So I know this is my second post today, but I don’t think the first one really counts. 🙂 I was totally going to post a sneak peek of another wedding project I’ve been doing, but my phone (with the picture of said project) died. So here we are instead, talking about something that’s been bothering me for awhile.
Let’s play a game. It’s called, Spot What’s Wrong In This Conversation. The rules are, I tell you about a conversation I had with a (formerly?) very close friend of mine on the way home from work a few weeks ago, and you tell me what’s missing from the conversation:
Me: So, you know, how’s life going?
Friend: (Lots of chatter about med school and anecdotal stories and such)
Me: Oh that’s cool…
Friend: So what’s up in your life?
Me: Well you know… (insert chatter about lab and my program and my Ph.D. coursework)
Friend: Oh that’s cool…
(Insert awkward silence)
(Conversation comes to awkward close).
So who can spot it? What’s missing from that conversation? I’ll give you a hint, it starts with an S…
Substance. Anything meaningful. Whatsoever. I ask her about her life, she gives me lots of stories and surface level talk about med school. She asks me about my life, I tell her about my lab work, even going into the nitty gritty of exactly what experiments I did and how I did them (she’s a science geek too). This girl used to be (as in, as recently as last year) one of my closest friends in the whole world, and yet somehow, for the past 6 months or so, we’ve gotten to a place where I can’t tell her anything about my life (outside of school). Nothing. And maybe she feels the same, because I certainly don’t know too much about her life either. We used to talk several times a week, every week, for an hour at least each time. Now? Once every three weeks, max.
And I know you’re saying things change, people change, drift happens, friendships cycle… I get that. I’m fine with that. I am the queen of letting the drift happen, and then reconnecting years later. So if that’s all it was, I wouldn’t be writing this post.
However. My friend has this reputation. She is very… driven. Very driven. I admire it and if I was halfway as motivated as she is I think I would be done with seven different Ph.D.’s by now. One of her flaws, however, is that she
has an inability tends to judge doesn’t understand how anything could come before, or alongside of, a career, in terms of the what’s-most-important-in-life scale. ANYTHING. So she’s watched as I fell in love with Shortcake (and T1). Watched as we decided to get married. Not coming to the wedding because of school (this was the excuse I was given, not looking into it too far), and not being a bridesmaid (although I did ask). Yelled at me several times and told me I’m off track. Asked me several times if I really am sure I love Shortcake (hello, insulting much?).
And we’ve fought and patched things up and fought and patched things up and fought and patched things up several times now. I stopped calling her as often because I didn’t like being guilt tripped or lectured for the way I was choosing to live my life… especially from someone who is supposed to support me. Me not calling her led to many more fights and accusations from her that I was dropping the ball in our friendship, I didn’t care about her, etc. She’s also been mad that I haven’t come to see her as often as I did before Shortcake and I really got serious… she lives 6 hours away, and will occasionally invite me up for the weekend. Inevitably though, I have T1 to watch that weekend or we just don’t have it in the budget for the $200 in gas it costs to make it up there… and this always leads to more fights. I’ve even found myself apologizing to her, for what I’m not sure.
Anyways, the list goes on and on, but what it all adds up to is that this friendship is headed down the drain fast. I feel like anytime I mention Shortcake or T1 she gets judgemental- hence the reason our conversations, when we have them, usually revolve around school. work. Phd. Concepts she can understand, and of which she approves.
I hate that it’s like this, but I have to wonder if this is just an inevitable part of life? As I move out of one life stage (college) and into another (family + kids + job track) and she stays in the previous stage, is it inevitable that we become more distant? Does this happen with all friendships- those friendships you hold closer also tend to be those who are on the same “life stage” as you? I have 2 other close friends that I speak with on a regular basis- one who is at the same stage I am, met the guy of her dreams (who also happens to have a kid), settling down, making plans for the future, etc. The other friend has not been in a relationship in years (not that this matters) but she is also very job-oriented: done with school, moving up in the ranks, stable, happy. I have no problem connecting to these two, and I have to wonder if it’s because I’m in similar life stages as they are, whereas the friend I am having trouble with is still a “college kid” (an imprecise term for what I’m trying to convey, but hopefully you understand).
Hmmmm… anyone have any thoughts? Anyone run into similar friend situations? I’d love to see if this extends to other situations, or if it’s just me.