Monday, August 15, 2011


I grew up thinking I was a bad friend. The thing is I was born shy and introverted. It wasn't that I didn't have friends to play with at recess. I was always playing tag on the equipment and circling the merry go round. It wasn't that I didn't spend most of elementary school with the same people. It was just that I didn't have the friendship I thought I should have. The best friend you do everything with and are also walking next to in school.

My mother gave me a complex when in like first or second grade when she told the teacher I had trouble making friends. This was not true. I played with other kids, I was just slow to initiate a friendship. So I accepted that statement of hers to be true and for years thought I was bad at friendships.

The thing was I was really out of luck with having a DV/secretive/no one allowed over kind of family. I was at a big disadvantage with that and being so shy. It took me half the year to speak in class and I knew the kids for years. I was so self conscious too. Anyway, ends up I had a good friend since kindergarten. Her name is Jodi.

Jodi was a cute kid... blond hair, big smile, would do anything for you. She lived down the road from me, too far to walk unfortunately. She was my first sleep over. She was probably my first friend's birthday party. She was probably the first to come over my house. She was my first best friend. We lost touch when I left that little town at age 12, but we reconnected a couple times over the years. She is still sweet and still loves horses. Now she has one. She was looking for me over the years as well and wondering whatever became of me.

So anyway, I went through elementary school thinking all this friend nonsense. Then in the 6th grade I made a new friend. She came from another state and everyone by then was sick of each other after 5 years of school. She was new, she was different and she wanted to be my friend. Yet during school she mainly played with the girls who didn't play tag all over the equipment and she usually sat with other people during lunch. I was the slow poke at the end of the lunch line. But on weekends I would go places with her and her mom. Places I had never been. My family didn't go out much. I was enthralled. I didn't question that she didn't hang with me at school, I was just excited to have a friend to do things with.

She moved away that summer. We stayed in touch by letter and occasionally the phone. I saved up my money and flew to visit her when I was 13. I'm still not sure how a kid got enough money for a plane ticket. I did this a couple, three years of me visiting her.

I still had friends in junior high and high school. They were mainly misfits like me, the strange banding together over that one similarity - we didn't fit anywhere else. I would go to birthday parties, to the mall, bowling, but it didn't feel like a complete fit. I spent more time alone than with others after a while.

I ended up going to live with this friend and her folks at age 16. It wasn't quite what I expected. I was a dark, depressed teen and everything did not fix itself when I changed addresses. The friend and I didn't spend as much time together. She had her friends and I made mine. Mine continued to be misfits. My one friend dropped out and took care of her siblings at home. She took classes at the community college for a GED, but rarely went. Another friend lived the next street over. A friendship of convenience since I could walk there with no car to drive. She was a story teller. Ah, that would be for another post.

After a few friendships ended I started thinking maybe it was in fact all me. I even went to a counselor about my issues. What I like about counseling is that they tend to say that I am a good person and it wasn't me. I know, kind of self-centered and self-serving for a person who is now a counselor. But in my own defense I was seeing Bachelors level counselors straight out of school at a community mental health center. They didn't know anything better then either. I was getting my whole $5.00 worth.

I ended up moving around, kept some friends and made some more. I ended up being friends with one I thought was my arch nemesis. Ended up the original best friend was the whacked out one. She tried to keep all her friends separate, especially me from the others. Ended up I had more in common with her friends than she did. She was a "some of the time friend" - tight with me depending on who my roommate was or boyfriend. It took years for me to realize that this went on. I was trying to explain to someone how we were friends. I couldn't explain the lapses in time with us not being around each other. The more I thought, the more I realized she wasn't a true friend. Of course by the time I realized this we were hanging out every week. She tended to spend more time with me the worse my life was. I guess she couldn't handle when I did well. She also started having issues with my friend, trying to make reasons not to like her, like being late to meet up once. At the same time she started dating after about a 10 year lapse. It was as if her mind turned to mush and once she had sex she was an evil demon woman. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but close.

Then when she was knee deep in an unreciprocated relationship something happened where I felt I was accused of bad mouthing the guy when I didn't. She apologized to another friend caught in it, but not me. This became the straw that broke my back. I called her on it and she denied that she treated me differently. I said a few little things to get her goat. She denied how she was being. I told her it was in her court and to let me know when she wanted to talk about it. I heard nothing. Other friends wanted me to work it out with her. I felt I was the one wronged and I had left it on her while she said nothing. There were a few awkward gatherings after that. She made a few glib comments. I worried I would loose the friends we had in common, as well as her mom who was more like a mom to me. I worried. I talked to friends. My worries came true when I realized that I was the extra wheel and everyone else involved had a million years of togetherness.

I hung out with new friends. I ended up finding the husband. I somehow doubt that now ex-friend would have liked him much (since he makes me happy). I ran into her and other friends a few times. She never said a word. The husband says she looks like a real bitch and obviously she wasn't a good friend.

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