Friendship, the Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly

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I’ve been around for… let’s just say longer than people think when they look at me. I’ve made my share of friends, some good, others gigantic mistakes. I guess by this point in my life I can say I can speak about friendship. Overall, my experience with friendship has been rocky at best.  I have a few really good friends, people I know will be there for me no matter what. What I’m about to describe in no way describes any of them (and the half dozen or so know who they are), but I could name three times as many who have failed to live up to the others. I seem to have a knack for letting people into my life whose sole purpose is to use, abuse and discard my friendship and loyalty.

Making friends has never been easy for me. As much as most people who know me think I’m friendly or easy to talk to, I’m actually more introverted and prefer to have a few close friends over a huge social circle. Having had to move and change schools often throughout my childhood was painful and difficult for me. I’d make friends, then have to leave. New places only made me a target for mean kids. I was taller than most, didn’t talk about the same things and, not to toot my own horn, was smarter than most. I’m guessing that’s why I would “glom on” as my daughter would say, to anyone who would show an interest in me. That was the problem. I’d just be so happy to have a “friend” and would put up with all kinds of hurtful and abusive behavior. The problem is I still do it…I guess I just never learn.

Here is a description of a friendship that I had to end in the last few years that was probably the worst of the bunch. I’ve changed the name of the guilty, not to protect her, but to forestall any future issues with her once she gets wind of this post. Some people will know who I’m talking about, and probably got to hear her bad mouth the hell out of me after it hit the fan. Well, I never did, so here’s my side.

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Kasey and I met online. People do these days. We met through a message board for Tears For Fears/Curt Smith fans.  Yep, I admit it. I’m a 80’s band fan. Most of the discussions on the board, and between Kasey, myself and others were about the band and the music, but some were about politics and everyone was in “yes” mode, meaning they agreed wholeheartedly with whatever Curt, an avowed liberal, said. At that time, however, I kept out of political discussions and my kept my conservatism to myself. After all, I didn’t want Curt to dislike me because I didn’t think as he did, especially after I got to meet him the first time in 2004.  I don’t know if Kasey knew how I leaned politically.  She was one of the “yes” crowd.

At Curt’s encouragement, I became the conservative voice on the board.  I was attacked vociferously.  Curt defended me, much to my delight.  Kasey did too, although she really did no other discussing, other than to continue to be a “yes” person to Curt.  In most other discussions she would make sure to tell everyone how she knew Curt in the early 90’s NY City days after he left Tears For Fears, how she hung out with him at shows and organized fan get-togethers and meet and greets with Curt… all… the… time.

Despite that, she and I started becoming friends off the board.  We emailed a lot. And ended up talking for hours a day on Yahoo messenger.  We talked about everything – friends, family, spouses, kids.  There wasn’t a subject that was off limits.  I was thrilled to finally have someone who understood: my fan geekiness with TFF, my childhood hurts, all kinds of thing.  Taking and sharing was equal… up to this point. I was just thrilled to have someone who didn’t make fun of me for the things that were important to me!

In 2005 I was in the midst of a Pampered Chef business and Kasey asked me about doing what I did. So I signed her up. She was having money problems so I fronted her the money to pay for the kit. The problem? She got her kit and never scheduled a single show, becoming what we called a “kitnapper.”  That meant that I never got credit for signing her to my team, which hurt me financially. She did pay be back for the money for the kit.  I let it slide.

When her husband was diagnosed with cancer the two way support stopped.  Understandably so.  It was terrifying for her, I get that.  I helped her in so many ways during that year.  I got her in touch with a friend of my husband’s who had been through the same type of cancer.  I listened to her for hours and hours talk about her fears, their fights, how it was hurting their marriage, how they were getting into a financial bind because of his missed time at work.  I sent her money, money that I didn’t really have to give, for Christmas presents for their kids (her and his).  I rejoiced with her when the cancer was beaten, shared her fears before each doctor’s appointment, at each twinge or ache.  Being supportive in a time of need is what a best friend does.  I held up my end of the bargain. Didn’t give it a second thought.

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In 2008 We spent time together at a tears For Fears concert in Las Vegas.  She and I were trying to work together on a meet and greet for a group of fans we knew.  Again and again she told everyone about how she was a master at setting these up because of her early days in NYC.  The day of the concert the Tour Manager got in touch with me about where to get necessary passes and what to do.  She tried, and failed miserably, to act as if it didn’t bother her that it was me that was getting the information and not her.  At that point I really didn’t notice. I was just excited it was going to happen.  We both got to sit through the sound check.  After the concert we followed what we thought were the instructions about where to go, but finally figured out they were wrong.  I got a text saying where it was and that if we didn’t get there quickly the band would leave. I reacted and I took off running to the correct place. I didn’t think “oh, let me wait for Kasey so we can get there together.”  I thought “I crap, I need to get there asap or none of us get to see them!”

I was also very ill on this trip. I was diagnosed with chronic lyme disease which was bad enough, and shingles in my left arm, which was screamingly painful, just after I got home from Vegas. The trip was too important to not go, so I managed. I got no sympathy.

