Sunday, January 10, 2010

That's What Friends Are For?

Well, I've kept smilin' and shinin', but Dionne Warwick and Friends are nowhere to be found on my doorstep. Yep, I'll admit it. I'm completely lacking in the friend department. Sure, I have some friends, but I'm missing the kind of friend I've relied on in the past--friends you can call when you want to do something spontaneous, like go shopping or go to the movies or just go for a ride.

First, I live in Los Angeles, which is not a very friend-friendly place. Sure, you'll meet all kinds of people, but they live clear across town and hardly leave their neighborhoods. Or, just when you're starting to like them, they move across town, or, worse yet, they move away from Los Angeles. L.A. is full of transplants--non-L.A. natives who come and go when they don't make it big or land that high-paying executive job. You just have to get used to the ebb and flow of people, and I've lost many friends that way.

The other annoying thing about L.A. people is that either they're flaky people to begin with, or, they develop L.A. flakiness in no time flat. You make plans and they don't call, cancel, don't show up. This has happened to me so many times that I've started deleting these "friends" from my cell phone and facebook. For example, last year, one of my "friends" thought it would be a blast to have a girls night out for the opening night of the "Sex and the City" movie. Great! I was excited. "We could get all dressed up, get a limo and champagne, and after the movie, we could go dancing in Hollywood!" she exclaimed. She asked for help planning the night, and like the good midwestern gal that I am, I dug up some fun party hors d'oeuvres and dusted off my vintage cocktail shaker. Two weeks before the party, I ran into my friend, and she introduced me to her neighbor, who would also be at the party. Cool! Another connection, I thought. The week before the party, I left a message with my friend to ask what she needed help with. She never returned my call. The day before opening night, I wondered what had happened. It must've been something bad, right? Had she fallen and couldn't get up? I called and got her voicemail, but opted not to leave a message. Luckily for me, I have a sweet and wonderful husband who stepped up and braved the estrogen-laced theater with me on opening night. I am forever grateful and mention it frequently as something for which I still owe him.

I wish this had been the only time this friend had stood me up. It's confusing, because she's also been there for me during some incredibly trying times in my life. When I separated from my first husband, she brought Thai food and ate it with me in bed (as I couldn't find the strength to change out of my pajamas for weeks). She helped me move out of the home I shared with my ex, and she even got me a couple of sweet television and music video appearances. But, again, about six months ago she invited me to see a concert with her, but I never heard back after the initial invitation. I texted her about two months ago, asking her if she could get together over the weekend. I heard nothing until Sunday night, when she texted, "Had a great time with you guys on Friday night! Love you!" Then, five minutes later, "Oops! Sorry. That was meant for my other friend." Oh. Okay. And, just last week, it happened again. "Merry Christmas! Love you guys!! Can't wait to see you on New Year's Eve!" I assume it was for the same friend, whose name is different from mine by one letter, and therefore, must be right next to mine in her cell phone.

Have I done something wrong? I don't know. I've really thought about it. Maybe I'm no fun anymore since I became a stepmom. Maybe I talk too much and don't listen enough. Maybe I seem to desperate for friendship. Maybe...maybe...maybe...but I know I'm a fun person. I'm honest and friend-worthy, but I can't find a girlfriend to save my life. And, we stepmoms need them sometimes. Sometimes we just need to get out of the house and need a friendly face as refuge. Maybe my "friends" are tired of being my refuge. I just don't know. Another thing is that many of my friends are starting their own lives now, no longer single or childless. Being someone who doesn't want a child, maybe they feel they don't have anything in common with me anymore.

So, last week, I deleted the above mentioned "friend" from my cell phone. It was a big step for me, as I've never had a friend just drop out of my life. There have been long periods of time where we didn't see one another, and then we'd get together and it'd feel like we'd never been apart. Maybe that was my problem--accepting that from the beginning. I guess we really do teach people how to treat us, and maybe that's one of my biggest mistakes on the friendship path so far.


The Amburgular said...

{hugs} I have been there with friends and it sucks. Wish we were closer, I would love to hang out with someone as funky-cool as you!

Churlita said...

I had that when I live in California too. Now that I live in Iowa, not so much. The weather definitely sucks here, but the people are so great.

Anonymous said...

That, as my little nephew says, is gukka. It sounds like a lonely time, lovely husband notwithstanding.

Sometimes it's seasons of our lives, I think. About three years ago I was in the same kind of place; I'd split with my long term partner and my friendship circle wasn't really the right one anymore. There was nobody to head out anywhere with etc etc.

I ended up taking a new part-time job - in a bar - just because the staff seemed nice! It was a good way of livening things up, though not for everybody (ie I'm not offering this story as advice!).

Hang in there.

Junkgirl said...

Amburglar--I wish we were closer, too. We should plan another get-together, because I was bummed you were sick last time! And, I'm obviously slow, as I just got to your blog yesterday. Yay! Wow! So cool and inspired me to spice up my layout a bit!

Churlita--Sometimes I wish I could move back to Iowa. I lived there the first 26 years of my life, and the people there actually follow through with what they promise. And they're nice.

Stepmum--Gukka is right! That's great that you found something fun with the bar. I've been thinking about volunteering somewhere with the hopes of meeting some cool people. I actually started volunteering at an animal shelter last year, but I never met any people--just animals--and while I love them, I was hoping to meet something that could talk!

Stef said...

Yeah I've had that happen especially after moving cities. Auckland is a bit like LA in that you need a car and people don't like to leave their neighbourhoods. I'm not sure what has kept me sane, perhaps being online.

Junkgirl said...

Stef--It's frustrating living in such car-centered cities, huh? But, you're right--being online and connecting with cool people like you always helps!

S said...

I totally feel you.
One of my closest friends and I stopped talking about a year ago. It has been really hard. I mean this was the girl I was thinking would be my maid of honor if I ever get married! But... No more. And I wonder too if is my step-mom gig... Do I talk about the family too much now? I don't know.

I am looking for Spring Break ideas here. I have a few acquaintances in the LA area. If I head down, I will let you know and maybe we can meet up! I am thinking we could find a lot to talk about!