Monday, August 4, 2008

Friendship 101

I'm not the only one having friendship issues. Another author is having them as well.

Remember mine, the one who last year blasted me for my publishing efforts, and basically told me to get a 'real job'? The one who later mentioned something I said would 'make a great line in one of your books', and who later again told me not to invite her to my signings?

Yeah, I know...mixed message there.

I had not heard from her in 6 weeks, and suddenly I receive an email stating she basically could care less about what was going on in my writing life, or marital woes, or even about my kid's tonsillectomy. But she's coming into town today and wants to see me.

It took a great deal of willpower not to hit 'reply' and send a very sarcastic and snotty remark!

I even went back to my sent mail to see what, if anything I said might have been construed as whining or rude. Nothing. I basically had said, 'here's what's going on in my world', and 'hey, I finished that manuscript!' and 'oh, btw, I'm going to be in your town briefly...want to meet for lunch/coffee?'

She said, in large letters, she had a job and a kid to raise, and didn't have as much free time as I do.

Whaaaaat?

Free time?

Let's visit something here:

1) I have 3 kids, she has 1.
2) Yes, she has a job, and works mainly from home.
3) I have a 'job'...I'm a full-time mommy, and I also write.
4) I thought we were friends who CARED about each other. I offered love and support during her divorce; she's heard all about my trials the last 12 years, and we've commisserated on our idiot spouses. Hers decided to become addicted to alcohol and drugs; mine is just a royal pain in the ass. She also offered encouragement when I found myself pregnant again after 9 years, and listened while I cried on the phone! And who held me a year later and calmed me down when I had a 'what the hell have I gotten myself into' moment after the baby was born!

I have decided that IF she calls me today, I will pick up the phone. IF she emails, I'll reply back. IF she comes over, I will remain calm.

But I'm not replying to the snotty one; I will calmly remind her that I cannot get inside her head; I have NO IDEA what she's been dealing with the past 6 weeks, and I'M SORRY if my 5 emails last week was misunderstood as a 'high maintenance' moment. I had good news I wanted to share, and that was all!

I'll admit, I gave into my insecure, emotional side: I was wondering if a) after our chat she decided to not be friends anymore or b) technology was interferring and I wasn't getting the 'hi, how are you' emails she usually sends every couple of weeks. The rational side was telling me that a) she looked extremely stressed and just needed space, and b) not to push her or she'd take my head off again. So, I gave a gentle nudge and she snapped, via email this time.

We'll see what happens today. If I'm not careful, I'll insecure myself out of this long friendship. And after 22 years, you'd think we'd know each other better. But this divorce has changed her; I don't want to join the ranks of friends she's lost in the past 2 years; I'll just have to continue to pray for her. I don't think she anticipated this much stress last year, when she was venting at me once a month over this decision.

I applaud her courage at changing her life; she changed jobs and divorced her spouse, all in the course of 3 months. I've often thought of striking out on my own, but fear holds me back. I've not worked (steadily, that is!) in 14 years. If my publishing efforts were supporting me, I'd probably do it in a heartbeat. But I remember what I was like, working seven hours a day and coming home to clean the house, do my 'mommy' duties, and cook dinner for a tired husband who had worked 12-15 hours. I was tired; I was sleep-deprived; and cranky because I had no time to write. And when I was no longer full-time again after 8 weeks, the words poured from my pen for 6 weeks straight.

My hubby gripes when I'm not working, because I'm not earning any money, but yet when I do work, I hear 'the house is a mess! When are you going to clean it up?'

I finally yelled back, "What do you want, a clean house or a working wife? Apparently I'm incapable of doing both!"

He shut up.

Sorry for the rant; this just royally pissed me off. And I don't want to get into a yelling match.

4 comments:

Kelly Kirch said...

Yeah, don't respond to the email. Clearly it's not working here and you two need to talk. The rant is well placed and not over-done though. I think you're just fine.

She thinks your life is a bed of roses. She's forgetting the thorns in there. Meanwhile, three months a divorce, a job, probably a move, loss of friends... sounds like she can't handle much of anything slightly stressful right now. She's barely coping with her own issues. Talk to her and then decide what to do.

But hand in there, Molly. You are a very positive person who rarely shows her frustration. Unfortunately, she took it as permission to lash out.

Kenzie Michaels said...

That's basically what my QT said this am...to TALK HONESTLY and OPENLY with loved ones. She basically told me last year I was one of a few close friends she could confide in, and I loved seeing her every month, face to face. But now, I feel as if she's deliberately trying to pick a fight, and I'm not gonna let her.

That's why I put this here; she doesn't blog, and I needed to get this off my chest and NOT in a snarky email that would have definitely ended the friendship. Plus, I'm so thankful I read the posts before I posted mine! Otherwise, blogger would have exploded...not much traffic here yet, but hopefully after I get e-pubbed:)

It takes quite a lot to set me off this way, and she's done it to me now 3 times; twice in 2 months.

Ashley Ladd said...

Hugs.

I agree with Kelly - don't answer the email. I never like it when people yell at me, but today I'm fed up with it (the day job's in customer service and today I had several people vent on me).

I have trouble working, writing, and keeping a clean house, too.

Kenzie Michaels said...

Thanks for the hugs and support:) I'm considerably calmer than I was over the weekend!

Maybe she's also slightly jealous? For years, she's been the 'successful' one. Now maybe it's my turn?