Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good-Bye? Friend?

Do me a favor. Think of your closest childhood friend. Are you still friends? If not, and you ran into her one day, would you be able to pick up your friendship like it never stopped? Or, would it be an uncomfortable moment for both of you?

Me? I don't know. To any of those questions.

We met in 7th grade, and became fast friends. It continued through high school. Very few weekends passed that we didn't spend at each other's houses. I was just as much at home at her house as I was at mine, and I think she felt the same.

We kept in touch throughout college. But, like lots of friends, we drifted further and further apart. We would call each other about once a month and catch up. Eventually, that led to phone calls about every other month. Then every now and then.

About 8 years ago, my friend started going through some rough times. She told me that she had been having flashbacks from her childhood that I found hard to believe. A few years later, she developed a life threatening disease. She met and married the man of her dreams, but a few months into the marriage, he became abusive and she got a divorce.

The list goes on and on.

While she was going through all of this, I tried to be a good friend. I called. I left messages. I did what I could.

I believed her. Turns out, I shouldn't have.

A couple of years ago, I became suspicious. Her stories that she told were so outrageously crazy, I had a hard time believing anything she said. I'm not going to go into details, because I don't know who reads this, and if they have been lied to, it's my friend's resposibility to come clean.

My suspicions were confirmed. I found out that very little, if anything, she told me about what she was going through is true. I found out that she lied about me. And to me, about people I care about.

So, of course, I started wondering- was our friendship ever true? When did she start the lying?

I received a text message from her yesterday, asking how my week was going.

I wanted to tell her that we broke ground on our house. I wanted to tell her that I'm almost done with real estate school. I wanted to tell her that I've started a new job.

I wanted to tell her that I know. Everything. Was. A. Lie.

But, instead, I told her that everything was fine.

Should I tell her? Should I pretend everything is fine? Would she just tell me another lie about why she told the first one? What if I believe her? What if she reads this blog and we go through a "I know that you know that I know that you know. . ." thing.

What if we are no longer friends?

Were we ever? Really? Friends?

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cyndy said...

Wow......I've had friends who lied a lot, but I always knew they were lying. You must feel totally betrayed, to find out after you put your trust in her.
I guess the right thing to do would be talk to her about it all, but I'm honestly not sure what I would do in your shoes.

noble pig said...

I don't know if you'll ever feel okay about not asking her becuase you'll always wonder. However, if she is pathologic don't really expect that anything she says will be true. It's a tough call and will depend on how much you really want to pursue this friendship.

Sarah O. said...

Wow, that's a tough situation. I suspect she's got a mental illness that's causing her to lie so much. If that's the case, until she gets quality professional help, she won't really be capable of being a satisfying friend. In fact, she'll be a very, very difficult friend.

I'm the loyal type but, given the circumstances, I'd keep my distance until she gets better.

Kimmylyn said...

Confronting her on her lies may cause more lies to be told. I have a friend like this and like you I have been best friends with her since the 3rd grade. I stay around because I am loyal and I love her and her kids. But truth be told I would never let her watch my kids because that is how little I trust her.

Nicole said...

When she lied about her disease, did you feel more connected and compassionate to others who were ill?

When she lied about being abused did you realize how lucky you were and feel sorry for those who were not so lucky?

When she was there for you to help you through your concerns, did she help you solve any of the problems?

She was there for you and even if there were lies involved, you became the person who you are because of her part in your life. And this is another step in that adventure... even though it's a sad and difficult one.

I wish you the best of luck in resolving this, but just find the positive in it. You're a great person.

Amy said...

That is a tough situation. If the relationship is worth having, it is worth talking about everything.

Wendi said...

Hmmmm! This could be sticky. My thought is if you KNOW she lied then it is really going to be hard to trust her. Ever.
No relationship can be good without trust. Talk about it. Pray about it. You will know what to do.

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Karen said...

Wow. It surely shatters what you know, doesn't it? I think I'd just have to carry on like I knew nothing, but not trust her a bit. As in not tell her anything too personal about myself.

kimmie said...

You were the best of friends. I saw your friendship blossom and grow and grow and then begin to fade these past few years.

Nicole made some very good points about how you felt when you believed what she told you to be true. We all felt that way.

She is probably not at the point yet where she is ready to hear your "true confession", but then she will probably never be ready to hear.

I believe that a window will be opened for you to have that conversation, and when it does, you will say what is in your heart with the love that you have had for her for many years. She will realize what a friend you really are.

Lady P said...

Something like this blows your world apart and it doesn't recover. You become wiser and just a bit sadder. I've spent almost all of my life moving from place to place, country to country even. One of the few things that remained constant was my oldest friend; one I had made when I was about 4. I held onto her for dear life.

She started to change several years back after coming down Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Eventually she wrote me a letter saying she needed all of her energy to get better and so, our friendship was at an end. It was devestating to me.

Forward a few years and my spouse was transferred to a location not too far from that city, where I spent some of my youth. We actually went there for a vacation and while there, I contacted her mother. I wanted to talk to my friend, see how things were going and touch bases. Well, her mother called me back the next day.

My best friend for life didn't want to see me. Her old life, she told her mother, had died when she got sick. She had even changed her name and cut off her family. She had only re-established contact with her mother because her disability cheque didn't cover enough for her to buy enough food.

I cried. Here I was, almost 40 years later and I was still hurt. That was a few years ago and I have come to accept that life changes as do people and relationships. Our life is short you really want to fill it with people like this? We spend so much time on things and people and not always does it produce anything positive.

Ultimately you can decide to severe connections with this woman, talk with her about what you know and see how the relationship changes, or continue as is. Which of these options do you best see yourself as wanting six months or a year down the road?

In my case, I decided to honour her wishes. I let her go to live her life as she sees fit. It is out of my control. It hurt to lose something precious...but I had to understand it was my memory of us and not the present life or reality NOW. NOW is all we have. Another consideration; what would you advise your daughter in this situation? Are you not worth more than this from a so-called trusted friend?

Good luck.

smalltownmom said...

My first best friend and I are still friends, since we were 6. But she lives in Germany. I do know someone who lies...I see her occasionally because she is a hoot, but I don't put trust in what she says.

BookMomma said...

Yeow. That's a tough one, but I agree with noble pig - that would be my advice too. If her friendship isone you want to grow and tend to, then I would try tot talk to her about it, albeit gently. If you are okay keeping her at a distance then maybe that should be the current course of action.

Of course, I'm the girl who is confrontation-phobic. So don't listen to me!

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