(For once, this is a post that’s not really about eczema at all, just something I need to get off my mind.)
I made a friend a few years ago. Not just ANY friend, but the kind of friend where you can talk forever, share interests, and inspire each other to be better versions of yourself. The kind of friend where you leave your interaction with them feeling uplifted and refreshed. This friend was really a one of a kind person. And it’s HARD to find good quality friends these days – when social media has blunted our actual human interaction and everyone has their nose buried in technology with the excuse that they can keep in touch any time. I really loved this friend. I loved them like a family member. And that’s saying something for me, as an alone-time loving introvert who has many casual friends, but barely any very close friends, and definitely not friends to which I apply the word “love”.
This friend and I shared gossip. We bonded over similar activities. We shared a sarcastic, self-deprecating humor and poked fun at each other. We cracked crass jokes, laughing uproariously together at our sparkling wit. I gave much of myself to this friend, figuratively speaking. Maybe too much. I gave more to this friend than they gave to me. Never again. I should have cut the generosity when I saw I wasn’t getting much in return.
This friend then moved many, many hours away. Tearful goodbyes were exchanged, with promises to keep in touch and someday to visit in person. Friend and I corresponded by email a couple times, writing lengthy emails talking about everything going on in our respective lives. I prayed for this friend, prayed that everything would go well for them. Prayed that maybe I could move away too and continue the friendship near them. This friend then…began to drop off the face of the earth. I kept reaching out, always being the first one to reach out. After one particularly lengthy email I wrote to Friend, I went months hearing absolutely nothing. Like walking through a snowy landscape looking for a sign of anything green and living – I heard nothing, saw nothing, and so I waited.
Then I decided to be the bigger person, dismissing the shallow thoughts of “Maybe Friend WANTED to forget about me. Maybe Friend never liked me and all of this was an act as they had nothing better to do. Maybe Friend saw the crazy eczema on my face and my puffy eye (at the time) in the weeks before they left and decided they didn’t want to associate with such a leper anymore”. I reached out to Friend, requesting their address so that I could send them some well-wishes for the holiday season. Friend responded with an overly apologetic email, saying they were so sorry for never getting back to me, and they felt bad, blah blah. Whatever. At this point I am getting peeved at Friend. I don’t mind if Friend wanted to forget about me, but at least tell me the truth. Tell me that we’ll never speak and we’ll be like hermits in our respective suburbia, never once interacting again. Tell me that you didn’t like me, point out my flaws, and explain in excruciating detail why you want to break up this friendship. All this is fine. I can handle that. I have a skin as thick as tank armor and I love being alone. I don’t need you, Friend. All I need is for you to be straight with me and lay bare why you refuse to communicate with me. Friend, I don’t even understand. I go to the lengths of sending you a holiday card (expensive, at that) with a cheerful message of times past. And I hear nothing. Not even a “Thank you”. Not even a paltry text or email saying “I appreciate your card, I’m just so busy right now but I wanted to let you know that was very kind.” Nothing.
And this Friend has unknowingly created a monster. This Friend doesn’t have time to talk to me or other friends they left behind, but they have the time to post all kinds of pictures of their new life. Pictures of places I’d like to be. Activities I’d like to be doing. I content myself with my own life, counting my blessings and holding my head high with dignity. I really don’t want to be jealous of this friend. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, starting with a little bit of envy and morphing into a full-blown greedy obsession. But… how I would love to be hours away in a new place, starting a new life, and having the choice to cut myself off from anyone I chose. Moreover, I want to do great things and make this Friend jealous. So many emotions to sort out – I loved this friend, I began to despise this friend, I grew jealous of this friend. All I know is that if and when this Friend ever misses our friendship and reaches back out – they will get nothing more from me.
Has anyone else had experiences like this with a good friendship gone sour?