It's too bad that I have standards, because that's how I've lost a few friends. Although I have myself to blame, too. I give too many people way too many chances, partially out of loneliness. But I have to honestly say I'm better off without these people in my life. I don't make friends easily, and I hang on to people for too long, because I know the process of making friends (especially good ones) is difficult, especially for me. And since I meet wacky people, the prospect of running into nutjobs increases. So, here's another installment.
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
How We Met: college
Length of relationship/friendship several years
I met this person in one of my college classes. She seemed friendly enough, and super-talkative. We hit it off and we stayed friends throughout college.
However, since I changed my major, my classmates were graduating, while I was still expecting another couple years. I became increasingly isolated, because my classmates were younger than I was, and it seemed like everyone I knew left. Then, I graduated and found my first real job out of college, and the ass-grinding schedule meant I had little social life between age 25 and 28. It was probably the first time I worked nearly two weeks in a row before I had a day off. And I was salaried, so I was working between 40-60 hours a week (depending on the season) for what amounted to $5.05 after taxes, by the time I quit.
So anyway, I'd lose contact with this person, then we'd run into each other at the store. I can't remember the last time I'd seen this person, but she showed up in my life again shortly before my mother died. On the day of my mother's funeral, we came over to my brother's house for a while, but I really didn't want to be there. So my friend and I went to the movies. She and I talked for quite a bit after that. I was unemployed, and she was unemployed, and mom left me some money, so it wasn't like I was going to starve or be homeless. We hung out, and why not?
Fast-forward to 2006. My friend, who was on disability, was planning to get a retro disability check for a few thousand dollars. For the year and a half since my mother died, my friend would hang out with me, and I ended up paying her way for everything--dinner out at mid-range restaurants, movies (with concessions) shopping trips, all without any sort of hint of payback. I enjoyed her company, and figured when she got some cash, she'd send it my way. She kept going on and on about the money she was going to get and how we'd take a trip when she got it. I wasn't holding my breath. Maybe she'd get the money, and maybe she wouldn't.
So the summer comes along, and finally, she gets her check. It was $9,600. Not bad. It was almost the end of July and hot, so she checked herself into a hotel, leaving her husband and her dog in an unairconditioned cabin in the woods. I went to visit her, and she'd blown through $800 of her money in just one day. She gave $500 of it to her son, to put towards a car, and spent $300 at Fashion Bug. We agreed to get together on the weekend to discuss where we would go (I'd quit my job by then, in another one of my fits of impatience and restlessness) on our trip. Our trip, which she'd been talking about for the last year and a half.
My friend hasn't had the most wonderful life.She was molested by an uncle and she was divorced from her first husband, her daughter didn't want anything to do wit her, and she was on her second marriage, which had survived an affair she had with a bus driver. She would talk about this guy as if she were some sort of schoolgirl: "Guess who I saw today?" I saw you know who yesterday." I always thought it was disgusting, her having an affair with this guy. She couldn't have been easy to live with. She had this saint of a husband who really cared for her, and she was sleeping around on him. I always thought looks had everything to do with whether or not one had a boyfriend or girlfriend. I have to say this is totally not true. She was probably the least feminine and one of the most unattractive women I've ever known. She had bad teeth and extremely foul breath, and so there had to have been something else. What that is, I'll never know.
The weekend came. I was out of town on Friday and again on Saturday, and I try not to call people after 9:30 p.m. I knew my friend was early to bed, early to rise, so I decided I'd call her on Sunday. I got ahold of her around 1 p.m., figuring we could do a late lunch, or an early supper, and decide where we were going to go.
She blurted out--"I couldn't wait any longer--I'm leaving tomorrow and I'm taking Nancy with me." I'd felt like I'd been punched in the gut. The last year and a half I'm paying her way for everything we do (except for groceries; she had food stamps by that time) and she keeps talking about this trip, and then she gets the money, and less than a week later, she makes plans to go with someone else. I'm furious. So furious, that I end the phone call and ring up my next door neighbor. I need to vent and there's no one I can vent to, so I ask if I can come over because I needed to talk to someone. Mercifully, she says to come on over.
And I tell her the story, and I ask her if I'm justified in being furious with her. "Absolutely," she says. It's things like this that happen, seemingly happen, over and over again that makes me wonder if I'm losing my mind. A mutual friend makes the observation that "her mind doesn't work like everyone else's." Well, I KNEW that, but does that give her the right to bait me for months and months and months and talk about this trip, and then when the money comes, make instant plans with someone else? I don't think so, but then, what do I know, right?
I think she felt guilty though. That week on my caller id, I see a phone number for a Michigan hotel. I see it over and over again. And that Christmas, I get a handwritten letter from her as well as a card. The letter explained the sudden departure on the trip she'd talked about for over a year and why she left. Why DID she leave? Well, the uncle who molested her died. Instead of feeling relief (he was in prison; it's not like he could harm the general populace anymore) she freaked out and had to leave. Never mind that he was at least a couple hours away from her, in prison. She freaked out when she heard he died and took off. With someone else.
At least I had an explanation. But I'd had enough. I'd had enough of her automatically expecting me to take her out to dinner, to buy her fresh soda.
Maybe I'm too hard on people. I saw her only one other time, at a mutual friend's party. I didn't talk to her too much. And I didn't want to initiate contact again. I feel sorry for her sometimes. But I'm kind of tired of people telling me they are going to go on trips with me, then when the time comes, they go with someone else. In the years since that little incident, her parents have died, her husband died, and her son died. I think she also tried to commit suicide. Interestingly enough, some of the people who have screwed me over have gone through some tough times.
So don't screw me over. Because karma is a bitch. And so am I.