- Gender and Relationships
True Friends? You Decide.
Is This Friendship or Not?
What would you do in this situation? Give me your honest opinion of one of my current relationships and tell me if you consider this a friendship or something else.
Nearly two years ago, a friend of mine (whom I will call Jill), and I were having a great time building a relationship. We had met on the bus and although our relationship started out shakily, over time it got better. We rode the bus to work in the mornings and then home most evenings. Some months later Jill became pregnant and started to drive to and from work more than she would ride the bus. On many occasions she offered me a ride home (we work only 4 blocks apart and live about 5 miles from each other).
Towards the end of 2009 (September), my wife’s boss changed cellphone providers and offered her a Blackberry with two months of service remaining on the old plan. I used the phone and when the plan expired, gave the phone to Jill since she was with the same company.
That innocent gesture of giving away the phone (for which I had no more use) marked a dramatic turn in events.
About two weeks later, after getting home from work (Jill had dropped me at the Park & Ride), I got a call from her. This was strange! Although we lived 5 miles from each other, we had never visited each other’s home, nor had we talked by phone after getting home in the evenings (however, our spouses knew of the other). Jill told me that she was putting the phone on speaker (for her husband to hear) and went on to tell me that her husband accused her of having an affair with me (the phone I gave her was solid evidence of an expensive gift) and gave her an ultimatum to end our relationship or he would end theirs. There was clearly no choice. I expressed regret that we were wrongly accused and we said goodbye – sadly.
Christmas came and went and it was time to start the New Year. I got on the bus one morning in January and sometime later noticed Jill getting on. I tried to hide, but she spotted me and came to sit with me – as before. I told her that her action was not a wise move and questioned why. She told me that all was well and we could be friends again. I pretty much annoyed her by asking several times if that was okay with her husband. She said yes – several times.
Well, Jill did not ride the bus after that. We kept in touch via emails and met occasionally for lunch. However, I quickly noticed that Jill did not offer me a ride home anymore, nor did she call. I felt that things were not as “okay” as she had said earlier, so I asked her about not being offered a ride in her car. She told me that I could ride whenever, but she never offered and I never asked.
Jill recently got pregnant again (she miscarried the last baby) and I asked if my family could come visit when the baby was born. She ignored my question the first time and when I asked later, she said, “Of course.” It has been 4 weeks since the baby was born and each time I call to find out when is a good time to visit, Jill has not returned my call. It still appears that things are not “okay.”
Surprisingly, this morning while working, I got a call from Jill. She had come into the city to see her doctor and had stopped by to show me the baby. When I asked her if that was to be my “baby visit”, she said I could still come to her house - but not convincingly. When I told my wife of the visit she said that it is clear that Jill’s husband would not have me over and I should just “drop the matter.”
That sounds like good advice and I believe that I will listen. What would you do?
My contention is that if I am not welcome at Jill’s home to see her baby, then maybe we are not really friends and instead are playing a game of deception. It is clear that Jill wants us to be friends – I believe – but if her husband is still opposed, then she is deceiving him, and lying to me. She has not told me definitively that he is opposed. Why then do I feel that we are beating around the bush – acting like secret lovers (which we're not)?
If friendship cannot be lived in the eyes of all, is it friendship at all?