Charlotte’s words – not mine – brought Lisa Thomson to my blog.
Charlotte writes My Pixie Blog, on “Love, Life, and Lessons Learned.” She’d written a guest post for me on shifts in relationships. It came along with impeccable timing for me. It also gained the attention of one of the most purposeful bloggers I’ve ever read.
Lisa writes a blog some of you might have visited: Lisa Thomson Live: A Gal’s Guide to Leaving a Marriage.
What’s a guy doing over at a blog like that, you ask?
Lisa’s words, much like Charlotte’s, come through with a poignancy that even a man can appreciate. Lisa’s words guide. They aid. They lend understanding. She’s featured on the Huffington Post. Naturally, the next step is Coach Daddy.
I’m just getting to know Lisa, but know her story well.
You know the friend who won’t give you stock advice back so that the conversation can swing back to her? That’s Lisa. Know the one who’s been there, done that, and brings a knack for presenting it all just the way you understand it? Lisa, too.
Please give her a warm CD welcome as she discusses a breakup – with a best friend. And be sure to check out Lisa Thomson Live, too.
When You’re Never Ever Getting Back Together, With Your Best Friend
By Lisa Thomson
Maya Angelou said, “Believe who people are when they show you the first time.”
I recently was looking through my storage boxes for some paperwork. What I found there were multiple letters from a former friend. When I moved to a different city, she was determined (as was I) to maintain our close connection. Reading these letters now, made me feel like a voyeur in a stranger’s life.
These letters were full of very personal confessions about love, children, her spouse…it seemed an invasion of privacy to keep these since we had parted ways in the last three years. Also, in re-reading them, I noticed how intimate her writings were. In spite of the novelty of a handwritten letter, I had to make a decision.
Shredding her letters was a way to protect my former friend’s privacy.
I got to wondering, were my letters to her equally confessional and intimate? Nonetheless, it felt like the compassionate thing to do when I ran the letters through the shredder before discarding them. It was a way to protect her privacy. These letters didn’t belong to me anymore. After all, we were never ever getting back together.
I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what makes some friendships last a lifetime while others fizzle out and in some cases, fizzle back in. That was the case with this friend. We met when our first born babies were almost a year old. I treasured her friendship as she was one of the few who also had a baby the same age and was navigating new motherhood at the same time as me.
Back then, our friendship sparked and became very intimate quickly. I didn’t think twice about it at the time since I am usually very open and quick to bond with people. At that age, I hadn’t the inner telepathy to see warning signs. Now I understand there are certain personality types who bond fast but can also discard without regret. I can only guess that the bonding stage of a friendship fills a need for those types but after a period of time, sadly, it does not.
She chose a new and different life
Our friendship then lasted about five years, at which point she left her marriage. Although I reached out, the message was clear: She was moving on and not interested in taking me with her. She chose to start a new and different life with new and different people. I didn’t understand her decision at the time. She left a void in my life larger than she ever knew.
It would be more than 10 years later when I would run into my old friend, randomly at a farmer’s market one Saturday. She was beaming with happiness. She was in a new relationship and in love. I on the other hand, was freshly separated and living on my own for the first time in more than 20 years.
We reconnected and it proved to be as quick and intimate as the first time. Only now, our first born babies were 15 years old and we shared the bond of divorce.
Again, I found myself gradually excluded from her life.
She asked me to be her maid of honor at her second wedding a couple of years later. One year after her wedding, I re-located to my hometown but our friendship was still strong hence, the letter writing.
Her life subsequently went through many changes in the next five years, and, again, I found myself gradually excluded from her life. As her second marriage was unraveling, my phone calls, texts and emails went unanswered. Like the first time, there wasn’t a definitive conclusion. She got me again.
The last I heard from her, she texted me and wanted to talk. I waited by the phone. I know that sounds so 80’s. She NEVER called. That was the last time I was going to let that happen. It doesn’t take more than a minute for old wounds to open. Her rejection and not valuing me as her friend were a repeated pattern. I didn’t want to tolerate it the second time around.
My ex-friend, in a coffee shop
A few months ago, I was back in my old city, visiting with my grown children. As I sat at a downtown café waiting for my daughter, in walked a woman with a familiar face. I took a second glance and tried not to get caught staring at her while she stood in line to order her coffee. Could it be? OMG. It is!
It was my ex-friend. She walked right past me, like I was a ghost. She had changed her look drastically. So much so, that I initially had some doubt it was her until she walked past me again and I saw the definitive scar on her cheek. She could change her hairstyle and color by she couldn’t alter her body type or face. I let her walk past me without a word. It was clear she had seen me and chose to ignore my presence.
This brief collision of my past and present caught me off guard. I thought back to those intimate letters, to her wedding day, to how much we confided in one another while navigating divorce and new relationships. How did we go from best friends to complete strangers? How do we share secrets and then walk past one another feigning indifference? It’s one of the puzzles of human relationships.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice …
I’m wondering are we women, just too complicated for our own friendships? Do we make more of our friendships than we should and finally, how many times do we let someone treat us like we don’t matter?
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Indeed, shame on me.That’s why we’re never, ever getting back together.
Will you share your experience in losing a close friend? Are women too complicated for their own friendships?