I had begun to grow distant from her since she announced that she was engaged. The most obvious explanation would be that I was jealous. This happens to a lot of women when their friends marry. But that wasn’t it. I’m in a long term relationship in which we both feel comfortable being together without marriage. It was something else.
I’ve always found it challenging to keep friends and to enjoy true, reciprocated intimacy with another person, in friendship. It likely goes all the way back to the foundational years, where I spent much of the time in “survival mode,” and always hoping that “someone” would come to my rescue. This pattern, like most others that we, as humans, experience, remaining unresolved, came right along with me into adulthood. That’s why, when I began to really connect with Maria (not her real name, out of respect for her privacy), I was careful to monitor that I was not overbearing, so as to push her away. It took a lot to push her away.
Maria was *always* there for me. Whether she was at work, school, or even if she hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep…she would take my call, which usually led to an in-person visit. We’d often enjoy a coffee together or talk and linger over a meal.
Maria is in the counseling field, and although she is several years younger than me, I often looked up to her. She was pursuing and achieving her educational and professional goals and was out in the world helping hurting people – including me…which I subconsciously and unintentionally turned into a “problem.”
Looking back, I called on Maria whenever I was afraid. If I had an anxiety or panic attack, I called her, and she soothed me. She picked me up, built back up my confidence, and made everything ok. She was my rescuer. My friend. She was always there for me…and I tended to have one crisis after another, never really giving back to her in a way that she felt honored and loved. She is who I should have learned to be for myself. She did what someone should have done for me when I was a child. Shoulda woulda coulda.
Ultimately, I cried today at the loss of my friend. She, at this time, is not interested in investing the energy she believes it would take to give me a second chance. I’m so thankful for the time she’s been in my life. I pray that I can grow for this experience toward having a real friendship. I pray that, if it’s meant to be, Maria will let me back in her life and allow me to grow to become the friend I should have always been for her.
I hope that I can truly learn how to BE a friend.