Have I Grown Out of This Relationship?
This is a sequel to my previous hub "I Thought We Were Friends..."
It's interesting how writing about my dissonant relationship with my long time college friend has led me to rethink about this friendship all over again. I also wanted some feedback for my hub. So some time after I published my hub, I decided to share it in the writers' group which I recently became a member.
In this group, there were three other women besides myself and each of us presented a piece we had written. The reaction to my hub was generally positive and I received some useful comments from one of the women in the group. She pointed out that the comments my friend had made were "very hurtful" and more importantly, "sometimes we grow out of a relationship and the same relationship no longer serves our changing needs". I thought these were truthful comments. I realize three months after I had written down the saga of my dissonant relationship with my friend, that that is what happened. I grew out of this relationship which became less important to me. She and I were compatible during college, but she could not continue to be my closest friend in the present. When my kids arrived, other moms with kids the same age who lived in my neighborhood became more important to me. Just how important was a friend from college who lived an hour away?
Sharing My Hub
I then decided to share my hub with two other people. The first was another friend from college with whom I'm still in touch. She complained to me in her earlier e-mails that she had a falling out with at least two of her closest and long time friends. I thought that she would know what I was trying to convey in my hub. She complimented that my hub was excellent and that she totally "heard" me. She gave me a detailed account of her falling out with a friend whom she had known since first grade. Her story and my story were different but the sadness and disappointment we both felt from being "betrayed" were similar.
The second person with whom I shared my hub was a professor from the University of Wisconsin. I had taken his class once while a student and his compassion and willingness to listen led me to want to share my story. He responded in his e-mail that he was sorry I had to go through all this but he also asked, "who knows what your friend was going through?".
That was a question I never considered asking myself! I had no idea what she was going through while I was being hurt by her comments. I never bothered to find out either, since I had avoided confronting her.
As a result, I have come to realize that my hub "I Thought We Were Friends..." was actually one-sided, if not a biased view of our falling out. It did not address what my friend was going through.
If I had shown the hub to my friend, she would have dismissed it as a biased version of what went on in our friendship. If we actually sat down for a discussion, we may realize that we have misunderstood each other for all this time. Was she really jealous of me? That was strictly from my point of view.
In Touch Again
After sharing my hub, I was compelled to contact her again. In my e-mail, I wrote:
"How are you? Do you still live in Yokohama? We won't be returning to Japan this summer. Your kids must be growing up very quickly. Please let me know how you are doing."
I didn't hear from her for a while, but then, a little while ago, I got a message from her!
"So glad to hear from you. I finally got around to checking my e-mail on my computer. Yes, I still live in Yokohama. My son, now in grade 8, is on the ping pong team at his school and has made many friends there. My daughter will also attend the same middle school as my son next year. I still work at the same bookstore part time. By the way, you haven't given me your new home address. I'll try to respond to your e-mails but I know I'm slow at it so please don't get mad at me." (end of message)
So, Where Do We Stand?
It certainly was nice to hear from her and though I haven't responded, I intend to do so and give her my new home address. As readers will notice, my above message to her was purposely blunt. I have to admit I still hold a grudge against her for her hurtful comments. She, needless to say, does not know this. I never discussed it with her.That aside, she seemed genuinely happy to hear from me. She did, however, hint that she believed I may be angry with her.
I don't think our relationship is over. At least she doesn't hold a grudge against me. But neither she nor I know anything about how the other feels regarding our dissonant relationship. I didn't confront her when I felt hurt because I was afraid to make things worse. That tells me that I am insecure about our friendship. If I felt sure that she would listen to me and that it wouldn't make things worse when I confronted her, then I would have done so. Maybe she was giving me hints all along the way that she wouldn't listen to me.
Somehow, I doubt that I can reclaim our once compatible friendship.I honestly can't picture ourselves sitting in a cafe and reconnecting or having tons of things to talk about, especially now, since we are an ocean apart. If we were to see each other again, would we have anything interesting to say to each other?
Perhaps I did grow out of this relationship, and in the process did not know and may never know her side of the story.