The Wine Diaries-When Friends Are Living Ghosts

the wine diariesThey haven’t died. They still walk this planet maybe even in the same small town as you but you never see them. They have long since departed from your life. You’re simply two people who share memories but you’re not making any new ones together.  You don’t know why. You wrack your brain in wondering why these friends have run out of time for you.  You recall the things you’ve done for them; helping them move, fixing things at their house, babysitting their kids, hosting a party just for them.  You recall good times.  You try to figure out if you’ve offended them in some way.  Did you make an offhand remark they didn’t like?  There’s no point in trying to figure this out.  Some people are just bad friends.  They belong in the friendship graveyard.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy sampling of good friends who do ‘get it’.  They’re fun, they make the effort.  And that is how I know a bad friend from a good one.  That’s a different post.  That’s a post for praising and appreciating the true friends I’m lucky enough to have.  Here, though I’m writing about the bad ones.  I realize that nobody is perfect.  I realize that I have made mistakes, too.  But, geez…come on people. Let’s pull up our boot straps and start thinking beyond our own noses…

Does this sound familiar?  You call, you arrange, you travel distances, you send emails and texts but to no avail this friend is rarely available… until they need something, then they call to see if you can come over to look at their leaky toilet or if you can please attend their child’s fundraiser.   If you can indulge me for a moment, I will share some real life stories of ‘bad friends’…

They need help…

A friend called me to ask advice about her divorce.  We arranged to meet for a coffee to discuss her issues.  I was happy to help as I am passionate about the subject.  The funny thing is I never heard from her again.  The next time I saw her at a family function, she was obviously avoiding me.  She has since divorced and has a new man in her life, so I hear.  I would congratulate her if she ever showed any interest in speaking to me.

Ugh, Weddings…

What is it with weddings?  Often they cause more rifts in families and friends than a divorce.  I had a friend invite me to her lake cabin for a bridal stagette.  The young bride was a friend of a friend’s daughter, once removed.  Okay, I added the once removed part.  The point being that although the lovely bride was a mutual acquaintance of mine, I wasn’t so close to her as to be invited to the wedding.  The women hosting the event on the other hand, were close friends of mine.  The catch with this invitation was that I would have to make the hour and a half drive there and then drive back after the party.  I was surprised by this as all my women friends were staying the night except for me.  Previously, when we had a get together out there it was understood, we always stayed the night.  No one should drink and drive.  But for some reason I would be expected to attend this stagette, stay sober and drive back home.  I realized that it just wasn’t feasible to make the trip but I wasn’t prepared for the backlash this decision would have.  My friend who was hosting the party was ‘very hurt’ that I had chosen not to attend.  This party had become so important to her that she thought I should drop everything and make it a priority.  I reassured her that if the party was for her, I would make every effort but still she couldn’t understand.  I felt like an extra add-on they had no room for.  Maybe I was an extra invite for an extra gift?  If our friendship couldn’t survive this, then what would be the next crisis?  As the years passed, I certainly couldn’t maintain her social expectations.

I know someone who much to her surprise, wasn’t invited to her best friend’s wedding.  As the wedding date approached, she started to notice her friend was less and less available.  She realized when the wedding date was coming up that she hadn’t received an invite.  She didn’t want to put her friend on the spot so she didn’t ask her out right “Am I invited to your wedding?” Finally, when she accepted that she wouldn’t be going she assumed it was a small, family only event.  She found out that 75 people were invited.  She didn’t make the cut.  This was hurtful but it also allowed her to re-evaluate where she stood with this ‘best friend’.  She could stop putting so much effort and time into someone who didn’t value her the same way.

I’m too busy with my other friends…

Here’s another one for the graveyard, imagine you’re on summer holidays, staying in a beach cottage.  You find out your best friend is staying a few blocks away. You mention getting together for a few drinks one evening.  You never hear from him.  After the holidays are over your ‘friend’ shows you a bunch of pictures of his holiday with all of their friends they entertained at the cottage.  That’s another way to find out you’re not someone’s best friend.

I had an out of town friend recently text me.  She said she wanted to talk and she would call me later that night.  I was looking forward to catching up with her as it had been a long while since we last spoke. I still haven’t heard from her and that was over 2 months ago.  Good thing I’m not one to wait by the phone…

The impossible to reach…

I once had a friend who wouldn’t give out her cell number.  She didn’t have an email address.  She wasn’t on facebook but her husband was and she offered up his friendship. In fact she said, you can find out what we’re up to with his timeline…ummm, you notice I said I ‘had’ a friend.  Past tense.

Do you really have 568 friends?

Then there are facebook shadows.  Facebook shadows update their status but they do not share nor respond to any of yours. In other words, they’re just a name on your friends’ list.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like strangers peeking in my windows at night. I ask myself, why would I consider this person a friend?  They are unable to meet the lowest of friendship standards.  They show no sign that they are aware you exist. But that’s how ridiculous facebook can be; “I’ll be your friend, but really I don’t like you.”  How many of your facebook friends, if you ran into them on the street would stop to chat with you? You might be surprised how few…

I have something to show you…

A recurring pattern with bad friends is not only do they want you around when they need something but if you want to see them you must go to them.  You must partake of their life and admire their children and homes.  And you do admire all of these things and you are grateful for lovely invitations but when the invitation is reciprocated, they are unavailable.  It sends a message that ‘we’ll see you if you can make the trip to us but we’re too busy to make the trip for you…’  For example, I had a friend who invited me to drive 5 hours to visit but then when she and her hubby came to town she didn’t bother to call me.  They say you find out who your friends are when times get tough. But the truth is, you find out on the most mundane of days.

