Today, I want to share the story of two girls. One is Farrah* a life-long friend of mine. Her heart is generous. She’s sweet. Special in all the ways you want a friend to be. Thoughtful. Funny. Lighthearted. She lets you be yourself.
The other is Harriet*. I don’t know Harriet all *too* well but she is polished, older, very well put together. Polite. Calculated. Seems very kind and concerned. (Operative word: Seems.)
Farrah and Harriet became fast friends. They traveled together. They spent many afternoon teas together. They shopped together. They attended seminars together. They were interwoven in one another’s lives the way good friends are. Sure, they didn’t share history, but they certainly shared the present…and as one would hope, a future.
Harriet sorta kinda disappeared. Not entirely. But the way your insides sense someone has. One day, she wrote an email to Farrah sharing the wondrous news of her engagement. Hallelujah. Happy, happy, joy, joy…Harriet, in her late 30’s, had scored the one thing she always wished for: a diamond solitaire on her finger.
Farrah, never having been aware of Harriet having a boyfriend, much less a fiancé, responded, as any good friend would do, congratulating her, genuinely, wholeheartedly, but with slight reservation.
Days passed, weeks passed, months passed. Farrah and Harriet re-connected here and there. But something was off. Farrah was pained by the distance and superficial avoidance. Farrah reached out to her good friend (the Leegal Deeva) who put her resources to the test and in two minutes flat gave the news to Farrah of a) wedding date; b) groom-name; c) groom’s occupation; d) where the happy couple would be living…and e) [AS A BONUS] what China pattern Harriet had registered for.
Needless to say, Farrah was disappointed, disenchanted, sad. Less than six weeks to a wedding and Farrah had not received any invitations…not to a bridal shower, a bachelorette, and certainly not a wedding.
Sadness ensued. Insult. Pain. Confrontations came. Harriet’s reasoning for the distance and strain were as follows: “It took you too long to respond to my engagement announcement email”…”I texted you over the summer to wish you a safe trip, you didn’t write back.” Bee. Ess.
Leegal Deeva dug and dug…discovering that Harriet’s beau had dated a friend of Farrah’s…long, long ago. No biggie. But Harriet had pushed Farrah, pushed away the friend (Facebook deletion was involved)…yet, no true explanations were given. Nothing believable anyway.
And there you have it. Leegal Deeva wonders…is this how women are? Is this the type of insecurity that seeps deep through our souls that causes us to write off, ignore, push away, and toss good friends who’ve been there for you in your search, who’ve suffered through the yearnings, the romantic pursuits? Is this how women are? Is this what we do? Do we toss competition to the curb? Really?
I’m certainly not immune to irrational behavior. At the ripe, old age of 21, I refused to become too closely connected to an innocent, amazing, woman who simply, physically, reminded me of a girl that had dated a guy that I’d liked. Crazy. I know. But, I was 21. Within a few months, I gave in to that amazing girl who ended up being a good friend for many years! Reminders were forgotten, ignored, whatever. Truly. As for Harriet, at 38? Certainly she could have acted more maturely. Or at least, more reasonably.
Let’s be fair, though. Harriet has tried. Exhibit A: a Christmas card was sent to Farrah…signed solely by Harriet, with a return address indicating it came from Harriet’s parents’ home (not Harriet’s marital home). And later, EXHIBIT B: an email forward and a brief note stating that she remembered Farrah and missed her. Six months post-wedding. SIX MONTHS.
In examining this odd behavior, the awkward note, the reaching out…Leegal Deeva can’t help but think that all the much ado about a wedding has died down. Newlywed life has lost its novelties. Romance has dwindled and Harriet is reaching out to good, old, solid, loving, kind-hearted Farrah…
Why? Have you no shame, Harriet?
We get it. We get that friends grow apart. People move away. Reasons turn into inconveniences. But none of that had happened here. The drift was attributable to insecurity, a deficit in confidence, a crack in self-esteem, fear…irrational fear(s).
And what does one do to combat this break? Do you forgive (obviously never forgetting)? Do you try? Do you respond? Do you engage, kindly? Do you put your heart out on the line, knowing quite well, that it could get crushed (in that delicate way only friends can crush it…by dropping it, like you do a hot dish, coming out of the oven…and see the mess as being too much to clean up…and the meal impossible to salvage)?
What does one do? Having seen Farrah struggle with whether to embrace Harriet once again, to trust her, to care…I hurt. I say, “Don’t give explanations. Don’t dig too deep. Be courteous and kind. But don’t let you guard down.”
Is that a way to live? Among friends? Do you lift that friend out of your friendship circle and place her deliberately in your box of acquaintances?
And why? Why are women so weak and insecure? Why do we fleet and float with the tide of men coming in and out of our lives? Are we that fragile? Is our confidence that weak?
It’s tough being a girl, sometimes. It’s even harder being a girl-friend. And needless to say…good girlfriends are hard to come by.
*Names were changed to protect the identity of those involved.