A Better Friend Than Me

Leisa CollinsI had a long talk tonight with a grieving girlfriend whose bestie just committed suicide. They’d been distant over the last few months, not because of her, but because he was going through a hard time & it made him act like a jerk, & he was the worst to the ones closest to him. She was hurt, resentful, doubted their friendship, but she never really gave up on him. She gave him the distance he seemed to want, not sure how much friending he wanted from her.

Before he did himself in, he wrote her a letter. The cops confiscated it & she’s still never gotten to read it, but I can guess what he wanted to say to her. He also sent her a scheduled text, written while alive but arriving days after his death, which, understandably, freaked her out. The text contained instructions – the kind you give to the person you trust most in the world. Clear my browsing history. Throw out the entire contents of my bedside drawer. You know.

She’s been suffering. She felt horrible about their distance. She felt terrible for resenting him, for doubting him. She felt like she had been a lousy friend.

He knew he’d been a shit to her. He knew she loved him, & unconditionally, because even after he’d hurt her & given her enough grief to doubt their friendship, she was still the one he trusted to take care of his personal stuff.

I value friendship so much. It’s a topic that I think about, constantly, as can be seen in many of my posts here. I know that I’m a great friend. I take care of my friends; I am always willing to help. I’m devoted to them & their enemies are my enemies.

Until they disappoint me. And then, it’s just… have a nice life. No ill will, best wishes for the future, goodbye. I’ve been courteous about it & written goodbye & good will emails so they can have closure & know that I don’t hate them, &, to my confusion, my courtesy has generally been met with affront & hatred.

One moment I will do anything for them. And the next, I just don’t care any more. I have no time to waste thinking about them. I don’t hate them, I don’t miss them, I don’t feel sad. I just stop caring. It’s just something that happens.

VilenchikRecently a girlfriend disappointed me. She used me as fodder in a very immature relationship game in which she & her husband hurl ultimatums & horrible words, reveal shocking tales of abuse… all so they can make up later. I’m not even mad at her. I’m pissed at myself for not realizing what I was getting sucked into when I was astounded at the abuse she described & I confided, for the first time, that I would have kicked him to the curb when he made the scene at her mother’s funeral because one of her exes had shown up to pay his respects. I’d never spoken ill of him before but she was insistent that she was done with him & I was dumb enough to buy it without question. I offered to have him beat up (only half joking). I called him a prick. I told her he didn’t deserve her.

And then the next day they went to her doctor’s appointment together & she let him read our entire conversation off her phone. Partly because she wanted him to read me voicing what she really wanted to say about him, & partly to reinforce their solidarity as a couple. She told me that he’d read the conversation without her permission, but that’s bullshit. You don’t hand your phone over to someone unlocked if there’s something you don’t want them to see. But demonstrably she’s not even mature enough to realize her own motives.

For years we’ve joked about living together as old ladies. We’d buy a ranch & rescue animals. Part of me was invested in that plan. And in a matter of minutes, she ceased to exist for me. Like she had never been there.

The only conversation in my mind was a very short sequence regarding the viability of our friendship after something like this happened. And the simple answer was that I could no longer trust her & she could no longer use me, especially while she was still with the weird drama queen husband. And she was likely to be with him a long time since she was apparently equally weird & melodramatic, making them a sustainable couple. Result: pointless. Indefinitely. And I dropped it in the trash & never thought about it until today.

I don’t hate her. I’m not angry. I’m just no longer interested because there is no reason to hold on to our friendship.

My grieving girlfriend handles her disappointing friends differently. It makes me wonder if I am missing something. It wouldn’t surprise me. I have friends who admire me for my logic, my radically methodical way of doing everything in my life, & my objectivity. I like being logical, methodical, & objective. I still believe I’m sensitive. But maybe it’s not sensitivity. Maybe it’s just rigidity.

I have to think about this more. How do I figure out what I am missing if I don’t miss it?

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