After we got back to our respective homes, she emailed me and accused me of trying to leave her out and of being disrespectful because I ran off without her. Yes, really. But as I always do, I capitulated, took all the blame and we went on as if nothing happened.  She got what she wanted: me put back in my place.

I kept doing other things for her.  She was always complaining about how they never had any money, for whatever reasons.  Even though I too never have enough money, I was always doing things like sending her the free extras I got when buying my makeup, I sent flowers to her husband when he was ill.  I sent cards for anniversaries and birthdays.  For my birthday we flew her up to visit.  We even planned a surprise for her birthday by “crashing” a reunion between her and the friend I sent her way (cancer supporter). It’s what friends do, right? Yet I kept failing to see it was always me doing the giving.

More cracks surfaced. I should have recognized them, but I didn’t. I was in a bad car accident.  It caused all kinds of problems, especially financial ones.  I called her in a panic and in tears after some particularly bad news.  She listened for a few minutes, told me I just needed to calm down and hung up.  Subsequent emails didn’t support and instead voiced exasperation and impatience.  I still took it.

In November of 2008 my father died.  I held it together as best I could.  I didn’t expect that she would come up for his funeral (although it would have been nice).  I did expect that she would at least send a card or flowers.  She didn’t.

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I went back to college to get an additional degree and my time was taken up with it.  I still made time daily to talk with her.  She was a great cheerleader for my achievements.  She was a good friend when things were positive and fun.  But only then. But the positive times were few and far between, and becoming fewer.

In August of 2010 I got the opportunity to sing with the opening act at a TFF concert in Baltimore.  Kasey couldn’t take time to be there.  Granted, she lived a plane ride away, but she knew I’d put her up at my house. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, a dream come true, and my best friend didn’t even make an attempt to be there… again.

Kasey was always working on business ventures.  I was a vocal supporter online, with friends and family, for all of them, including her online magazine… at first. As 2009 closed and 2010 opened, Kasey started her online magazine and a recipe book project.  Remember what I was doing when we met? Basically cooking for a career? Yeah, she never once asked for my input.

As she was getting the magazine off the ground she was overtly friendly with many other people, and I understood why.  She was marketing herself to others.  Her magazine was about “diva” things, fashion, the whole “how to be a great girlfriend” thing, the whole faux sophisticate thing.  She would ask others for article contributions.  She knew that I wrote, but never asked me for any contributions.  I finally offered a fluff piece.  I had just redone the extra bedroom in our home for my daughter to be her dance/art room, and wrote about it.  I sent it to her and she thought it was “great” but needed some “tweaking.”  I’m an accomplished person, a published writer, so I write well.  When she finally published “my” article it was unrecognizable.  I compared it to my original and out of about 400 words, she changed 395 of them.  It was no longer mine.  I told her to take my name off of it – the grammar and spelling were horrible and it wasn’t anything close my style of writing.  She was shocked.  I was just disgusted.

More and more she pulled away from me.  First it was a few days between contact, then a week, then more.  When I protested, and I did, she said she was just too busy with her magazine and work.

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After another serious crisis in 2010, my world crashed around me.  I finally was diagnosed with depression.  It was so bad I was suicidal.  When I turned to my supposed best friend, I got initial sympathy, but generally was told to “just be happy” or “suck it up” or “just get past it” or some other platitude. Then just silence.  Far from listening and being a supportive best friend, I heard nothing.

In February of 2012 I was published in an actual book. Entitled “Sandy Hook Massacre: When Seconds Count, The Police Are Minutes Away” it included three of my Second Amendment articles from the clashdaily.com website where I have a weekly column.  My cheerleader had officially left the building.

Later that year my depression seriously bottomed out.  When I really got to the bottom and called her out because I NEEDED SOMEONE TO BE THERE FOR ME, she told me that I was being “drama queen” and that she had real life problems.  Her life was always more important than mine, and now it was quite evident.

One of her parting shots at me was that I said “hateful things” that “hurt her friends.”  She was talking about me expressing opinions that differed from hers.  So her lip service to respecting other opinions was just that, lip service.  Of course it really didn’t matter that she hurt me beyond what I could take.  I gave and gave and she took and took.  My needs were “drama” while hers were always life and death.  When I reached out in real pain, she couldn’t be bothered. When I called her out on it I was “crazy.”  I was crazy… crazy for not seeing it sooner.

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Kasey was just one example of plenty more who did similar things. A high school friend who constantly was my friend, then not, and on and off, until she threw me over for others on a band trip. I finally got smart and stopped going back for more abuse after that. Other so called friends who only came around when they needed something, but disappeared when I was in need. That happens all the time. I have the worst ability to discern who really is a friend and who isn’t.  All of them, like Kasey, were given the gift of my loyalty, love and friendship.  They stomped on it like it was trash.

That group at the beginning of all of this? Well, they are my saviors. I would have literally lost my mind without them. Thanks guys!

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As for Kasey and the rest (and there are many more)… you guys suck!

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One thought on “Friendship, the Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly

  1. Empowering article on finding the strength to move on after being hurt or dismissed by those one would always expect to have been there. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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