With those anecdotes in mind; 10 friendship violations to avoid…

1)      Call your friend only when you need help with something

2)      Ignore your friend’s texts and emails

3)     Tell your friend how busy you are (they may get the hint and leave you alone)

4)      Invite your friend to your kid’s fundraisers but to nothing else

5)      Forget your friend’s birthday

6)    Be a Facebook Shadow, finding out all the gossip you can about people

7)    Invite as many friends as you can to your party so you can maximize your gifts

8)     Explain nicely to your friend that you don’t have email

9)      Text your friend request a time to call and chat and never call them back…ever (say bye-bye without actually saying it)

10)  It’s always about you, your house, your husband, your job, your party, your kids, your….on and on

 These oversights that ‘friends’ have made have pissed me off quite frankly, but let’s focus on what really matters and that is what keeps a friendship ticking.  Simplicity.  Get together and have a few drinks and a few laughs, at the very least.  Celebrate the good times, stay in touch and offer some mutual understanding.  If this is not happening then off to the graveyard they go.  They are living ghosts.  They are not respecting you nor are they valuing you as a person.  It’s time to move on and remember…

“When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn’t mean they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over.”Tony McCollom

Never stop giving, just give to the right people.  Never stop lending a hand to people you care about.   The good ones always show their appreciation.  The good ones make time for you because they want to.  They will be the real, true friends making new memories with you. In the meantime, my bar is open.  I just bought some new liqueur glasses and now I just need a friend to stop by and have a sip with me.  If you can’t make it that’s okay, I have my dog here to keep me company…I don’t have a dog but if I could pick one, this would be him…

when friends become living ghosts

When Friends Become Living Ghosts
It should be this simple

Have you been disappointed by a good friend? Do you have a bad friend anecdote or is it just me? Is there such a thing as too many facebook friends?  Leave a comment, I LOVE ’em!

Pair with Australia’s Bin 65 Chardonnay.  It’s available and reasonable just like a good friend should be.

Further reading; try this article on The Science and Philosophy of Friendship: Lessons From Aristotle on the Art of Connecting

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12 Replies to “The Wine Diaries-When Friends Are Living Ghosts”

  1. I’ve had some strange friends. I think it’s knowing when to let go. ‘Living Ghost’, funny 🙂

  2. I have so many things to say about friendships!
    I’ve written about breaking up with an online friend.
    I’ve also written about being hurt by a real one.
    The former, I don’t know if we can ever be friends again.
    The latter, I had no choice, she married my brother. (ack)
    And I know what you mean by Facebook shadows – a couple of years ago, I went through a massive Facebook friend list purge. Anyone I hadn’t spoken to in person, on the phone or on Facebook, ended up on the chopping block. Including a few that I saw once or twice in public, and we avoided each other! Hah!
    I only have 167 Facebook friends. I intend to keep it at low numbers. 🙂
    And I’m sorry your friends sucked and hurt you. However, it means more time for those who do matter.

    1. Thanks you for sharing Alison! It’s nice to know I’m not alone 🙂 Like you say, having more time for the good ones is the bonus. I will definitely be reading your posts you mention.

  3. Visiting from My Inner Chick – and boy are you right. I’ve learned life is too precious and short to allow toxic people into my life-space. Once I really learned that, I realized I have fewer so-called friends and more acquaintances, but also richer REAL friends. It is sometimes hard to let go, especially if there is a history there, but in the end the relief is SO obvious that you wish you’d done it sooner. I may be slow but I eventually figure out when someone (1) has let me go and just go with that flow, and (2) I need to let someone go and never look back! If you aren’t worthy of their present, they aren’t worthy of your future!

    1. perfectly said, Nan. Thank you for your input. I love that ‘if you aren’t worthy of their present, they aren’t worthy of your future!’

  4. What a fantastic post with amazingly ironic timing, Lisa! This has been on my mind a lot lately. I spend a great time of time and effort for and towards my friendship. Many of them are married with children and I am single just with my dog. So, I humbly admit I do have more time than them. But, I do wish they could have some good common manners like you mentioned above. It only takes a few seconds to send a text or email, right? And you can totally make another person’s day! And that they know you are thinking of them. Oh btw….that dog of mine is Golden Retriever I write a lot about on my blog :)_

    1. Thanks for sharing, Mike. It makes me happy that I’m not the only one frustrated. Friendship should be so simple! I will check out your blog. I want to know your dog’s name LOL. There’s no one more loyal than a pet. 🙂

  5. I was just dumped by a girlfriend of mine. We’d been close friends for 25 years, but the new job, the new hubby, the new friends held more allure than me. It hurt, then it pissed me off.
    Great post!!

    1. Hi Jennifer. I’m sorry to hear that. It sure does hurt but now you have room for better friends. p.s. Your blog is so gorgeous and classy!

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