Recently I had a very difficult situation with a dear friend. It involved our daughters. We had always said that no matter what drama the girls encountered, we wouldn’t let it affect our friendship.
Our girls were friends but as life can happen, they drifted. It was understandable- they were moving in different directions. My daughter was at a dinner with her friends and my friends daughter sent a mean text message about her to another girl sitting at the table. Of course that girl shared the message. My daughter was hurt- and my mama bear instinct was now ready to roar. Up until now, I never felt the need to get involved, it always worked itself out. This time was different.
Later that evening, it was brought to both of our attention that the girls had fought, and we tried to have a dialogue about it. Where at one point in time we had always decided to stay out of it, this time, defensive and nasty, my “friend” went into a tirade. She took it to another level when she verbally attacked my daughter using the same vicious words that her own daughter had used at the teenage dinner table earlier that night. I was in shock and couldn’t believe an adult much less my “friend” would speak that way about my child.
She must have known that she crossed the line because she text me right away. I didn’t reply. What do you say to one of your best friends who has just gone after your child?? Another long winded text came through at 5am. She couldn’t sleep, she felt terrible and now knew our friendship over. I let her apology sit – I needed a few days to digest it all.
We’ve exchanged a few short worded messages since our call. It’s not the same and it will never be the same. I’m trying to figure out how to move forward. If I said I didn’t miss her and our friendship I’d be lying, but I just don’t know the next step.
We were kidding ourselves when we said the girls wouldn’t affect us. How can it not? We were friends when it was good but now what ?? I’m a forgiving person and always see the good in everyone – until I don’t. She was my person. My everyday sounding board, sometimes Thelma & Louise and sometimes Lucy & Ethel.
Jule, to ? friends or not to ? friends, that’s my question??
“To Be Friends Or Not To Be Friends”
Dear “To Be Friends Or Not To Be Friends,”
When you wrote to me a few weeks ago the world looked different than it does currently. We moved about freely. Masks, and Covid 19 and planned trips to the grocery store and Zoom calls, and remote learning, were not even thoughts floating in our carefree heads. We had everyday worries that didn’t include stockpiling Clorox wipes and toilet paper and keeping our loved ones safe and protected from a deadly airborne virus. And so when you wrote to me I had a lot more room for the gray. I had a lot more tolerance for nonsense. And then the shit hit the fan. And while I still know that I have a heart for forgiveness and at the core I can be a mush, I also know categorically that I have very little time or space for surface relationships and bullshit right now. I have thought repeatedly over the past month to myself that this time in our lives is when the cream will rise to the top. Relationships will be tested, true character will be revealed, and not all will like what they see. Pay attention, tune in, and wear your mask if you must, but keep your eyes and ears wide open.
I am with you and agree with you that kids should be given the opportunity to work it out on their own. I’m assuming from your description of your daughter, her friend, and the iPhone that these are not 10 year olds who might need adults to step in, give some guidelines and referee, but that we are talking about older children who should know better. I am so sad for you that you have lost your Lucy to your Ethel, your Thelma to Louise, but let’s also remember that those two went off a cliff together. Remember that? I am fairly certain that my Ethels, my Louises would never attack my kids. Ever. Verbally or otherwise. And if they did, I’m also fairly certain that it would be game over. I don’t think that you come back from that. I don’t think I could, in any case. Forgiveness perhaps, close friendship never again. Our jobs as mothers, after all, first and foremost is to protect our children. Not blindly, not to excuse behavior that should be examined and perhaps tweaked, but always to protect. So when an adult friend goes after your kid… Game Over. The End.
I can count on one hand right now who I really want to spend time talking to, connecting with, sharing my fears with and being in the trenches with during this crisis. It’s not a crisis in my house personally (tuh tuh tuh), but it’s a time for self reflection and for digging deep. We are all spending so much time in our closets right now, clearing out the clutter that no longer fits, but it’s also a time to re examine relationships that perhaps no longer serve us. I am not for one second suggesting that you lead with anger or bitterness, but it’s ok to decide what’s truly important. To choose what serves you. To take stock. To weed. And then to turn your face to the sun and tend to the flowers.
Dating getting you down? Friendship in a frenzy? Mother-in-law making you mashugana ? Nothing is off limits. Everything is anonymous. Ask The Bee HERE!
Illustrations by @courtneycoloring