Call me crazy, call me a sucker. I believe in second (and third, and fourth..) chances for people I care about. My bad.
The first time, she had blogged about me and said some really nasty and hurtful things about me – and about Robert. I shared them with him. He of course became livid and thereafter forbade this friend to come to our house. I have to honor his wishes. It’s his house too. I even blogged about it. (I’m too lazy to look up the post, but I’m sure you can find it. Unlike her post, I did not password-protect mine.) Now I realize that her ugly post was password-protected, and the argument can be made that it was not meant for my eyes. But in all honestly, I was able to crack the password with ease. Did this mean she wanted me to read the post, but wanted to assuage her guilt about it if I did? When I “gently” reminded her of it recently, and how hurtful it was to me, her flip response was, “Don’t like what you read on my blog, hit the back button.”
This went on for a year and then she started talking to me again. I wondered what brought her back around. The topic that breached the silence was HTML and CSS coding. Then one day, BAM! She misconstrued what I said as me being uninterested in her boss’s most recent legal victory. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When she called me to tell me about it and I had to have my memory refreshed, she corrected herself and said, Oh, now I remember, you and [my boss at the time] weren’t involved in this case, it was [another co-worker]. So after we hung up, I thought nothing of it. Next thing I know, I’m reading another big ugly blog post about my insensitivity. Jesus H. Christ.
Again, the silence after this apparent heinous gaffe on my part went on for several months, and again, after a while, she started talking to me again. (When will I learn?) Apparently this woman’s friendship shelf life is about a year. With a 6-9 month break (where she gets mad at some real or imagined transgression, blogs about it, and refuses to speak to the offender for months on end).. Oy.
So the latest? Well, the other day I shared a gripe I had about an acquaintance of mine. When she pressed me to tell her who I was referring to, I told her it’s not important. And it isn’t. The point was WHAT was said, not WHO said it.
She then told me not to bother her with these kind of things if I’m not gonna tell her everything and said my statement made her feel “like crap.” She even made a point to tell me that she was hurt because I didn’t disclose the amount of Robert’s latest lawsuit settlement to her so she could be appropriately happy about it. WTF? Be happy that he got something, whether it was ten bucks or ten thousand bucks. A REAL FRIEND who understands what Robert and I have gone through these past few years wouldn’t need to know a dollar amount to feel happy for us. And as I told her, the amount isn’t important, it’s no one’s business but Robert’s. And besides that, we both signed a confidentiality agreement that says we cannot disclose this information anyway. And being a legal secretary herself, she should know that! She also griped because I did not share with her the exact fee me and my web design partner were charging for a big commercial project we just landed. I told her I have never felt comfortable talking about finances and probably never will. I shouldn’t have had to explain myself at all.
It sounds like her beef with me is my unwillingness to disclose my finances; to bare all. According to this woman, if I utter one fact about any facet of my life, I’m beholden to spill it ALL. It’s all or nothing, literally. I apparently am not free to choose what information I wish to share or not share. I must spill my guts completely or shut completely the fuck up. When you have to walk around on eggshells all the time afraid to say something for fear of hurting someone’s feelngs, that’s not really a friendship. When someone doesn’t respect your boundaries or your privacy, then that’s not really a friendship.
By way of example, my very best friend in the world doesn’t share every single detail of his life with me. He can be open at times, but at other times, he simply doesn’t want to talk about it. And I respect that, and him. I respect his boundaries. I don’t feel hurt or slighted or less his friend because he has decided to keep certain matters private. I’m not entitled to know any more than what he wishes to share with me. It’s not my birthright. But we are very close, we have an emotional intimacy between us that rivals anything I have with Robert. I talk to my friend every single day, without fail. Yet I don’t know everything about him. I know what he shares with me. And I’m fine with that. Maybe I’m not normal, huh?
As I said before, it’s not really about all that, my shortcomings in her eyes. It is simply another thinly veiled ploy to exit the friendship stage once more — for the last time, as far as I’m concerned. Bottom line: In the scheme of things, considering this person’s history with me, this most recent falling out isn’t the worst thing this “friend” has done to me. It is simply the last.
And “Friend” — if you’re reading this — please do not mistake any future cordiality or civility for friendliness. I’m not stupid; I know I have to be nice simply because we work together. What I don’t have to do is subject myself to your bullying tactics and heartless behavior anymore. And if you don’t like what you read here on my personal web space? Hit the big “X” in the top right corner of your browser.