Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dinner with a "Friend"

So, tonight my crew (minus Lori who is basking in the sunshine... if there is any... in Florida) and I are going to dinner with an old friend. Its a bit of a sticky wicket (as the geezer on Dancing with the Stars would say) so I thought I would throw it out to the masses and ask their opinions.

My friend, we'll call her Ardnas (names are changed to protect the innocent), used to be one of my best friends. I met her when I moved to Indiana, but our friendship didn't prosper right away. She was a little older than me in years, and a lot older than me in maturity, and we didn't click right away. We were civil, but not close. Homa was our mutual friend though, so we bonded eventually and eventually-er she was even in my wedding. We threw her bridal shower, her bachelorette party, her baby shower, and were anxiously waiting at the hospital when her baby boy was born. He's about six months older than mine. Then, we drifted... and by drifted I mean that she eventually stopped talking to me altogether. Silence. Cut off. Shut down.

Make no mistake, that was a rough period for both of us. We both were having our first kids, and nothing, and I mean nothing, throws life out of whack more than your first crack at parenthood. Plus, as I mentioned above... we are pretty different. I never really knew the reasons why she decided that our friendship was over. There was no discussion... just radio silence. But, it seemed that we just went two different directions (which is interesting, because she was the friend that my path in life was closest to... married a few months later, kids a few months younger, but essentially, the same path). But, we drifted. I know that she made the "cut off" decision because she felt it was best for her, and I honestly harbor no ill will about it. I missed my friend, but I was never angry.

Two years later, we semi-reconnected. Her husband's mom died, a lady that I met on many occasions, and I sent a sympathy card. She emailed back a "thank you" for the card, and I wrote her back. I wasn't going to put myself out there to be cut off again, and it took about a month to do so, but I did. Then, our group (a foursome that used to meet out on a regular basis) met out for dinner. It was awkward and no one was as open as we used to be... but it seemed like a start. A few weeks later, she and her family came to my house for dinner, and it was awkwarder. Our parenting styles were too different. I felt judged by what I let my kids do, and I felt fake fearing that any comment would come across as me judging her. I hate feeling fake. Then... radio silence again. Nothing. For six months. But to be fair... the silent treatment was on both sides. I didn't call her either.

Suddenly, Ardnas sends an email to the fab four asking for a dinner tonight. At the time, I was uneasy. What do we have to talk about? Why catch up with someone who misses huge chunks of my life? But, Homa said that if we just view Ardnas as an acquaintance now, why wouldn't we go? Which is true. I truly wish her no ill will, and could easily chat if I saw her out or at a mutual friend's house. So, we agreed to go. But, to make a short story as long as humanly possible... now I am not too sure. I am nervous that the feelings that made her bail in the first place will come back. We seem like a much better idea in theory than in practice. And, I am afraid that my fear of saying something that will cross the line will keep me from saying anything real. And, what is the point of being with me if I can't be real.

I am so nervous about dinner. I don't know what to wear. I don't know what to talk about. I feel like its a first date, but I already know the relationship isn't going to work out. We walk on eggshells trying not to offend each other, and that isn't real communication. When she asks what's new, what am I going to say? In the last six months... a lot. I don't want to get into Jack's medical stuff, because she won't be there to comfort me if his EEG on Thursday turns something up. And, I don't want to talk about stresses raising Tabbi, because I don't want to be judged as lacking as a parent (I reserve that for my readers). I feel like I am going to recite the "Christmas letter" version of my life... which is a brief summary of events and milestones in the best light possible to display my perfect life. YEAH RIGHT! I don't do Christmas letters and I don't have a perfect life. So, does it make sense to spend two hours tonight pretending like I do? Time out, sans children, is a rare commodity in my life. Is Fakety Fakerton the person I want to be when I get that time? And, I don't even mean that just for me. Is it worth it to her? If I am fake and don't want to risk offending her, is it worth her time, as well? Are past memories enough to keep the spark alive, or is it time to let the fire die?


courtney said...

So, I began reading your blog probably about a month ago, so in the interest of no longer being a "stalker" here goes: this does sound like a complicated situation, and i get that it sucks to have to spend your small amount of adult time with someone who you have an awkward relationship with, BUT you wont be only with her you will be with an actual friend, so maybe it wont be all bad. besides isn't it a little late to back out now?

ps LOVE your blog!

Busy Bee Suz said...

