One of the things I most enjoyed writing about in my Coach’s Boys series was the lifelong friendship between the guys and the coach. They had a bond that couldn’t be broken. It’s just my opinion, but everyone should have people like that in their lives. People you can count on through thick and thin, good times and bad.
Why does this come to mind today? Because recently, I heard that an old friend died. Well, perhaps ‘former’ is more accurate than ‘old’. We used to be very close and she was one of the very few people I could talk to about anything. But as often happens in life, things change and new sometimes replaces old. New interests, new friends…
Yes, I found myself replaced. Maybe her new pals were more exciting. Maybe they offered something I couldn’t. All I know is that for a while, it really hurt. To go from talking almost daily to being cut off whenever I called because she might miss their calls, or she was getting ready to meet one of them, wasn’t easy. After a couple of decades, it was hard to adjust to and I missed her—a lot. But I got used to it and stopped picking up the telephone … unless it was really important.
After several years, after I’d gotten used to not having her in my life in any way that mattered, she started contacting me more often. I thought it was to reconnect – but it was only because she needed my expertise and guidance to start a new project. So, since she’d been such a good friend for such a long time, I said yes. My part in getting her started should have taken a couple of weeks. I spent hours writing out instructions, in setting up all of her online connections, and thought that would be that. We’d go back to rarely speaking again.
Except this went on for several months. The stress of taking care of what should have been her responsibility, in addition to my own work, began to affect my health. She only called when she wanted something from me, and she wanted a lot over that period of time. There was no sharing of what was going on in our lives, or just talking about stuff—aside from brief, superficial chitchat before she got down to business … and sometimes she didn’t even bother with that.
It was kind of a ‘give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime’ situation. Except she didn’t want to learn to fish. She wanted me to do the ‘fishing’ so she could enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet. And that was when I had to walk away. Forever.
A couple of months ago, a mutual friend told me she missed our friendship, missed talking with me. I’d hoped that was true because after everything that happened, I still missed having her—as a real friend—in my life. But it turned out what she really wanted was for me to help her with something else. And so I stood by my decision to let her go.
Now she’s gone. Part of me feels guilty for not reaching out during the summer. But another part tells me I made the right choice. All I know is that I will always miss the friend I used to have. And I will always wish things could have been different.
Have you ever found yourself replaced in a friendship? If so, what did you do? Did you make the same choice I did?
*Photo Credit: Morguefile.com