Sunday, April 28, 2013

Memorial to a Friendship

Ok, so I don't really play video games anymore, but that has more to with an addictive personality and knowing I don't have time for it, then not liking them. Still the picture was applicable in this situation, because realizing I lost a close friend didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. Curiously, it would have if it had been any number of other people, but I think my lack of lamenting over it is what this picture is ultimately describing.

I suppose I should back up a bit lest you ask yourself repeatedly "WTH is she babbling about now?"

In 2008 I met someone that I became fast and furious friends with. So much, that she ended up being  in our wedding, as we had been hers the year before. On several levels, (politics, personality, likes) we were about as opposite as 2 women can be, but somehow we made it work and promised to be BFF's fo-eva. Her consideration towards others was what really drew me in about her.

In 2011, things began to change. Initially I chalked it up to the fact that she had a miscarriage and was TTC. Once she was pregnant, she became even more self-absorbed and rather than risk upsetting her by being my normal blunt self, I kept silent. A part of me feared upsetting a pregnant woman who had already miscarried.

Oh hell - I need to give her a name or my grammar skills will be tested too much. We will call her Sarah, because that's the first name that popped in my head of a person's name I don't actually know in real life. Ok, now we can continue with said fake name. Not sure why I need a fake name since my blog is anonymous, but whatever. 

I started noticing Sarah bullying a few of our other friends. Nothing big deal, but enough that it bothered me and it ended up with her losing friends. Every conversation was about her or her pregnancy. She had a blatant disregard for other people's feelings for all things and it was really beginning to show. Still, I chalked it up to hormones and let it pass. There was a few times I tried to approach her about it, but she didn't want nuttin to do with that.

By now hubby and I had begun our path of infertility that we knew we would have to travel when we first started dating. Sarah was distinctly aware of this path, as she was the one that had informed me when I had only been dating my now-hubby a few weeks, that he most definitely would want children being of Indian heritage. She knew my surgery earlier in 2008 prevented me from carrying anymore children. (As a side note: most AWKWARD conversation ever telling a man you've been dating a few weeks: "um yea, I can't carry a baby - wanna keep dating?") 

There were ups and downs in how she treated me, so I began to distance myself. After having to explain to her OVER AND OVER, that no it wasn't my doctor (I had seen several) misdiagnosing me and no there was not a chance I could get pregnant without a surrogate if I just changed to her doctor who was a regular OB\GYN that specialized in helping mothers-to-be that didn't want c-sections. Sigh. I explained the biology of how a woman has to have a uterine lining to carry a baby on several occasions, but I honestly don't think she even listened. Instead she just switched back to stuff all about her. It was tiring in the least.

Meanwhile, my grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer. My father died when I was 3, so even though I was no longer super close to my grandfather (he had moved back to Sweden over a decade ago), he still was extremely important to me and who I recognized as a major father figure from my youth. I cried to her over his sickness and explained that hubby and I (as well as other family members) would be flying over to Sweden to see him. This was not a short conversation, but one that was rather long. When I saw her about a week later at a surprise birthday party we did for her, she hugged me and said "I totally forgot to say anything about your grandfather dying! I'm so sorry!" I quietly reminded her that he wasn't dead yet and she laughed it off blaming it on pregnancy brain.

He died a few weeks after our visit to Sweden. Nothing from her even inquiring about him or how I was doing. Internally I reconciled this and thought that maybe she just is bad about death. Maybe she didn't want to think about it while she was pregnant. I was making excuses for her, but that was easier than dealing with more sadness in my life that would have happened if I confronted her.

In the midst of all this, I had volunteered to throw a baby shower for her. Her attitude during this time became another slap in the face for me as I had explained to her that money was tight for us since our fertility treatments were expected to very expensive. I was planning the baby shower with 2 other ladies, who did not have tons of cash either. Sarah started telling us what food we needed to cater and about some special cupcakes she wanted that were super expensive. Then she presented us with a guest list of 70+ people. At this point, my patience cracked.

Every female person she had ever known was on that list. People who had simply inquired about her pregnancy were on that list. People from all over the country were on that list. At first I tried to gently explain that it was too many people. That it looked like she was just asking for presents. Then I explained that logistically it was not possible to host such a party. She had only had a little over 100 people at her own wedding! I explained that different people could throw different parties (family, co-workers, friends, etc) and thus maybe we should keep this to immediate family and our group of friends. She threw temper-tantrums and then threw the guilt trip in about how if her mother was still alive, then she would have just had her throw it for her. Her mother had passed long before I had ever met her and I felt this was extremely callous given what I was currently going through with my grandfather.

Ultimately, I had to tell her while I understand she wanted her party a certain way, it was not in my budget to do so given our current expenses. That if she wanted it that way, I would understand, but that someone else would have to throw it. The other ladies backed me up and she finally gave us a more reasonable list of about 36 people. She calmed down, but even with the smaller list (that only about half showed up to), I still went out of pocket for several hundred dollars. As hostesses, we sat in the back and split a bottle of wine to help deal. In the end, I barely got a thank you, although not surprising because  she has always sucked at thank yous. A few months later I got a demand for pictures I had taken during the shower.

I will take a side note here to explain another one of my close friends - we will call her Karey - became pregnant at the time and she was and has always been completely awesome. Two of us threw a baby shower for Karey and she was nothing but a pure delight. She was, and still is, my main go-to-person for all things and played a major role in supporting me through my entire infertility process. I'd like to think she feels the same way towards me because I think she is TOP banana. 

