Thursday, May 1, 2008

Doormat or Good Friend

There is a big range on the friend scale. Starting with people that you see regularly, maybe at work, but you don't really make plans with. Working in a big company there are plenty of people I make small talk with on the elevator and meet for the occasional lunch but we never see each other outside of work. Then there are old friends that have seen you through the awkward years of childhood or teens and have seen and accepted all the changes that come with growing up. These people you can see after two years and conversation just flows. They're almost like family.

But between the casual and the intimate there is a big gray area. Everyone knows it gets trickier to meet people the older you get. There's a divide between singles, marrieds and people with kids. Not to say you can't be friends with people in the other category but there is a comfort in knowing someone is going through the same things you are. Most people meet friends through work or by joining clubs. Sometimes you are introduced by a spouse or another friend. Ofter you see them in a big group for a while. Then you have the awkward friend first date when you get together one on one to see if you actually like each other. If you do, then you make time in your schedule to meet or talk or just keep in contact.

When we moved to Cincinnati, Captain Awesome made friends quickly with the people he worked with. I was slower in meeting people but I put myself out there and joined a couple book clubs, made an effort to get out of the house and slowly, I formed a circle of friends that I really enjoy. My book club has introduced me to women that make me laugh and teach me new things. We are diverse enough that there is always at least one person up for an activity. I have been to some amazing restaurants and been able to explore Cincinnati thanks to these amazing women.

And then there's this other friend. I'll call her Jewel for the sake of the story. I met Jewel because her husband worked with the Captain. Before I was working I would meet him and some co-workers for lunch and one time she came. She had a flexible schedule and seemed nice so we exchanged numbers. We did things together and although on paper we seemed like a good match, we had a lot of differences. And not the good kind. I didn't like the way she and her husband would fight constantly when we met them for dinner. I didn't agree with her conservative values. I felt like she was always trying to prove how cosmopolitan and sophisticated she was. But I had no idea how to get out of this friendship. She didn't really have many friends in town and I sometimes had a good time when we got together. She is really good hearted. She was always willing to take care of the cats when we went on vacation and was super supportive after the Captain left.

So what to do? I don't think it's worth it to hurt her feelings especially since I'm leaving in a month and will most likely not keep in touch. But I am annoyed with her constant calls. Because I am a wuss and hate to say no I feel pressured into meeting with her even though I don't want to. I childishly screen her calls and make up excuses. I don't have answers and probably won't figure it out. I will probably meet with her a couple more times before I leave and will give myself a time limit so I can gracefully leave. So am I being a doormat by not addressing the problems and standing up to her, or am I being nice and letting this relationship die naturally.

The one thing I do know is that I won't let my issues with Jewel affect my friendship with my book club friends. I will continue to have fun and laugh and eat with them. I hope I will be able to stay in touch with them and I hope I can take their senses of adventure with me to NC and use it to meet more friends.


L Sass said...

I am actually totally in favor of the "slow fade" in relationships like this. She's not worth a dramatic confrontation--that will just make things spiral out of control. Just take a little longer to respond to emails, be a little vague about making plans.

You're moving in no time, there is no need for drama.

Wickedly Scarlett said...

I think your plan to just ride it out sounds perfect. At least you've got an escape plan in place!

But see, I have trouble making friends because I just assume that people would rather not be friends with me. Do I need therapy, or what? Ha!

Frankly, Scarlett said...

I completely agree with the grey area of friends! Friendships take a lot of work, and you have to pick and choose who you want to invest your time in basically.

Sara and Dan Klick said...

I agree with everyone else. "I'll call you" is the best way to say "stay away from me." Seems more polite that way.