Posts Tagged With: Relationship

The person you don’t call

I have had a lot of friends, and I have lost a lot of friends.  Friends come and go, it’s just a fact of life.  Someone once told me that relationships are funny things…  sometimes they just fall apart.  People change, grow in different directions, lose touch.

Sometimes relationships end in emotionally violent ways.  I’ve had my fair share of those endings…  and then some.

Some friendships just sort of drift off into nothing, with no rhyme or reason, they just disappear.  One day you find yourself wondering, “what happened to so-and-so?”  That’s happened to me as well… at least a couple times.

Through all of these friendships, though, one thing has been a constant in my life.

I am the person you don’t call.

You don’t check up on me.  You don’t pop in and post a “Hey, how are you?” on my Facebook wall.  I don’t find messages from you in my email inbox.  You don’t text me.

What little contact between us that you actually initiate…  most, if not all, of it seems pretty shallow.

A Christmas card that makes me feel like I am just a name in your address book.

A “Happy Birthday” post on my wall when we all know that Facebook reminded you.

Phone calls only when you think I might be able to do something for you.  Like you need to fly somewhere and you think I might be able to get you a cheap ticket…  that’s a pretty common one.

There are a few exceptions to this.  I have one long term relationship that consists of almost no real contact between us but is strong enough to withstand the distance, and a relatively new relationship that has grown very close very quickly and consists of regular contact.  And, of course, I have to mention my husband…  someone who contacts me multiple times a day, every day, and even though I sometimes get irritated when his phone calls constantly interrupt my reading, TV shows, and/or blog post writing…  I love him that much more for calling all the time anyway.

But for the most part, no matter how I try and build friendships, it almost always comes down to this…  I put in a lot of effort until I tire of it…  then I sit back and wait to see if you will reach out to me… and then it all just falls apart.  Because you never reach out to me.  So when I stop reaching out to you, there just isn’t anything left to keep it going.

I think that I have often put more into relationships than was necessary or appropriate, and I think that I often have much higher expectations of others than I should, and I think that, sometimes, I want more from people than they are able to give.  It has taken me a long time to realize that I shouldn’t do these things.  It’s taken me so long to figure out that I should not expect anything from anyone and I should just allow relationships to follow whatever path they are destined to follow without getting too wrapped up in them.  Without asking much.  Without expecting anything.

But, on the other hand, if everyone took this stand offish approach, how would any relationship ever progress anywhere??

A couple years ago I just dropped the expectations.  Sometimes I still get offended or upset.  Then I remind myself that I am judging unfairly.  That this person meant no harm to me.  And I should accept people for who they are and for where they are in their life and in their relationships.  And I let it go…

If you are reading this and you actually know me, please don’t take this as a guilt trip.  Don’t take this as a cue to call me…  I am generally a quiet person who likes to spend time alone; sudden phone calls from everyone would just piss me off, quite frankly.  And I have to wonder if maybe…  just maybe… the fact that I like to just be alone sometimes is a vibe I am subconsciously giving off to others.  Maybe… just maybe…  I only want others to reach out to me because I am lacking self-esteem in certain areas and I am hoping for some sort of validation…  validation that needs to come from me, not you, anyway.

I’ll leave you with this…

Freeing myself from worrying about what other people are thinking in terms of my relationship to them has freed up some space in my mind to focus on other things… like where I am at with myself.

In the list of qualities that I am okay with vs. ones that I need to change?

I’m okay with being the person you don’t call.

Categories: All About Ellen Cabot | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Googling an old friend

I wasn’t feeling well for most of the day today.  So when I arrived home from work, I made myself a quick sandwich and headed straight for bed.

I read for a few minutes, then I fell asleep.

Woke up and read for a few minutes more, and fell asleep again…

Then I woke up again… and grabbed my laptop.

I did all my normal laptopy stuff, checked my email, checked my Facebook, commented on a few things, had a quick chat with my kid (yes, I Facebook chat with my kid from the next room)… then I just sat here in bed, still groggy and tired, feeling icky, and realized I just didn’t know what to do next.

Didn’t feel like checking the news.  Didn’t feel like blogging (at least at THAT moment I didn’t).

What to do… what to do…

So I looked up an old friend.  I don’t know what prompted me to do this, it was sort of a spur of the moment decision.  The friendship didn’t end well at all, she was particularly nasty to me, leaving me feeling used and abused, worthless, small.  And as much as I would like to be able to say that I am strong enough to just move on and not let it bother me, the truth is that it really does still bother me.

So I Googled her, and I found her blog.  And I read a few entries.  And what I found was what appeared to be a happy, confident, amazingly intelligent (to the point of being obviously somewhat arrogant), self-assured person with big dreams.

And as much as I would like to be able to say that I’m thrilled to find, through her online presence, that she is happy and doing well, that she is engaged and has had another child, that she is still in school and working on a graduate degree… the truth is, I’m ashamed to admit… part of me was hoping I would find a miserable wretch.

Why would I want that?  It’s a horrible thing to wish on another human being.  And I don’t really wish that, but in a way it would be nice.  Maybe I wish others had as hard of a time letting go of friendships as I do.  Maybe, just maybe, I was hoping that I would find some indication, however small, of the tiniest bit of guilt over what she did to me, even though I realize, of course, that if any such guilt exists, and it probably doesn’t, it would not be evident on her blog, especially not a few years later. Maybe I had hoped that her ability to so easily and cruelly dump on a supposed friend was a character flaw that would come back to haunt her down the road.

Actually, I think that’s it.  After she was so horrible to me I think I was hoping Karma would have bitten her in the behind.  There is a little voice in my head telling me that someone like that doesn’t deserve to be that happy, that successful.

So now I sit here, still not feeling well, still sleepy and in need of massive amounts of rest, but instead of sleeping I’m thinking of her.  I’m wishing ill on her while simultaneously kicking myself for thinking such horrible thoughts about a person who, despite how badly she may have treated me, deserves every bit of happiness and success she can find in this life.

I admire her for her strength and for her perseverance through the difficulties life has thrown at her.  Through young motherhood and a failed marriage, the adversity she faces in her communities for being an atheist in the bible belt, the stresses of trying to earn a graduate degree while caring for young children…  she is still plugging away and looking at the bright side of life.  She still has these big dreams and she’s going for it; I have a feeling she will let nothing get in her way.

Yet I am also very much aware that a quick Google search of a person isn’t going to give me the full story, and a person who seems, in their blog, to be happy, successful, driven, and optimistic, may actually be watching his or her life fall apart around them in reality.  Most people aren’t quite as honest online as I am.  So my looking to her blog for insight into her life is really quite ridiculous, and I am fully cognizant of that, so why do I let it bother me so?

I think I need to admit that I have identified in myself a character flaw.  Something that I need to work on.  An inability to move on when someone has treated me badly, an expectation that those who have hurt me so terribly will suffer themselves at some point for the pain they have inflicted, and a tendency to obsess over the past, to keep thinking back to those people and situations that have hurt me, and to try and make sense of them, make them *right* in some way, or find a way to feel vindicated.

We all have people in our past who have hurt us; I tend to have more than most, unfortunately.  Sometimes I think I would like to reach out to these people, see if a connection can be reestablished, heal those old wounds.  But I’m always met with fear that those wounds will be torn open again, rather than healed, and I’m not sure I can handle that.

Categories: All About Ellen Cabot | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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