To My Dear Old Friends

Dear Old Friend,

I miss you.

I know I haven’t been a very good friend, but I think about you a lot.  And, thanks to Facebook, I see random bits and pieces of your life now, so many years removed from the last time we spent together in person. I see you with your friends and family and wish I could be there too, a part of your life. You always look like you’re having so much fun at your parties and picnics and dreamy vacations. Your children are adorable and clever and I wish I could be their honorary auntie.

It’s funny, isn’t it?

We thought we’d always be there for each other. We even dreamed that our future children would be best friends.

I miss you. And I miss those dreams.

My daughter is struggling with her own friendships, and my advice is always “If you want to have friends, be a friend.”

That’s something I learned the hard way, after so many years of feeling unworthy and unloveable. At some point–around the time I met you–I started to figure out that nobody could actually see through me into my insecure core, so if I just acted friendly and asked questions, they’d think I was a normal person and hang out with me. I also realized, back then, that we were all so busy worrying about what others thought of us that nobody, in fact, was.

It was so much easier to be friends when we were all together at school or at work.

And then the decades passed. And I lost track of you. And, frankly, I became so ashamed that all I ever had to talk about was my aches and pains, my unhappy marriage, my frustrations, and my seemingly constant bad luck. I figured it was pretty boring. Nobody wants to hear that stuff. Nobody knows what to do with it.

So I stopped talking.

Not that I was ever so great at calling you on the phone or asking you to go to a movie or lunch or anything. I felt like such an outsider all the time; it was easier to just go to movies or concerts or plays by myself rather than face the potential rejection.

I must have been a pretty intense person back when we were close friends. I was dealing with the early phases of my fibromyalgia and all those deaths and so much difficulty paying for college and, most importantly, my extreme inability to attract a boyfriend! Kids our age didn’t know what to do with all that loneliness and grief–Emo hadn’t been invented yet–and I don’t blame you for not knowing how to help me.

I knew I sent out desperate, needy signals, so it was often safer to just study hard, work hard, garden for hours, and love my dog and, later, my kids.

Maybe now that we’re older, it would be easier to talk about heavy things like chronic pain,  divorce, how hard it is to juggle work and family, and how it’s really, really hard to struggle with depression.

But I’m afraid I’ve lost you.

I haven’t been a friend. And now I don’t really have you as a friend, anymore, do I? Or do I? Maybe I should just call you and have a heart to heart. We still have some connection, right?

And you still can’t see through me, so maybe you have no idea how often I think about you, and how much I love you and miss you.

And that I’m ready to be a friend.

 

 

  One thought on “To My Dear Old Friends

  1. February 22, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Such a beautiful piece. I love that blogging allows us to be open, vulnerable and gives us a new platform for connecting with others.

  2. February 22, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    Beautifully wriiten! I think I will reach out to some old friends…

  3. February 21, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    A beautiful post, one that leads you right to the next step. You’re ready. :-)

  4. Momo
    February 21, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    This is beautiful and heart-breaking. I love you.

    • February 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      I love you too. I do. And I’m so glad we’ve been spending more time together. And reading each other. 26 years… How can that be?

      Did you see that Robin commented with a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher???

      • Momo
        February 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM

        Yes, I saw that. I love that quote, one of my favorites of hers.

        26 years is insane. I can’t fathom it. Speaking of spending time together we need to make that happen, and soon.

  5. February 21, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    If it wasn’t for FB…I, too, have lost contact with friends that I thought I would be close to for life. We are connected on FB. I stopped talking, too, for different reasons than yours. But, I am certain they would be receptive to a phone call – probably pleasantly surprised. You have nothing to lose. Be a friend. Ask questions. Follow your own advice :)

    Here is a quote I just read today at Being Rudri (http://beingrudri.com/): “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” by Mary Anne Radmacher

    I loved that quote the minute I read it.

    • February 21, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      That is perfect… Momo, who also commented, is close friends with Mary Anne Radmacher. There are so many connections between us that we are not aware of until we start communicating. I get so lost in my head sometimes. Blogging has helped me so much in finding my way out of the labyrinth. I’ve been reading articles lately about people our age and how hard it is to make friends bc of our social isolation, and because we assume everybody else is happily paired up with best friends. But it turns out a lot of us are just lonely and it just takes a little effort to reach out. Thanks for commenting Robin.

  6. February 21, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    All true.
    But I’d also imagine the person on the other side went through a lot of that too.
    Making that call could open a whole new world for both of you…

    • February 21, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Thanks. It was written with a LOT of people in mind.

      Good thing I finally have a functioning phone…

      • February 21, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        I have a smartphone.
        Never actually investigated if it makes calls.
        (There’s an app for that, right?)

        • February 21, 2014 at 10:01 AM

          Exactly! I’m typing on my new iPhone 5. My 4 got stuck in recovery mode and never recovered. It forced me to learn to use google voice to make calls for work. Or almost consider a landline.

          Nah!

  7. February 21, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    It’s tough picking up the phone — I know — but it sounds like it’s what you need to do.

  8. February 21, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    What a lovely post, it is really sad when we lose connection with friends we used to be so close with.

    • February 21, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      Thank you Harliqueen. There is always a chance to start over..and over…and over again.

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