Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unexpected Friendships.....

Less than a month ago I joined a Facebook group to discuss a shared interest in the Dr Phil Housewives series. I expected to be able to talk about the six women there, who had opened up their lives and problems on national television, in hopes of finding solutions and making peace with the past. I found plenty of topics to discuss and I also unexpectedly found myself making about a dozen new Facebook friends. Several of these women, although we are virtual strangers, have said some very kind things to me and seemed to intuitively “know” me. This gave me pause to think.

I have had three “best” friends, at different times, since 1978. I met them all when each of them was going through some kind of difficult time and, my nature being what it is, I naturally jumped in to help, encourage, support and help them get through it. I was there for them literally 24/7 for years. I went above and beyond what most friends would do, even at my own expense. Then things fell apart. Their problems solved, their lives changed, they found other friends and I wasn’t needed or valued any more. They distanced themselves from me, but not entirely. I went from being the best friend you talk with every day, to a “stew” friend,a term my daughter’s friend made up, to describe people who put you on the back burner on a low heat until they need you. My last friendship of ten years ended September 2009 when it was literally making me ill to continue in it and depressed when I ended it. No more “best” friends for me.

I think to myself, after hearing what these new friends have to say about me, how is it that people who I have not even met or done anything for, can see things in me from three weeks of posting comments that these “best friends” no longer do or maybe never did? I have to accept some of the responsibility and reexamine my part in these failed relationships. I hear Dr Phil’s mantra “You teach people how to treat you” over and over in my head. I think in my putting them and their needs always above my own, I may have taught them that my needs and I don’t matter. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll meet Dr Phil and ask him.

Meanwhile, these very kind women have opened my eyes and given me a new appreciation for myself. Maybe “best” friends aren’t all they are cracked up to be? Maybe they drain the life out of you and then move on? Maybe I’ll continue to surround myself with a warm circle of friends who are very much like myself: intelligent, compassionate, caring, nurturing people, from now on. These are the friends who helped me get through this past year of very hurtful disappointment and depression. I survived, I’m making new friends and I’m looking forward instead of backward.

The Dr. Phil show opened this Facebook page for real housewives to discuss the problems of his “Housewives,” but I’m not sure anyone realized the bonding and friendship that would occurred on that page in just a few short weeks. Who knows how many valuable friendships might be made by the end of the series in May? Who knows how many of us will be helped by a kind word, advice or prayers said on our behalf for one reason or another? I see the seeds of many new friendships being planted every day and I look forward to watching them grow and blossom.

Women can be amazing. They will reach out to family, friends and even strangers in distress and try to help in any way they can for no other reason than they care and empathize. They just want to make things better for everyone who touches their lives. And they do.

P.S. I must add that my daughters will complain that this blog is not a "pet peeve," therefore I must clarify for their benefit that I am complaining about "best" friends, while appreciating "virtually" real friends!


  1. This does describe me too. I find that I have lots of friends, mostly acquaintances and co-workers. My last 'best friend' stopped calling me after I stood up for her at her midnight wedding on New Year's Eve (blue moon thing) - I was the only witness (there was a witness via phone) to her marriage to a man she had only known for 5 weeks. Like you wrote, her need for me ended, so apparently, so did our friendship. :-(
    I find my best friend is my husband. Not quite the same as having a female besty, but he's wonderful none-the-less.

  2. I'm significantly older than you "girls" maybe I can offer a different perspective.
    There are some people in life,that I believe we are designed to cross paths with..even for only a short time.There are always lessons to be learned so as I got older..I stopped regretting what I had viewed as the LOSS of a companion and decided to embrace it,be grateful for the time and let it go peacefully.Sometimes..those relationships pick up again at another point in your lives.....some don't.When one has is odd how quickly you can move into a closeness if you just picked up in the middle of an unfinished sentence.So NO relationship is a my estimation..nor is it a reason to shield against new ones.You learn something from every person who crosses your path..good or are richer for the experience.
    Barbara West from Housewives posting Board.

  3. Crisit abd Barbara, thanks for posting. I am not as young as Carrie Underwood (the picture on my profile). I am actually 56. I can understand how hurt you must have been Cristi, having gone through it myself. My husband is also wonderful and is really my best friend, but men and women communicate differently and I miss the closeness of that "female" bond. Still, I am amzed at how many wonderful women are out there and willing to drop everything and listen when you need them!

    Barbara, I love your outlook! I have tried to look at things the way you do, but when you are experiencing what you perceive and feel is a loss and grieving over it, it's very hard for me anyway, to see the big picture. Too much emotional upheaval is going on. It takes time for those wounds to heal and see things the way you describe. Now it's bee more than a year so I can be more objective about things (but not totally). Thanks for your comments.

  4. I guess what I was trying to say..badly I that these losses aren't always forever....and sometimes ....the relationships weren't ever supposed to be "forever".

    If you can do a thorough soul search during those times of separation...and feel very comfortable with not having committed some "crime" which has separated you from your will still "mourn" their loss in some fashion..but if you feel at peace with not having harmed them..causing their exit..missing someone frequently is different from them dying and knowing there is never going to be a "tomorrow" chat over a cup of coffee.

    If your separation is caused because of "words"..spoken or perceived to have been spoken..then I take the steps to at least clear away any errors.If someone needs to be angry with me..after I've at least put things out in front of them..I can allow them THEIR time to work through it.
    Once the truth is in place...what will be ,will be.
    If you can look at that relationship for what it brought to both of you..good and may discover that it was always meant to be an "interim"..something to teach you or THEM ...about something else.Once the lesson has been put out there..sometimes the relationship goes.

  5. Barbara, I think you should write a blog. You are eloquent and wise and many could benefit from what you have to say.

    In my case I felt my friend was distancing herself from me. I tried several times to discuss it and it never happened. I got to the breaking point after not hearing from her for 3 weeks. When she texted me one morning before work, I could not answer. I decided I owed her an explanation, the one she was not willing to listen to when we could have talked it out. I wrote her a very long email and was as clear as I could be. I knew it would end things because she wouldn't like what I had to say and become defensive. Everything I said was true and I could not go on the way things were. I needed time to distance myself the way she had. She wasn't willing to give me that time. So it ended. I don't know if I learned anything. I am going to come back and reread your words and maybe I will get a lightbulb moment. Thank you, it is much appreciated.

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