At first I was going to say "call in sick" avoid the uncomfortable. Which you can still do, and I would not judge you for this (really, do you care if I judge?)
But if Homa is going to be with you...then perhaps you should be there with her??? Support her...a united team?
Apparently, you did/said something in the past that offended Sandra. I mean Ardnas. (I remembered your trick Nnyl) I think she will never reveal what you did to offend her...so she will be quiet and judgemental. You should never have to spend time with someone that you don't enjoy...or that you feel will criticize your every word.
Ok. So I am no help whatsoever.
Maybe someone else can give you a definitive answer. What does the husband say?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Ardnas wants to connect with your crew but remain independent at the same time. Perhaps she lacks the skills or the confidence in herself to be included. Since you asked, I suggest you try to forget the past friendship failures, forget about trying to portray your "perfect" life, and just be yourself. Wear what you would normally wear if she wasn't going to be there. And talk about the things you normally would talk about if she was missing. Don't focus all your attention on her but don't ignore her either. Just be yourself. If your dinner-with-the-crew personality is anything like the person the rest of us see when we read your blogs then Ardnas will get the chance to see the real you...she may or may not want to renew the friendship but at least she'll have the true picture of the "Goddess in Training" to make that decision. ps: doesn't she read your blog?

Jounice said...

Life is too short to do something you are not comfortable with or want to do. So I say if "Ardnas" (good alias...) is the one who asked for the dinner out than she should accept who you are now in your life and get over it. If you don't think she can or will...I say spend your adult time doing something you like to do.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Well, I'd go and just be myself, and not give a rat's ass if Ardnas has a problem with it. Sorry if I seem nasty and rude, but I don't have time for people like that...Just my 2 cents!! :o)

Momo-Mama said...

I've encountered several of these events in the past year or so and I have found that it always come down to some sort of miscommunication...

I love what J.D. said about going and being yourself, becasue in the end that is all that really matters...you are you whether or not others approve and maybe, just maybe she is feeling exacty the same way? It might be worth trying to have a very clear and open discussion with her so all the "bad water" can be thrown out. Then you can decide where to go from there.

the mama bird diaries said...

Be yourself and order lots of cocktails for everyone. And if the night sucks, send some radio silence her way. No need to waste your time.

BOSSY said...

Ack, what do you have to lose? Of course Bossy will go to any lengths to eat in a place that is NOT her own house.

Anonymous said...

Wow- lots of great comments and opinions on this. So are you glad you went?
Laura the Famous

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Courtney - Thanks for reading and posting. Love your comment!!! You are 100% correct about sucking it up and going. I am glad I did.

Suz - Ms. Smarty Pants with the decoder ring! You are right... I did do something to cause to the break up... even if I don't know what it was. And for the record, the husband is never good in these situations. If he was, I wouldn't have to blog!

J.D. - The voice of wisdom! Thanks. You were exactly right. And no... amazingly, she doesn't read my blog. What does that say about me as a blogger, if I can't even get my friends to read it!

Jounice - Good point.

Mary - You were right. I gotta be me! Is that Ethel Merman?

Momo-Mama - You and J.D. are geniuses.

Mama bird - Stupid pain pills! Can't have a cocktail. Maybe we should have rescheduled for a night when I was off the drugs.

BOSSY - That is exactly the reason I went. Why eat ham in a crockpot when I can have Bravo!

Laura - You know what... I am. How about you?

Anonymous said...

From Sandra:

No Excuses Just Some Possible Reason

It took me 34 years to meet the man of my dreams and have the children I never thought I would have. Unfortunately, in my zeal to create the perfect life for that family I've become an archaic woman that hates the phone, goes to bed at 10 for work the next day, is a complete committment phobe because I hate cancelling, I have a total fear of judgement from everyone from church, to parents, to the grocery store. In fact, I hadn't even turned on a computer to access a blog until today (when I came to my sis's to turn one on to check the blog).

The cost of seeking this perfection has been loss of individuality at times, total chaos in my home because there is no chance of perfection with 2 kids under 3 (not including the husband), a double dose of lexipro each night, and maybe most importantly . . . nostalgia for the carefree, easy friendships that once were.

I'm glad you didn't call in sick and I'm thrilled that you are glad you went, too. Since I've already admitted to being a committment phobe I won't make any promises for a "committee call" tonight - wink! wink! but I would love to take it one day at a time.

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Sandra - I knew you had good reasons. But, more importantly, I am glad that we are reconnecting and I hope that it continues.