Fair Weather Friends
When you have been through a difficult marriage and divorce, it takes a few months for the dust to settle so that you can see who the friends are left standing by your side. In my case, I was taken aback by the gaps in my friend circle. The same friend whose children had virtually lived at my house for 4 years, who I had held and cried with through the unexpected passing of her father – gone. The neighbor I had lived around the corner from for 8 years suddenly didn’t recognize me when her eyes looked through me at the grocery store. In the beginning, I looked to myself and my behavior for answers. (I had 22 years in a marriage where everything was my fault, so why would this be different?) While I was hurt and a little lost, I also discovered the hidden gems that were still there for me – and came to realize a painful truth. For some people, if something bad happens – they can’t cope. It’s not a function of their quality as people it’s just that they lack the ability to adapt to new situations. Seeing me go from being a stay at home mom in a beautiful home to a single mom working 2 jobs and living in a tiny house, was too much to process.
It’s been 5 years since I did this difficult “friend inventory” and had to let go of some people whom I had cared about a great deal. I also discovered some “acquaintances” that were friends I had never really appreciated before. As I adjusted to life as a single, working mom I realized that adult friendships aren’t something we spend a lot of time thinking about. Like any relationship, friendship requires time and effort, and sometimes in the day-to-day life of being a mom – we forget to put that effort in. I am grateful that my current friend group is made up of women who always make the effort and do their best to set aside time for me – and vice versa. Life will always be busy but these are the people I do my best to find time for. Those who weren’t willing or able to put in that effort, I have had to let go – it hurts but once it’s done, it is very freeing.
Some tips for a friend inventory:
Is there a friend whom you frequently call or text but who never initiates contact with you?
Is there a friend who lives nearby but you virtually never hear from unless it’s their comments on a Facebook post?
Are you prioritizing a friend who doesn’t reciprocate?
The bald truth is that these people aren’t really your friends – the cursed blessing of social media means that we are all more connected than ever so it’s harder to avoid people – which is fine, but stop wasting time and energy on these people, it will never be worth the effort.
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