The quote is all Dana White, the red arrow and underline added by me. It resonates, because it took me far too long to learn this.
About four years ago, something wonderful happened for me in my publishing career. It doesn’t matter what it was in the context of this post, what matters is that I worked so long and so hard for it, had experienced so much disappointment before it, but had persevered, no matter how many times I’d felt like giving up. So when this wonderful thing happened, I was both elated and a bundle of anxiety all at once. It meant so much, yet at the same time, it felt like I was experiencing a success that actually only happened to other people, not to me.
Can you relate?
When you’re in that vulnerable state of heightened sensitivity, the people you’ve surrounded yourself with matter even more to your spiritual and psychological well-being.
I have a number of Grade A friends these days, but for now, I’ll talk about only three. One is a newer, more peripheral friend–someone I admire, someone with whom I feel a kinship, but also someone I rarely see. The other two I’ve known for ages. The oldest friend of the two old friends is someone who has been in my life for so long, that—I’ll confess here–I kind of took it for granted she was there. Not that I didn’t love her, just that I was used to her, like…say…a comfortable, long-term spouse. Yeah, well that’s changed. I value her now more than ever, and will never again forget to take a moment to appreciate her.
The other old friend was someone who I was sure was my “best” friend–the one who ‘got’ me, the one with whom I shared the most interests, the most stimulating conversations, and the most laughs. Gosh, how I enjoyed her company.
I should also put in that the new-ish friend lives within driving distance, while the two old friends are plane rides away, which is what happens when you traipse all over creation as I have. So let’s fast forward to their three reactions to my wonderful thing.
The girl I took for granted? Hopped on a plane to celebrate this wonderful thing with me. She was thrilled about it–as though it had happened to HER, personally.
The newer friend was at her daughter’s wedding on the same day this good thing for me was taking place. She couldn’t be there, but honestly, it wasn’t even a disappointment. Not because I don’t like her, but because, as I said, we rarely see each other. It’s just the way our two lives are structured. However:
She texted me. Three separate times. During her daughter’s wedding:
“I wish I could be in two places at one time today.”
“I am so proud of you.”
“How did it go? I bet you looked great.”
Imagine that? She valued me enough to take the time out of a damn big day of her own to text me.
And the third, the one I thought was as much into my life happiness as I was into hers? Let’s call her “L.” It’s not even close in the alphabet to the letter her name starts with, but she needs a distinction, because it will come up later in this tale.
Crickets. Not a word of congratulations from “L”, and when we Facetimed, and I brought it up, still oblivious to the implications of her silence, she grimaced, and changed the subject.
I’ll repeat that: She grimaced–a grimace of pure disgust, actually–and changed the subject.
It was like a bucket of ice water was thrown in my face. And as that cold hit, it also hit me how many times before she’d shown her envy of not only me, but other women friends.
I’m going to tell you that it took me months, to process this. And that was actually an improvement for me, because I’d had another “best” friend, decades earlier, who’d dumped me as soon as I got out of my abusive marriage. Getting over the hurt of THAT friendship took years, and was worse on my psyche than the abusive spouse, believe it or not.
Some will say, “Well, did you TALK to “L” about it? Maybe she had something on her mind. Maybe she was going through something. Maybe you should give her a chance.”
And the thing about that is, those were all the thoughts that had run through my head when the first “best” friend demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, that she did not have my best interests at heart. They still ran through my head with L, when the day of my wonderful thing had past, and she did not contact me, not once.
So, let’s cut the fat off this: One ‘best’ friend liked our ‘friendship’ better when I was distraught over my terrible marriage. Twenty years or more later, my next ‘best’ friend was disgusted because a long-held dream for me had come true.
Yeah. Husbands and friends. I sure knew how to pick ’em back in the day, didn’t I?
By the way, this doesn’t just happen to women. A few months ago, I had a conversation with an artist who’d recently created something extraordinary. His work is sublime. But he wasn’t happy about it. He was sad–really sad–because someone he viewed as a ‘mentor and friend’ had trashed it. And guess what? He actually BELIEVED that person. Our entire conversation was about the doubts that had seeped in, like a slow-working poison. Nothing I said was an antidote.
He’d been successfully L’d by someone he’d been inspired by, someone he trusted and loved. And now, instead of feeling joy over his wonderful thing that his hard work and talent had brought into existence for all of us to experience, he felt sick to his stomach over it.
I’ve begun to see that too many of us who weren’t born into too much privilege, exhibiting an entitlement mentality as a result, or who simply are not narcissists, ACCEPT people into our lives, our homes, our spirits, who’s fondest wish is that we stay DOWNTRODDEN. And I’m trying to figure out how and why so many of us, to a greater or lesser degree, were conditioned to tolerate this.
I walked away from my particular “L” with no drama, no accusations, and no regrets. And you know what? I’ll bet that some reading this are thinking, “Wow. What a bitch.”
And I say to those people, “Maybe.” But don’t let yourself be L’d.