Feeling slighted and unmoored in a friendship and looking for ways to connect.
This is a repost blog.
Original posts by Letter Writer #791 at Captain Awkward. Only the letter writer’s content is reproduced here; to read Captain Awkward’s advice, click through to original links.
Hi Captain Awkward,
You are a great resource, and I’ve referred a lot of friends to your blog.
My problem is something I think I should totally not be having, but I am. I have a friend who I’ve known for years who will be getting married soon. Suzanne and I used to live together, and were quite close when I lived in a different city. Since I moved away a few years ago, we’ve still been in touch, but have been in less touch the past couple of years. Because of our past friendship, and how much I value her, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding when I got married a year ago.
Suzanne is now getting married. She’s asked a few people to be a bridesmaid, but when I flew in to attend some pre-wedding festivities a few weeks ago, I realized that she wouldn’t be asking me. I’m not planning to talk to Suzanne about this. I know that it’s OK for people to choose whoever they want to be in their bridal party. But it still really hurts. I find myself comparing myself against some of the other people she’s asked. I also find myself questioning our friendship, and feeling like I may have misinterpreted how close we are, or have been in the past. I also then start to go down the road of thinking of other people with whom I’d like to be closer, but who don’t seem to return the feelings of strong friendship.
The logical part of me realizes that people move on, and recognizes that it’s natural that we’ve grown apart, since I’ve lived a way for a few years, and we now no longer talk on the phone regularly. The illogical part of me is upset and hurt that she didn’t pick me, and wonders if I should just let this friendship die completely.
Do you have any advice for moving on, and being mature about this? I’d like to reach out after the wedding to rekindle our phone call check-ins, but I don’t want to impose if she really has moved on.
5 January 2017: UPDATE on an Open Thread
Hiya! I’m LW #791: “Feeling slighted and unmoored in a friendship and looking for ways to connect.”
I attended the wedding I wrote about. I felt awkward at times because I wasn’t a bridesmaid (like one point when a bridesmaid told me she had thought I’d be one, and another where I saw the bridal party getting on a shuttle from our hotel when I was slinking away to get an uber), but I enjoyed seeing friends and introducing my husband to the city where I used to live.
I think the Cap hit the nail in the head– my letter was very much about general loneliness and a hungry feeling. 2016 was a hell of a year personally (miscarriage, family deaths, election, etc), but friendship-wise it was actually good. I started letting go of friends who don’t reciprocate the level of friendship I put in (due to distance, time, interest, general flakiness, whatever), and that was very freeing. I did nice friend-things like attend baby showers for them, but didn’t become deflated when the “oh we should really hang out” messages didn’t translate to actual hangouts.
I also started mentally giving more space to friends who were originally, bluntly, second tier– they weren’t the friends I had imagined myself as always being close with, but when I took a step back, I realized they’re really great people who have stuck by me and have made efforts to reach out or keep up the friendship. Hubby and I did a 10 hour drive to see one friend who I hadn’t seen in a few years and helped her and her hubby wrangle a large cow– a really fun roadtrip, with good memories. I also have made a point to get lunch every month or so with another friend who lives about an hour away. And I’ve also spent lots of time with a local friend and her young kids, have taken them meals, and gone on semi-regular lunchtime walks. And another friend asked if I wanted to start a knitting circle with her. The knitting itself was short lived, but she’s become a really positive person in my life.
So, the Cap’s advice was apt. My “ideal” friendships have mostly faded with time, and I’m left with a group of really awesome actual friends who are on team me. It was key to realize it was time to let go of the idea of people, and start appreciating and focusing on spending time with people who actually show interest. I was hungry, but I put out good things, and feel more fed now.
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