Needless to say, I really started drifting away from Sarah after this. Her baby came and everything was still all about her. I wasn't able to immediately rush over to see her baby, and honestly I didn't want to. I was having trouble all around, including major ones with work and my emotional bank was running low. We saw each other a few times and shared emails, but like many of her other friends, I quit reaching out to her because I felt it was one-sided.

The next year (2012) saw me in India twice for fertility treatments, the loss of my job, and many emotional ups and downs. I simply did not have the ability to prop her up anymore. I wanted to surround myself with positivity and as another friend put it "Sarah is toxic and I no longer can have such toxicity in my life." She contacted me in the middle of one of my trips to India, but I instantly felt it was more because she didn't feel "in the know" and not because she actually wanted to be a supportive friend. A mutual fried had jokingly told her I was dancing with monkeys in India after I sent the mutual friend my monkey siting story and Sarah WANTED DETAILS. This was further confirmed when Sarah didn't respond to a heartfelt response I sent to her about what I was going through in India. She had received the email, but then got "too busy" to respond. Apparently she was really too busy all the time because she never reached out as a friend and instead told the mutual friend she felt too awkward to because SHE didn't know what to say to me.

During this whole time I never lashed out to her or said WTF. For the most part, I'm non-confrontational and tend to give people a ton of chances. By now we were on year #2 of her attitude change and the world still revolved around her. If I sound bitter, it's because I really was back then. Hurt doesn't even begin to describe what I was going through.

After all of this, I did try a few causal emails with her. Our mutual friend disclosed that Sarah felt bad because she had lost many friends. That made me feel bad for Sarah. The emails I sent weren't super deep or long, but still just something to let her know that I still felt something towards her. Mostly joking about one of her favorite shows that I had started watching. Initially I got a brief response, but then she stopped. I wasn't going to sweat it. She was busy or uninterested or whatever. My emails dwindled away as such. We still invited her and and husband to events, but I never heard from her.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. I attended our mutual friend's production and low and behold - Sarah was there. She BLATANTLY ignored me with such rudeness that I was in shock and missed a part of the production. I went over and said hello to her, but she could only spit out a curt hello as I tried to hug her. When I went up to her at the bar she purposely turned her back on me and continued talking to the person she brought. In the show, she was sitting in front of us and besides loudly talking with her friend the first part of the show, she never even acknowledged my presence.

At intermission I went over to some of our other friends that were seated far away and they made me feel better. Some of them had long since given up on Sarah. Some of them reminding me how I had defended Sarah way past when they wanted to deal with her anymore. Oddly enough, Sarah went over to talk to them when I went away.

By the end of the show I had reconciled the situation with myself. Sarah was toxic, and I could no longer let that hurt me. I allowed myself to briefly wonder what was the cause of this latest rudeness, but I didn't feel the need to obsess like I normally would. (Was it because I told other people what was going on in my life but not her? Was it because I was so close to my other friend that had a baby at the same time? Was it because I had drifted away?) Ultimately, I didn't want to ask because I simply didn't care to be a friend with her anymore.

My husband and I talked about it when we returned home that evening. He had been close friends with her as well at one point and she was equally rude to him. He didn't understand how someone could be so publicly rude and had never experienced it before. (I can't remember it happening to me since I was in my early 20's!) We discussed how sad it was to lose someone that had been such an integral part of our lives at one point, but ultimately had become such a drain. We were sad to lose a friendship, but not sad to lose Sarah.

This post is my memorial to a friendship. The picture at the top of this post pokes fun, but I have no desire to be passive-aggressive about it on facebook, nor do I have an interest in stalking Sarah to see what she may be saying about me. This post allows me to put all of my emotions about it to rest and say farewell. And when I think about it, this is much more productive than anything else I could do about it. Including saying F-it and playing a video game. My old therapist would be proud.


  1. Good for you! I'd advise avoiding toxic,draining people. I've had a similar situation with an old close friend of 15 years....she's draining and can be very destructive in her own and my we grew apart. I think its important to have closure like writing this post. X

    1. Thanks. Yes the entire reason I started drifting away was because I realized she made me so unhappy. It was odd she ended up being so rude, but in a weird way a relief that I don't have to try anymore.

  2. Thank you for sharing that story, I went through the the exact same situation just last year when we were starting our surrogacy journey. A close friend and (one of few who knew about our surrogacy) felt like the focus of attention would be off her If I got pregnant ans against her partners wishes conceived the same time as our FET. Really very toxic and selfish person. Safe to say we have ignored her selfishness until it got to a point of extreme selfishness. We simply and politely asked her to back off (she was ranting about something and would not let up) and have not heard from her since. Every person in my life who encountered her said to me that she was bad news and I continued to stand up for her. At the end of the day a true friend would never put you in any awkward situation and will always stand by you...

    Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Very true. The last few years have brought many friends in my life and have graciously opened my eyes up to how wonderful many of them can be. There is no reason to keep the bad ones if they keep hurting you.

  3. This is a very sad story. Sad for your old friend. That has to be a miserable place for her. I feel a little bad for her kids and the insecurities she will raise them with. I think you are amazing for trying to extend this friendship as long as you did. I just don't understand her unwillingness to at least try to talk through things. The way she treated you was totally uncalled for and I'm sorry for you. Good for you for giving yourself an outlet in writing this story down so you can let it go.

    1. A part of me still feels sad for her too, but I really think she will be fine.

      Ultimately, once I realized that she was continuously adding stress to my life, it was easier to let go.


I LOVE comments - feel free to join in!
Unless you are a spammer and hawking your wares. Then you will be booted immediately.