"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
- Oprah Winfrey
"I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar."- Robert Brault
I have been struggling lately to define what friends are and what friendship means to me, and it occurred to me that the reason for my struggle is because the lines that used to neatly define my friends/hips have been badly blurred. How? Well, I believe it's due to the fact that all of my friendships over the years have either changed drastically, faded to nearly nothing or dissolved altogether. It's forced me to move away from the simple terminology of my youth (back then you had "friends" and then, if you were lucky one or two "best friends").
Now, as an adult, I've had to create more categories and sort them more thoroughly. But.....why? Why is this necessary? Is it just me creating all this work or is this how it goes for us when we get older and life gets more complicated? Do our friendships really have to become complicated as well? You would think something like that would remain reliable, simple and uncomplicated. Well, fuck if I know why, but mine hasn't!
So at this point I'm dealing with a whole slew of different types of "friends" and frankly, it's confusing, sad and disheartening to me. Allow me to explain....
The Long Distance Friend: This is a real kicker to me. It turns out the three closest friends I ever had now live hundreds of miles away from me. True, in the case of S and Sh, that's my fault. I moved my happy ass here to Virginia and they stayed put. Well, Sh moved a little further south but not enough to make seeing her any easier. M on the other hand, moved here to VA shortly after I did, made me fall all madly in love with her (not literally, you perverts!) and then moved back up north. What the fuuuuuudge??? I know, right? Totally sucks. The crazy thing is, I tried following her up north - and again, don't go getting stupid ideas.....we both talked about how cool it would be for me to live up there, too, then we could all hang out ALL THE TIME! Well, that didn't turn out to be the perfect scenario we dreamed it would. The weather sucked, she lived too fucking far from me and there I was, a lonely mother to a 10 month old baby boy, playing the role of stay at home mom for the first time, and having no one to interact with during my long days at home. Eventually, we ended up back here in VA and while M and I stayed in contact and even visited each other a few times, we have since lost touch, not seen each other in forever and rarely communicate even via Facebook.
The Facebook Friend: There are actually two types in this category, and some of them fall into other categories as well (The Long Distance Friend as well as a few others I've not yet covered). The first is the Friend I Made Through Facebook Friend - as the name implies, I met this person online, friended them, converse with often enough via Facebook but have never, ever actually laid eyes on them. Probably never will, which is sad because at least two of them seem really fucking cool and I'd love to hang with them. The other type that falls under this category, is a much sadder story. This is the I Used to Spend Time With You But Now I Never See You and We Just Talk Via Facebook Friend. This one frustrates me greatly, probably more so than any other. And hey, I admit - I'm probably one of those friends to someone else and I know I had a hand in it in either case. BUT the roads go both ways, and so do the telephones, folks. I guess some figure since I don't have a job I have all the time in the world to call THEM. 'cept, that being stuck in this house for the last three years has made me a little nuts and I forget sometimes and get wrapped up in my own little lonely cocoon. Also, while I do tend to have a helluva lot of time on my hands, the rest of the world doesn't and therefore YOU should call ME when you find some time in your oh-so-busy-schedule. Am I wrong? Well, maybe a little but, but it makes sense in my fevered mind.
You No Longer Fit Into My Lifestyle Friend: Definitely another one of those "goes both ways, folks" situations. My life has changed drastically over the last couple of years. Many of you don't see it because you don't see me every day, we don't talk every day and frankly, even if we're related, it's really not all that much of your business anyway and you probably wouldn't understand or be able to keep yourself from judging me. Oh wait, too late.....ANYWAY, I digress. The point is, when things changed for me, yeah I went off in another direction and had a little less time for some of my friends. I was happy to share with them my thoughts, my beliefs, my new interests, etc. but they didn't get it and didn't care to follow. Fine. No problem! But also, some of those changes I went through (some which were involuntary, such as the loss of my job) left me behind in the dust while they moved on to richer, greener pastures, and to places and activities that I couldn't keep up with (due to geographic reasons and/or mostly due to financial reasons). Their situation changed and they made little to no effort to keep me in their life or part of their inner circle and I was effectively shut out. They made new friends, found new places to go and things to do and I became a distant memory. Oh sure, every once in a while I'm allowed a glimpse, a rare invitation to be part of their lives but only for a brief moment and more often than not when it's an occasion where, if I'm invited, so are many other people bearing gifts. If I'm there or not likely makes little difference to them. They've moved on. Good for them.
The Fair Weather Friend: I think we all have at least one of these (turns out, I had a few). They only stick around when things are sunshine, lollipops and skittles-colored unicorn farts. But when things get messy, they bail. Seriously....I had one tell me that he felt uncomfortable around my because of my "drama" (my marital woes) and when I got pissed and called him on it (because he only told me this AFTER I called him out for disappearing on me) he made a rude, immature comment about avoiding my bitchiness, too - as if it wasn't justified after the first asinine comment! Who the fuck needs friends like that anyway? Those aren't friends at all!
The Emotional Vampire/Needy Ned Friend: Someone who, over and over and over and over, suffers from a never-ending stream of drama, trouble and woes. You be a good friend and listen, lend money, open your house to them, loan them items and in the end, what you get is emotionally exhausted, broke, less a few items (or get them back WAY too late and in less than stellar condition) and realize you're being taken advantage of. Look, I get it....we all go through shit. I'm going through shit going on three years now and two of those years I've had another layer of shit added. BUT I don't believe I've sucked anyone dry nor have I taken advantage of anyone. In fact, I've tried to - except for some lame, woe-is-me Facebook posts, kept much of it to myself but for the rare opportunity to talk with someone else live and in person. Trust me those moments are RARE and LONG GONE. I haven't intentionally alienated anyone from my life, but fact is, I have no one to talk to. And I hate the idea that I have pulled away from someone who may have needed someone to talk to but at some point you just get tired of the constant excuses, the let downs and bummers that these kinds of friends bring. You can only do so much and it's either bail or slit your wrists.
Once-In-a-While, More-Like-Super-Awesome-Acquaintances-Than-Friends Friend: These are people who you see so rarely but are always genuinely happy to see you and you to see them. You don't know much about them but when you get together with them, you always have an awesome time. Usually there is some common theme that brings you together and allows for such fellowship and camaraderie. It's a wonderful thing and I'm grateful for it. It makes me sad though when it's time to part and I know I'm not likely to see them again until the next time. I always tell myself that I'll keep in touch and try to arrange a gathering or two, but I don't....and neither do they. It's the nature of it, I suppose, and rather than try to force a closer friendship, I leave it alone.
I could sit here all day and break it down to a hundred sub categories, but my point is......I don't have any friends left - and by friends, as I define them, I mean people who are in my life currently, who I see, spend time with, talk to often and regularly and who mean a lot to me (and vice versa). There are no people like that in my life at this moment. I don't see the friends I used to see all the time, I don't see people from church, my old job, the communities I used to be a part of.....no one. No one calls me up to ask me to go out (even if they think I don't have the money, an invite would make me feel better than never hearing from them at all).
I'm not looking for pity - I've indulged in enough of that on my own as it is. It is what it is. I am just as responsible for this as those who are no longer in my life (or are hardly in it now when I need them most).
It is what it is. Maybe someday I'll reconnect with my close friends, maybe I'll make new ones HERE, where I live. Maybe. Until then, it's a lonely fucking road. Oh well....fuck it.