As a SAHM, I spend a lot of time and energy helping my children to cultivate friendships, but equally important is the need for me to cultivate my own. At the risk of waxing whiny, I will share that it’s not always easy to make true "mom friends" with whom all of the wonderful, scary, funny, sad, and very real moments that are part of life can be shared. It’s especially satisfying to have a friend with whom your kids and theirs get along wonderfully and you enjoy as her own individual person child-free. I truly value friends I can gab with on the playground while the kids scramble around as well as over a margarita in a rare, shared moment on the town while the kids are home in bed with Daddy puttering in the garage. I have many wonderful women with whom I share stories, activities, and laughter, but true personal connections are tough to find. I am fortunate to have a few women in my life I share a real connection with, but most of these women are located a phone call away. It’s impossible to grab a quick cup of coffee or a late-night cocktail when a personal jet would be required.
I made a really good friend (I thought) in my area. I will call her Mia. I met Mia through a moms group I am in and we hit it off immediately. Loved her, loved her kids. My kids loved her kids. Our birthdays were only a week apart…that’s how in sync we seemed. All was great. How lucky I was to have found such a good friend. We hung out quite a bit and e-mailed sporadically. Then, suddenly, one day, nothing. No responses to my e-mails. She left the moms group. Worried, I sent her an e-mail about my screwed up life at the time (both because I was worried that I wasn’t "being there" for her and because I wanted her to know what was going on with me). Still nothing. Odd, because now she knew how things were for me, and still no response or even a show of concern. I finally sent her a point-blank e-mail letting her know I was worried about her. Still nothing! I knew her to be really good friends with another woman in our group I’ll call Karen. Karen was really vague and said that she and Mia had had a falling out. I went back to Karen again and told her how weird this was, how worried I was, and asked if she knew anything. After I had spoken with Karen several times expressing my concern and distress, she decided to share her e-mail correspondence with Mia so I would know what had happened. Karen did not do this out of spite. She did not initially want to share anything about it because she hoped Mia would just contact me again and all would be well for us. After it became clear that wasn’t to be and Karen knew I was really bewildered, she shared the correspondence. I was especially fortunate that she chose to do so because she did not consider her e-mails to be the best example of her behavior either.
What I pieced together was disappointing. Mia and I had both been guests at a gathering at Karen’s home. Evidently, some of the guests at the gathering mentioned something to Karen about negative comments Mia had made (about Karen). Mia and Karen had an ugly e-mail exchange for a while, and then parted ways. It became obvious (to me if not immediately to Karen since no names were used) toward the end of the exchange that Mia thought I had said something to Karen or somehow talked about her (Mia) at this gathering with these women. So Mia just completely blew me off. I was so sad, as Mia was someone who had appeared to be such a good friend. Karen told me that she initially thought that Mia might have assumed one of the women who went to Karen with this information was me, but she was hoping not. Karen, of course, knew that I was completely uninvolved and figured that certainly Mia would ask me about it if she had any questions since it was clear from the Mia/Karen exchange that Mia claimed to value this sort of thing in her relationships. Honestly, I had had a good time that night at the gathering and was completely oblivious to any drama at all. Karen was really surprised that Mia dropped me (she steadfastly maintains that Mia considered us good friends) but not as surprised as I was.
At the time this occurred, the knowledge that I should not want to seek friendship with a person who would behave in this manner didn’t make the situation any easier. My feelings were hurt. I considered another e-mail to Mia, but what would it have said? Would it have been an "it wasn’t me and I was totally clueless" e-mail, or a "f you for treating me like dirt when I was supposed to be your friend" e-mail? Was it worth it to attempt to salvage this friendship and, if so, what exactly would I be saving? I eventually concluded that she thought far less of me than I initially did of her. Now that some time has passed, I can clearly see that, like other types of relationships, it’s better to be happy, healthy, and alone than get swept up in the drama of someone else’s dysfunction. Sometimes I miss her and her children, but in the end, I decided to leave it alone and try to deal well with all of the other things in my life...things I know I can have a positive impact on right now. Things I know will have a more positive impact on me.