Reader Q & A: Is my childhood friendship worth saving?

October 22, 2008 | By | 4 Replies Continue Reading

QUESTION:

Dear Irene:

My best friend, well ex-best friend and I grew up as next door neighbors…destined to be best friends forever. We were those girls who were inseparable and would laugh at the most silly things no matter how silly we would look. After 19 years, we were still the best of friends and closer than ever. I am the more outgoing one whereas she was always more on the shy side, so a lot of our friends were friends with "us" through me.

I set her up with this guy who was a year older than us and hung out with the same crowd as us. He seemed like such a great guy, but we soon came to learn differently. He started to hit on all of us when my best friend wasn’t around. One night at a party he put his hand on my rear, but it was a quick innocent brush, if you will. My boyfriend was there to witness it and so were a bunch of our other friends, including some people that my friend worked with. Unfortunately for me, there was one girl she worked with that did not like me one bit and went back to my friend telling her that I was hitting on her boyfriend when she was not around.

The immature and irresponsible side of my friend decided to shut me out for a few days and not talk to me, but her boyfriend wasn’t so shy. He called threatening me saying, "Whatever you told Jessica, you better tell her it was all a lie or I swear I will cut your throat". I had no idea what was said at this point and tried to get him to calm down and explain the situation. Well that didn’t go so well, since he was hotheaded and mean.

I got in touch with Jessica’s younger sister who told me everything that was going on. I left Jessica voicemail after voicemail and she finally called me back. I told her that if there was ever a problem she should come to me, but that I was really disappointed in the fact that she would think I could do something like that to her. We made up of course, but there was another issue on hand…the way her boyfriend had spoken to me.

She understood, but asked me not to make her choose between him and myself. I promised not to, but I told her that I could not and would not be around him at all!!! I guess you could say that pretty much started our distancing right there. This all happened in October 2006, we did not speak again until the next New Year’s Eve. We were all together at a party (yes, her boyfriend was there) and we had realized how important we were to each other. Her boyfriend I guess was not happy with that, found a new way to come between us, and started another argument with me. That was New Years 2006 and we have not spoken since.

She has not been with that boyfriend for about a year from what I can guess and she has tried to reach out to me over the past few months. My life is so much different now and we’ve been through so much. Can we ever get back to that place?? Should I even let her back into my world after cutting me out for so long?? It’s her birthday today and yes, I do miss her, but I’ve been fine for the past two years and have so many other reliable friends in my life. ADVICE PLEASEEE and I’m sorry for the long entry, but it really is the only way to understand everything that has gone on between us.

Sincerely,
Sandy

ANSWER:

Dear Sandy:

It sounds like your childhood friend was in a "difficult" relationship. If her boyfriend threatened to "cut your throat," it’s reasonable to assume that he was possessive, controlling, and angry. It sounds like he was very threatened by your close friendship with Jessica. (Sometimes, men like that don’t want their girlfriends to have any friends.) Since he has been out of your friend’s life for some time, it sounds like she outgrew this unhealthy relationship.

Since you have so much shared history together, I think you should give the relationship another chance. Can you send her a belated birthday card, telling her that you were thinking of her on her special day, and would love to get together for coffee or a meal to catch up with each other? There’s not much to lose and everything to gain.

If she says no, you can forget about the relationship and move on with your life (as you already have). Or you may meet and discover you no longer have much in common—except for your past. Not all childhood friendships last forever.

The best of outcomes might be that you really connect again—even though it may feel a bit awkward at first. Caution: If you get together, don’t dissect or ruminate over that unfortunate chapter of your lives—and don’t try to get too close too quickly.

Let us know what you decide and how it turns out.

My best,
Irene

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Comments (4)

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  1. Marti says:

    @ Anonymous with the friend with the baby in ICU…I am EXTREMELY sorry that your friend treated you that way. You would not be petty to walk away. You are worthy of a much better friend and her actions show that she does not appreciate what she has.

    Unfortunately, people act that way for a variety of reasons, some of which dont make sense.

    All in all, if YOU know that you have done all you can to salvage the relationship and the other person just doesnt reciprocate, walk away.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m a 51-year old female with a wide circle of friends. The problem is I’m the only friend that makes the effort to call to get together with friends. I actually typed out a list of friends that I consider good friends that I want in my life (approximately 15 great girls). I waited 1 then 2 months to see if anyone would pick up the phone to call me, no such luck. I know we all live very busy lives (I work two jobs) but I’m starting to take this personally. I consider myself a fun, very funny and outgoing person. I would want to be my friend There are hardly any moms with small children. 98% of these girls have adult children (like me). Bottom line, I’m getting tired of always reaching out, I would like a little reciprocation. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t feel you are looking petty at all. She is the one who sent you an email saying she needs to distance herself from the negatives. I personally would of been hurt and angry and I think the friendship would of been over at that point. Unless she comes back and apologized for her insensitive remarks, I would not go out of my way to give her a baby shower present. You offered your help and that is really big of you especially after the way you were treated by her. In a friendship there has to be a two way street or resentment sets in and the friendship becomes toxic and it’s not good for anyone. I do believe in taking the high road but she has made it clear where she stands and if you were to send a present you would look like a doormat. I would take good care of yourself and relax and let this all go for now and concentrate on your own pregnancy…you don’t need the stress right now!! She might come back around later and you can deal with her then. Hormones might of played a role in her behavior or she might of just been scared with everything going on with her and her pregancy. You have reached out to her , there isn’t much you can do at this time. Best wishes for a happy and healthy baby.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have a friend who has been close to me since we met when we were 14. we are now in our 40’s and going through the same issues at the same time -having a baby. we’ve both had fertility struggles and we finally both got pregnant at around the same time – she was just a few weeks ahead of me.
    I should mention that she has a lot of insecurity in her relationship. She reads her husbands text messages and emails and calls the women he speaks to, telling them to back off. I have tried to be a good listener and give the best advice I can. When she got pregnant she sent me an email telling me that she had to distance herself from ‘negative’ people and just focus on herself and the pregnancy. While I understand that, i was very hurt and insulted to hear that I was considered a ‘negative’ influence after all the advice I had given trying to encourage her to trust her relationship and herself.
    She sent random texts to me during the pregnancy saying she hoped I was doing well – but not asking for a response.
    She delivered very early and has used facebook to post constant updates from the point of view of her new baby who is struggling in ICU due to such a premature birth. I had sent a few emails to see if she needed anything, etc and got no response. I would argue she has her hands full but she still manages to post comments every day and make comments on other people’s pages so I know that’s not the case.
    I’m ready to walk away, but felt if i didn’t send some sort of a baby gift, I would look petty. However after the way she’s treated me – I also feel like sending a gift makes it seem like i’m desperate to keep this friendship, which I am not. I am due in a few months and have had my own pregnancy struggles which she hasn’t cared to inquire about.
    Do I look petty for walking away?

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