I received an email from a longtime friend of mine who shall remain nameless. I have here changed the name to protect the guilty; I shall call this person Sue. Sue and I have known each other since high school, so we are very much familiar with each other. She has always been rather moody and broody, but I have learned to ignore that part of her personality as she has so many good qualities. She moved to the Midwest last summer with her family to pursue a new job opportunity.
Recently, Sue has had health problems – severe long term health problems requiring hospitalization. I spoke to her on the phone the other day and she’s hanging in there.
So today I get this group email from her about how happy she is in her new home and how thankful she is that all these people in her town and in her church who barely know her are so kind to her, bringing her meals, inviting her and her family to Thanksgiving dinners, etc. I think that’s wonderful. But then she says that this would never have happened in California, where often people don’t know their neighbors and keep to themselves, that they are too busy with their own troubles to concern themselves with others (“except for her friends who ‘of course’ would help her”).
So why am I just a teensy bit offended? Because this email felt like a little slap in the face. Sue has always been a person who complained about people not visiting or calling her, but she never calls back, or visits, or even responds to emails most of the time. Maybe I am deluding myself to the status or quality of our relationship.
Or maybe I just need to work on myself a little bit. It should not bother me this much – this is her path in life. There is a reason for the things we say and do. I have free will as does she, and if the friendship is no longer satisfying, it’s OK to let it be, or end it. I choose to let it be, as we have been friends for 30 years. But I know I will not be doing much of the calling or emailing until I feel that she actually wants to reciprocate. This is not a vindictive response, but a realistic one.
To have a friend, you have to BE a friend…