I have a friend who is mad at me. I am also mad at her. I don’t know what to do.
I’ve known Joan for ten years. We’ve been close friends for seven of those years. We’ve never fought before. We’ve had periods of distance but not for any reason other than being busy. There are so many things I love about Joan. She has the best sense of humor of anyone I know. She is also one of the smartest friends I’ve ever had. She is caring. She has been an important part of my life since 2007.
I knew there were moments last fall when I irritated her. I was irritating everyone, including myself. I sensed some growing distance before I left Portland. I thought it was because I was getting ready to move and some stuff going on in her personal life. In March, we were both at a conference. She greeted me with what was either a very rude comment or one laden with so much sarcasm that me, the sarcasm expert, missed it. We went to lunch with some friends. She gave me a really hard time about someone. Later, she gave me a tough time about something else. I was hurt. I also wanted to tell her what was going on with me but wasn’t sure if I would get the chance so I sent her a text updating her on my health. I thought it would be okay since we were starting to talk about it earlier that day when we were interrupted. I found out later that finding out via text really pissed her off. I am not always the most sensitive when it comes to health updates because I try to downplay it for myself. I just assume everyone is the same way. I tried explaining it to her. We talked. I thought things were okay.
We were at the same conference 3 1/2 weeks ago. I knew the moment I saw her that she was mad at me. She was cold. She hadn’t seen me for several months, yet she didn’t stop and say hi. It isn’t really the reaction I expected from someone who I used to consider a very close friend. The coldness extended into the next day. I found her later that day in the bar so I had a few drinks with her and another person. Things seemed a little better. It quickly went downhill back to coldness. It hurt. I assumed it was still the health stuff but I wasn’t sure. I wanted to talk to her but I wasn’t sure how to start the conversation. I wasn’t in the best head space that weekend.
I found out the day we left the conference that she was really mad at me (through our good friend who was also at the conference). She was mad that I wasn’t making healthy decisions. She saw me drinking a lot, which she knew was not a good thing for me. She was also mad that I was spending a lot of time with someone who she saw as very unhealthy for me. She doesn’t like this person so she said she automatically didn’t want to join us in different social situations. If Joan had told me all of this, I would have been able to explain things. I would have also explained how hurt I was from the first bit of rejection I experienced from her on Saturday night before she saw me hanging around anyone or drinking too much. I decided I would send her a letter when I returned home when I would tell her how much she means to me and provide some rationale for certain things.
I haven’t sent the letter. A part of me is so tired of the high school drama. She said/he said. I fall into the same pattern when I am around the old group. I know as a friend that it can be extremely frustrating to listen to someone bitch\stress\vent\process the same thing to death and then they put themselves back in the situation that is just going to lead to more bitching\stressing\venting\processing. But, she never gave me that chance. She just assumed I would go in that direction when that wasn’t the case. A part of me doesn’t think it would really matter what I would say because it feels like her mind is made up. Now I am the one making assumptions. I guess what has stopped me from sending the letter is I am tired of fighting for friendships. Why isn’t she fighting for me? What did I do that was so wrong? I realize this is very stubborn. I also realize I sound a little like my mother. It also isn’t in the spirit of the things I was thinking about after the memorial service. I know I hurt a lot of people that weekend. I have apologized to the people who felt I blew them off when I was in Portland and didn’t see them.
As stupid as it sounds, I am at that point where I think if someone really wants me as a friend, well, they should fight for me. I know I am stubborn. I know life is short. But this is one case where I think we both screwed up and maybe…just maybe..I am not the one who owes the apology. Maybe I am not the horrible person in this situation. Maybe it is time I see other people step up and make a case for our friendship.