Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Do I Do With a Flaky Friend (Who I Also Love)

<Note:  I've saved this post to write out when I'm in a good mood so it doesn't come across as whiny or complainy. Lately I hate drama more than usual so I don't want to be the cause of it, and I don't want to be high-maintenance either. So it's a serious post, but not in the "woe is me" kind of way.>

So I have this friend. We've known each other for about 2 1/2 years, I think...or is it longer than that? Honest disclosure: I was in love with him for awhile but the feelings weren't reciprocated.  It caused me alot of pain but I decided his friendship was worth it, so like a masochist I decided to maintain the friendship. I value my friendships alot, and will usually do everything I can to keep them. I don't usually let myself just "drift away" for no reason.

I still love this friend alot. Not in a romantic way anymore; I've turned it into more of a best friend/brother type of love. He has a boyfriend now and they seem very happy together, so I don't harbor any secret hopes of him falling for me.  I'm human though, so I do get a bit jealous sometimes...I wish it was me he was spending time with, or going on road trips with, or introducing to his family (even just as a friend). 

So, to get to the point, he's pretty flaky lately. Yeah, he's busy, yeah he has a boyfriend, but he cancels plans with me, he doesn't talk to me unless I talk to him first, etc. And since I love him like a brother, it hurts.  I've grieved and moved on from the loss of a possible relationship with him, so that doesn't hurt anymore.  What does hurt, though, is that I feel like we're not that close anymore.  We've drifted apart. I suppose that's natural, since he has a boyfriend and that relationship is usually more important than a friendship. But since I see him as a brother I still want to be part of his life, know what he's feeling, know what he's doing. Maybe I expect too much, though. There are pretty big signs that he doesn't see me as his brother the way I see him.  E.g. cancelling lunch plans on Christmas Eve when I was going to give him his gift (I still haven't seen him to give it to him). Not rescheduling the plans. Not telling me about his birthday or a trip he went on (I learned about it from Facebook).  Maybe these are petty things that shouldn't bother me. But it would never cross my mind to NOT let my best friends know that I'm going on a trip, or to wish them Happy Christmas, or make them a part of my birthday. Since my friend isn't doing that, it makes me realize I'm really not a part of his life anymore.

So what to do? I've started putting distance between him and me. I don't text him that much anymore, and I haven't invited him to hang out for awhile (even though I've wanted to).  I've stopped sharing things with him that I would usually tell a best friend, and I'm (trying) to make him into a "regular" friend...a friend that I catch up with every once in a while but don't see or talk to regularly.  Doing this won't get me what I want though...I want my best friend back (without me having to make all the effort).  But I don't control his feelings, and the only thing I can control is how I act toward him.  Do I keep being the longsuffering, ever-supportive friend who is there no matter what? Even though it hurts? Or do I do what people tell me is best for me in the long run...let him go, and find someone that can be a better friend? Honestly, I'm starting to give hurts less, and I'm just too tired to try to save it. 

But I love him and I'll miss him.


Miguel said...

I had a friend like this when I first separated from my X, he really became sort of a mentor, best friend I could talk to him about everything, we texted a few times a day, talked on the phone, met for coffee, met his partner; nicest guy and for some reason after he met the babe @ pride he dropped me like an old shoe. I sent him a few messages, left voicemails and he always says: "We'll have to make some time to catch up". Last time I told him I was leaving it up to him to contact me next-that was about 3-4 months ago-and he hasn't. I'm kind of sad about that, but I wish him well and hope he is OK. If he calls me I might talk to him but sure wish I knew what's the deal. People are like that sometimes, I suppose time will tell. Hang in there man!

Ned said...

You wanted to give him a Christmas gift, how about this kind of a gift:

"Dear Friend, I'm writing you this letter and then I'm going to burn it. As it burns, I will consider that our one-time friendship has also changed in form from something solid to something as ephemeral as smoke. I wish you well. I know you wish me well, but you don't have time for me, and I need a friendship that is reciprocal rather than one sided. The energy I would have spent on you will now be directed toward others. It's been good for me to write this. I love you and I always will to some degree, but right now I've got a document ready to print and burn. Or to put in another way, you're about to be fired. Hope you enjoy the heat."

Crazy, huh? Might be crazy enough to work. :D

Original Mohomie said...

I think most of us who aren't completely self-absorbed have experienced something like what you describe here. I also think most of us who are sometimes self-absorbed (or just plain clueless) have been the cause of someone else experiencing it. Fact of life.

I think sometimes it's OK to still be available and to not completely shut someone out in case they ever do truly need you, but I also think it's often best to back off, realize they don't want what you want and that it's toxic to the friendship for you to hope for it, and invest elsewhere.

I also think it's OK to let someone know that's what you're doing, but I'm a bit of an overcommunicator sometimes, maybe because I've been grateful when people in my past have shared that sort of thing with me even when I didn't know where it was coming from and thought it was a bit overwrought. It helped me understand how my actions affected others, even if I didn't know how to do things differently at the time. Of course, not everyone even cares how their actions affect others, so you'll have to be the judge on what's best, whether to communicate your feelings and intent, or to just quietly walk away.

That's my two (hundred) cents. :-)

I'm interested to know how the last month has gone in this regard.

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