Thursday, June 5, 2008

What's in a Friendship? -Updated-

I'm sorry for the silence lately. Sometimes I feel full of words that I have to get out (hence, I started the blog). Sometimes I feel very quiet and just go into "take-it-in" mode. I've been feeling quiet lately... However, I feel like I need some feed-back about something.

I just wrote a "Dear Jane" type of email. Have you ever been in a friendship where you each have different needs/expectations for the relationship? In this instance I had a friend who I was pretty close to during 3 years of grad school. During that time we talked daily, prayed together, and supported each other during hard times. She struggled with infertility for a year before conceiving her oldest daughter (who is now 3 & 1/2). Then, her pregnancy was very high risk and she was on bedrest for 6 months. I visited her almost daily and helped her stay connected with the rest of our classmates.

After graduation we talked on the phone periodically and we have seen each other 2 times, both of which were nice and seemed to go well. The trouble came once I started experiencing my own infertility. I thought she would be a great friend to me. Afterall, she knew how it felt to want a baby so badly and have your body fail you... The last time we saw each other was just after my surgery and the misdiagnosis of male infertility last spring. During the visit she was very supportive and a good listener (even as she held her 3 month old baby...). At that point I was entering into the darkest part of my journey.

The next 9 months were a rollercoaster ride through hell for me. I didn't have extra energy to reach out to her. I could barely take care of myself and my husband. I needed her to reach out to me. She didn't. I got a message in August from her and didn't call her back because she said she would try me again the next day. She didn't call. She did leave another message about a month later apologizing for not contacting me while she was in town for a wedding (she lives several states away) and, again, said she would call me back. She didn't. I did call her back a couple days later and left her a VM. She didn't call me back. When I had my first 1st m/c in September she called again and left me another VM and, again, promised to call me. At that point I was NOT up to calling her. And, I was already feeling very hurt and let down by her, not to mention that I was grief-stricken at loosing my first baby. She never called me back and I haven't heard from her since, until today.

Yesterday I sent an email to all of my grad school classmates (it was a small class and we were pretty close) and told them that I was pg and almost 22 weeks. She replied to my email. She congratulated me, said she had been thinking about me and praying for me, and gave me a small update on her family. She also said she was going to try and call me...

I wrote her back and thanked her the prayers and congratulations but told her that I didn't think it was a good idea for her to call me. I explained how hurt I have been that, obviously, our friendship wasn't as important to her as it was to me. I told her how hurt I was that she hadn't reached out to me more, even though she should know how painful things have been for me, and especially since I was there for her during her difficult time.

I'm not sure how I feel about the whole situation right now. I have been carrying around that hurt for a long time. I'm sad to loose the friendship I thought we had during grad school. However, it's only a friendship if it's a 2-way street. I don't know. What would you have done in this situation? Would you have tried to talk it out with her? Would you have just not responded? Or, do you think I did the right thing by sending the honest email? I'm starting to second guess myself... Thanks for your feedback!

I'll have an update and some pictures in my next post. =)


Three days later: I still haven't heard from my friend. Her silence is deafening.


Nit said...

Hola from NCLM :)

I can totally understand why you are hurt. If anyone would have been there for you thru this, she should have been considering her own experiences & how you were there for her.

I think sometimes people get so caught up in their own lives that they lose sight of those who are in it & neglect those relationships. I've lost several friends due to this type of thing.

I think you did the right thing.If nothing else, now the lines of communication are open. Maybe she will understand your frustration & you guys can reestablish your friendship.

Fertilized said...

I think honesty is always the way to go. Even if it is not the favored response. I think that letting people know they hurt you is a healing, vulnerable process but in the long run, rewarding.

Kudos to you

Kathy V said...

I think situations like this are always difficult. There also in no blanket answer that is right for everybody. I think getting your feelings out there let her know what you are feeling. But if she tries to contact you again don't turn your back on her until you have a chance to hear what she has to say. Maybe she didn't realize she had hurt you. She probably was stuck in a weird spot too knowing her child might cause you unintended hurt while you were going through your struggles. If she does, write or call, atleast give her a chance to defend herself before you decide to call it quits. If she doesn't write or call, then it is probably over.

These kind of situations are never easy. Even if you become friends again it will never be exactly the way it was before. If you aren't then you will feel sad over the lost friendship. I have been on both sides. Sometimes being the person who was hurt and sometimes being the person who got too wrapped up in my own things to be the good communicator to keep the friendship viable. Either way it isn't easy. A piece of the puzzle always falls away after something like this happens no matter what the outcome.

Good luck with it. Hugs of friendship go out to you as you move through this time.

seriously? said...

Wow, congratulations. You did what I always want to do with a particular friend. It was great that you could be honest and let her know that you were hurt and let down by her dissmissive attitude toward your friendship.

If you don't mind, I would like to hear what happens.

allyouwhohope said...

Maybe once she was done with her own infertility she didn't want to go to that dark place again (through you). Just a guess, and that's not an excuse anyways, but that's what stuck out to me as a possibility. I know how frustrating it is though. Just know that you pleased God by ministering to her through her tough time. That's what we are called to do, but unfortunately not everyone answers the call or returns the favor.

Mrs. B said...

I totally hate confrontation so I probably would've wimped out and not responded at all. I'm proud of you that you had the guts to tell her how you feel. So long as you felt better after you did than it was the right thing to do. Good for you.

Kim said...

I had a similar situation with an old neighbor. We were close and then she became too high maintenance for me to be able to deal with. I was always there for her and she never seemed to even ask about me. We still talk e-mail every now and then and she almost always initiates it. I don't think we would be talking if our kids didn't know each other. NCLM

Jen said...

Gosh I could have written so much of that. I don't have any answers for you but I do hurt with you over the friend issue. (Hugs)

Pepper said...

My goodness, BTDT. I agree with the other commenters that people get caught up in their own lives. She probably thought about you and had good intentions, but made excuses not to reach out. Also, some people just can't handle honest feedback. She may fancy herself to be a good friend and, with this clear example of failure, be ashamed to face you. It takes a strong person to admit when they're wrong.

I also agree that if she contacts you again, give her a chance to make amends. If you do, then your friendship may take on a new level. It may never be the same, but it sounds like it's worth trying to salvage.

This kind of hurt is another layer on top of what you've already been through, but please try not to hold on to it. Recognize that she's human and made a terrible mistake and then try to forgive her. Not for her, but for you.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Visiting from NCLM.

JamieD said...

I think it was good to be honest with her. Those types of feeling tend to fester if they are not revealed.

I do agree with Pepper - if the friendship is salvagable, please try and at least try to forgive her. It sounds as though you were both very close and it isn't a friendship you are likely to forget. Don't have the good times overshadowed by the bad.