Is your friendship treated like a switch
– where it can be flicked on and off?
In the last week, I have realised that you won’t know someone until they hear the truth about themselves and what they do with that information. I had a friend of around 15 years and she has finally shown me how much she values our friendships. How she dealt with it was completely uncalled for but it looks like there is no turning back for her.
Due to my respect for that 15 years of friendship, I will not use her real name in this post, but refer to her as Tracey. Tracey is also the mother of my Godson, whom I love dearly. I will also not use his real name, but refer to him as Alan. If you know me, you would know whom I am referring to. She would be in my Facebook posts/photos, etc. At this stage, I also only have one Godson. So anyway, for those who do not know me and my relationships, here is what happened.
One day last week, my bestie was over having dinner with me and we called her when we were walking Cody, our Pomsky. Luke and I were talking about a bucks weekend and wanted her opinion. Yes, Cameron and I are getting married this December and we are really excited about it! Anyway, Tracey couldn’t be reached and so she called me back the next morning.
When she called, I asked her about this bucks night and what she thinks about it and if she can travel without her 4.5 year old son (my Godson). She immediately said no. I clarified that it would not be a week but more like a few days over a weekend before the wedding. She said that she had to see what her husband’s travel plans are and then she will know, so she said for us to book first and then she will book it herself when she knows if she can go. She wanted to make sure her husband is around to look after her kid while she is away. So I said “Sure! Let’s do that!”
I then remembered that I asked her to call Cameron regarding her payment for this little getaway we were having in 3 weeks.
We were supposed to go to Lake Crackenback this month and she has been asking me about paying for our part of the 3-bedroom place she chose. We were meant to pay for one room and she will take two rooms. She did mention it about 2 weeks back and I have asked Cameron to pay for it but he delayed and even when he got to transfer money to her, he keyed in the incorrect number which naturally did not go anywhere. I don’t like owing people money. It doesn’t give me a good feeling when I owe people money, but Cameron is not like me. As a businessman, their mentality is to keep money in their pockets for as long as they can – I understand that, but I just don’t like to owe people, especially money.
After asking her if she has called Cameron, she said yes she called the day before and then decided to throw in a joke:
“…why, you guys don’t talk when you are together? *laughs*”.
I noticed that she was joking about it so I decided to throw a joke back at her. I responded with:
“Oh no, we talk! We just don’t talk about unimportant things! *laughs back*”.
That was when she decided to read into it and started demanding why I treated it like a joke. I told her I was only joking back when she joked about Cameron and I not talking when we are together. I highlighted that she started it first and if she didn’t want to get a joke in return, she shouldn’t have started it.
As she kept saying how she felt that I am not taking the getaway seriously, she got more and more angry and agitated. The escalation of anger was so quick that I was literally bowled over by her ferocious accusations! I then realised that because she doesn’t know how many times I have been asking and nagging Cameron to transfer money to her, and that each time she asks me I would tell her tomorrow (because Cameron tells me that), she thought that I didn’t care about it. Anyway, she got carried away by her own thoughts that she decided that we shouldn’t go to Lake Crackenback ‘with them’.
“I am going to refund the money back to you guys because I don’t want you to come to Lake Crackenback anymore!”
In the heat of the moment, I just said “fine.”, as I did not feel comfortable with the yelling she had been doing so far. She immediately hung up after my response. I took a few minutes to think about it and figured that I should call her to calm her down and have a chat about what just happened. We have never had a heated argument before, mostly because I always knew how sensitive she is about everything and anything she doesn’t like, she will get all upset. Anyway, so I called her, she was busy so I told her to call me back, which she did, and this was how the conversation went, which you will see how it got better and then took a vertical nosedive:
Me: Hi, I want to have a chat about what just happened. I don’t know how it became so bad and I feel that we need to talk about it. I want to be upfront with you that at this stage, I don’t care about Lake Crackenback, I care about our friendship. It is more important to me. You know I value you guys and so it doesn’t matter if we go or not, as long as I know our relationship is fine.
T: I am hurt because you don’t care about it and treated it like a joke!
Me: Firstly, you started joking first when you said ‘why, you guys don’t talk when you are together?’. I thought since you start joking so I responded with another joke! …but that is not the point now. I thought about it and may have to explain what goes on between Cameron and I in regard to your payment. I have told him so many timers and have been bugging him to pay but I can’t make him do things, right? Then he transferred the money to the wrong account, which is completely out of my control as I am not there to move his fingers around the keyboard to get the right numbers. You think I don’t care, but i do! I also want you to get your money! So after explaining that, you might get a better idea. And my comment was a joke because I heard you threw a joke, so I did one back at you! Didn’t think you would take it so personally. (thinks: Do I have to explain to you how I manage my relationship with Cam now?)
T: You should have told me that.
Me: I don’t discuss or tell people how I manage Cameron and my relationship. But in this case, I have told you and if I have given you the impression that I didn’t care, I apologise. (thinks: Better to just apologise to her as she is suddenly so sensitive.)
Me: Now I felt that it was very childish of you to decide on refunding the money to us and not allowing us to go to Lake Crackenback. That was not very nice, it is pretty childish. (thinks: We are not in high school, woman!)
T: Okay, I am sorry about what I said.
Me: Okay. So, are we (Cam and I) still going to lake Crackenback?
