Friday, March 20, 2009

It was so nice talking to you...

we should really do this more often, said my friend to me, when we said good bye after a 45 minute conversation. We live far apart, and we don't talk often. When I hung up the phone and thought about the conversation we'd had, I noticed, once again, that it really was good for her to talk to me again. She got to do all the talking she needed to. She poured her guts out to me, told me the story of her life, her trials and tribulations of motherhood, marriage, and little maladies she is suffering from... and I listened... just as always, when we talk. It's not the first time, that I'm left wondering, what this friendship does for me, and why I am keeping it alive.
Okay, well, I guess it's not THAT easy to end a friendship, when you keep receiving phone calls. ;)

The fact is, I am a big believer in friendship, long lasting friendship... but I also feel that there is a time for everything and everyone. Friendship is one of those things, that might last for life, but it might not. When you realize, that you don't get anything out of it anymore, wouldn't it be right and fair to say so? Now if only there wasn't this thing called guilt. And beside guilt there is the past... the many years we have known each other.
Number 1... do you simply tell this person who still takes you for granted, who still wants your friendship, and who obviously still needs your friendship, that you are no longer interested, that you can no longer invest emotions into this friendship, that has not given anything, but continuously takes your time and energy? Number 2... do you throw a thing away, that has lasted for so long, knowing you'll tear down yet another bridge to your younger days, your youth, your past, to live in the here and now? (This sounds awfully dramatic, I realize, and at barely 35 I don't think of myself as old.)

I am torn. I feel like this person needs me, if just to unload her "garbage" on me, if just to know, that I'm listening. She has never followed my advice. She has never reported back to me, after asking me for what to do. She doesn't want my help. She simply needs to spill her guts. She has never moved on. With my move to the States I have started over, have created a new life, and I know I'm ready to let her go. But I know, that she has not started over. She is still in her old life, with all the same people, and with me as a steady pillar to lean on. Do I have a responsibility?

The way things are going, we will still have the same conversations about the same things in 10 and 20 and 30 years. I guess it's just a small sacrifice in the bigger picture. I should be happy and grateful for all the other things I have in my life, and for the friends who are as important to me, as I seem to be to her. I guess, I just answered my own question.

Thoughts?

10 comments:

  1. My friendship "rule" is this...if your friend completely zaps your energy, is just too exhausting to listen or communicate with, it's time to let it go. Simple as that. BTW, you can do anything on my blog with your little ones...as my youngest would say to me, "Don't be a baby about it, just do it!" HE! HE!

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  2. With my move to the States I have started over, have created a new life,

    You Canadian?

    I should be happy and grateful for all the other things I have in my life, and for the friends who are as important to me, as I seem to be to her.

    Actually, one day I decided to drop all friends who for some reason I couldn't stand and who only took from me and gave nothing.

    Now I have no friends. So I don't recommend it.

    The trick seems to be to have some friends we receive from and others we give to. In an ideal world, every relationship is a give-and-take deal but in real life it rarely happens, in my opinion.

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  3. Lisa, your youngest one is a smart one. ;)

    Lorena, I'm German.
    I'm not planning on dumping all my friends. I'm just trying to figure out, if I should hold on to this one or not. :) I don't dump friends. That's not who I am.
    I love my friends. LOVE THEM!

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  4. Were you talking to my sister? It all sounds so familiar.

    Since I can't just stop talking to my sister, I have learned that I just need to assert myself in the conversation. Honestly, I don't want advice from my sister (we "operate" differently on all levels), so I don't care if she listens to my problems. I just steer things in a more interesting direction whenever possible. I tell amusing anecdotes about my child or ask about her kids, so that I don't have to listen to her talk about her bad mortgage or her even worse husband. Sometimes it works and sometimes I clean the house while she yammers on.

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  5. Sometimes friends come and go. As we grow as people we change. Sometimes these friends don't change with us. You may have to be honest with your friend and tell her how you feel. It would be hard to do, but maybe she doesn't realize that she burdens you so much. You may be surprised and find that your friendship grows and evolves into something different, or you may go your seperate ways. Either way, I beleive, is better than you not getting anything out of the friendship. To me, friendship is give and take, for both people. If she is doing all the taking and you are doing all the giving ~ its not much of a friendship.

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  6. Thank you, all. I'd like to clarify also, that I am certainly aware that friendship is not always giving and not always taking. That means, if a friend needs me, really needs me and is unable to give, then I'm happy to give. That's what makes me a good friend, I hope. :) But when it goes on for years and years, and you realize, that the problems are always the same, and the complaints never change... when there is simply no learning curve on the other side, that's when "giving" turns into a job... one I don't particularly like a lot. ;)

    Thank you for all your responses.

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  7. I have a friend like this too and have been wondering how to approach this subject without offending her. She calls and complains about her cheating boyfriend, her child, her finances all at 7:30 in the morning while I'm trying to get the kids ready for school. By the time I can get a word in she has run out of time and says goodbye. I have thought about ending our relationship, but it's not that easy. We have some of the same friends and I think she does need someone to talk to, but really so do I. She never takes my advice, but then complains when her plan doesn't work out. I have been her shoulder to cry on (for 10 years)so many times that she just expects me to answer the phone when she needs me. I'm not quite ready to give her up as a friend but eventually I think it will come to that.

    Great post Freckle! Definitely food for thought!

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  8. Its interesting you posting this I'm having the same issue with a friend and wanting to end the friendship but the guilt. I 've never ended a friendship so it's uncharted waters for me. I say live your life and avoid the ones that bring you down. It's a tough one.

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  9. ute, hartes brot. also dieses thema. ich unterscheide mittlerweile zwischen "freunde" und "gute bekannte".

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  10. This may be too late...but if you were born a guy, this would all go away...see, we are insensitive jerks so it's not an issue.

    Well, partly just kidding....but I feel for you. I'd say you need some friends who are givers and some who are takers....

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