Sunday, June 24, 2007

The complicated friendship

Joyce called to with a question today, one that I've dealt with before. This happens a lot-we ask each other something and the other party usually has first hand experience with it. Or at the very least, has an unbiased and useful point of view even if she hasn't had the same thing happen.

This time, she wanted to know how long she should wait before writing off a friendship. She has a friend from college (sorority sister, I think) whom she's mentioned here and there over the years. They're at different stages in their lives. Joyce is married and has kids. A is single and lives alone. Been there, done that.

What happened with Joyce is that A typically calls when she needs something. Joyce usually complies, though this time, several weeks have elapsed since the request. What would I do? Would I write her off? This is one that I had pondered before and I actually have an answer based on my own experience. I think we can all come up with at least one friend that we've lost along the way because each of you were at different stages in your lives.

I consider it time to cut your losses when the other party doesn't call in the manner that they used to. If the other person has to dig through the cell phone bill to determine when we last spoke, that's MY sign. Now, I know that because I have left over cell minutes nearly every month, I tend to call others more than they call me, so that doesn't bother me. It's the calls back that I notice. Rather, the lack of phone calls.

Factors are different for each situation. I know what the triggers are/were in my case. The phone calls slowed down , then eventually stopped when I no longer had free and unlimited access to WDW. For this reason, I've become Persona Non Grata. Apparently, I'm only worth having as a friend if I spend time with a person on Disney property. Whatever. Does it hurt? Not now, but it did when I came to this realization. Does this person even realize it? Maybe, maybe not. At this point, I'm really beyond caring about what the person thinks or feels. Heartless? Yeah, and that's a rare place for me to be, don't you think?

I think what it all boils down to for me is if the relationship is one sided, as what Joyce relates, then I'd throw in the towel. It really sucks when you have to make that kind of decision, but several months down the road, it really is a relief not wondering why you're not getting the phone calls and what you must have done to upset this other person. There isn't the worry of looking at the cell phone, seeing the caller ID and wondering what favor you're being called upon to do now or why all of a sudden, after months of no contact, you're getting called.

Cutting your losses frees you up to worry about more pressing issues, like the kids, and your health, the husband's job, the sick relatives, who's going to take your mom grocery shopping this week and did your sister...you get the picture.

PS- If the nature of our friendship for the past 7 or 8 years has just to been to IM, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU!!!! :) (Did I make you laugh, Jeff?) Conversely, if you're reading this and wondering if I'm talking about you, that should be YOUR sign.

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