T: Up to you. Do you still want to go?
Me: Erm, we were meant to go, and then you say you want to refund because you don’t want us to go. I have already told you that Lake Crackenback is not important to me. What is more important is our friendship. That is more important than a trip. So what is it, do you want us to go or not? (thinks: So now we have to ask for her permission to go? WTF?!)
T: You want to go or not? Do you want to go?
Me: Fine. We will still go, as long as we can talk about this when we meet and hug it out.
T: Sure. *pauses for a couple of seconds* While I’ve got you on the phone, I have something to trash out with you.
Me: Huh? okay, sure, what is it?
T: On the last day of our visit to your place, I came upstairs and you told me that Alan (her son) did not say “good morning” to you. What was that about??!
Me: Oh, I remember that day very clearly. Yes, Alan did not wish us “good morning”. He came upstairs and walked straight past us. (thinks: WTF?! That was like a few months ago! We met her a couple of times between then and now, and she wants to talk about this NOW?!?!)
T: Why did you tell me for? Did you tell him?
Me: Yes, I did. I asked him why he didn’t say good morning to Cam and me. I even said it when [her husband] is there, but he didn’t do anything.
T: I found that rude that you expected a 4-year-old kid to say good morning.
Me: Of course! He is 4! He should be able to say ‘good morning’ to people! He should have manners rather than just walking past people and not saying anything. (thinks: He is also in our house and have stayed a few days, plus we made sure that everything is comfortable for them and just simple manners can’t be too difficult to teach!)
T: Come on, he is 4! I can’t believe you are expecting him to have good manners!
Me: Erm, yes. He can talk, so he should have been taught to wish people and be polite! (thinks: Did you just give me a lame excuse or what?!)
T: So you think Alan is rude? FINE! So why not you tell me what else you think of Alan? Come on, trash it out! Just TRASH IT OUT!
Me: Huh? Trash it out? Okay. Fine. Since you want to know what I think… I think that Alan demands a lot of attention and I see you guys constantly helicoptering around him because he demands attention all the time. I don’t see both of you and [her husband] being together and enjoying each other as both of you are constantly helicoptering around Alan. (thinks: well, she wanted to know…)
T: Wow, coming from someone who is not a parent.
Me: Really, you’re going there, are you? (thinks: so that makes you superior or is that an excuse for your child can’t learn simple manners because you are a parent?)
T: This is the way we chose to parent!
Me: I didn’t say anything about the way you parent. You asked for my opinion, asked me to ‘trash it out’ with you, so I told you, if not I wouldn’t say anything. You brought it up anyway. I wouldn’t have. You wanted to know, so I told you. I have come to a stage where I don’t sugarcoat things anymore. I tell it the way it is. (thinks: We have caught up a couple of time between that incident and today, so why bother bringing it up? Plus, we have forgotten about it already!)
T: You say that Alan demands attention, how about you? You make jokes to get attention!
Me: Huh? I don’t make jokes to get attention. (thinks to myself: how does one do that? Have you always thought I joke for attention, all these 15 years?)
T: So now you don’t like Alan anymore, is it? I know that Cam also doesn’t like Alan!
Me: Really?!?! (thinks: where did she get that idea from? She didn’t even justify!)
T: *inaudible raised voice* (then hangs up the phone on me)
(2 minutes later she calls back. Literally 2 minutes!)
T: I am very hurt that you said those things to me. How can you judge me like you have?! You have hurt me! I have decided that I want to take a break from you. I am going to refund you the money for Lake Crackenback so you don’t come. I don’t want you there at Lake Crackenback.
Me: Huh? Don’t you want to talk about this before making a decision like that?
T: No. I have already decided. If our friendship gets better in future so be it, but for now, I don’t want you in my life.
(hangs up the phone on me again)
After the phone call, Tracey immediately ‘unfriended’ us on Facebook, and unfollowed all our Instagram accounts. I couldn’t believe that someone would treat a longstanding friendship like this. It all depends on her if she wants you there or not, also depends on her if she wants to be friends with you or not.
All I can say is that I am not living my life to waste time with people who treat friends like tissue paper – use and throw. I have learned from my life experience that friendships are hard work. I understand that true friends will tell me the truth and I have to look at it objectively, and not think of it as being personally attacked. I rely on friends to tell me the truth, so we can learn from it and grow from it. Tracey really thinks that she is doing a wonderful job and everyone has to tell her that she is a marvelous mother?! No parent is perfect, I understand that, but at least recognise the flaws and not be so sensitive about it. I have never said anything about her parenting styles. It could have been implied, but that is how the receiver reads it and comprehends it.
I did value the friendship and even said to her so many times that our relationship/friendship is more important than any trip, she couldn’t listen. She was so fixated on what’s not as important – the manners of her child and her self-doubt as a good parent.
I am happy to not have anything to do with someone like that who:
- is far too sensitive for her own good,
- treats friendships like disposable wipes,
- treats friendships like an on-off switch,
- decides when her friends can or can’t go for an activity,
- can’t and won’t understand that children need to learn manners as soon as they can speak (but what do I know, I am not a parent, right?),
- speaks ill about my partner, and
- says that I desire attention and use jokes to get it.
I am not having any of it. My friendship is not disposable. I am happy to sacrifice the 15 years and move ahead with those who are more worthy of my attention, words and affection.