Have you ever known someone who only seems to resurface in your life when they need or want something from you? When they don’t need you or want something from you, you don’t hear from or see them, they effectively drop off the face of the Earth.
I’ve known someone for approximately 35 years. We went to High School together. For a brief time, she moved in with my mother, sister and I, which caused a volatile situation to explode.
When I left home, this friend and another went with me, we shared an apartment together.
Since that time there have been extended periods of time when we’ve not seen each other, nor spoken. There were times when we emailed regularly, as our only form of communication and there have been times when it’s taken her months to respond to an email.
Several times throughout these 35 years she’s popped up needing something from me, wanting me to do something to help her out. In each case, I’ve done whatever it was that she wanted from me. To be honest, I did what she wanted hoping it would rekindle or restore contact, our friendship.
When she wanted a decoration for her son’s birthday cake, I drew it for her; when she was learning how to drive she needed me to ride along while she ran errands; when she wanted her son to get some volunteer experience and peer counseling I provided that through my job; when she wanted help prepping her daughter’s graduation announcements and cards, as well as the cheese for her party, I did that. The most recent request she made of me was to draw a tattoo design for her daughter, which I did, but her daughter wasn’t satisfied with it and decided not to use it, without letting me know, telling me she loved it, it was exactly what she’d wanted. At times, roughly a decade elapsed between contact.
There was an occasion when she was having some health issues, she wrote me an email explaining what was happening. I responded with some questions, support, etc. She didn’t respond to my email.
About a year ago I sent her an email expressing my disappointment that our friendship seemed to have died. I felt a sense of relief that I’d accepted it was over and addressed it with her. It took her months to respond and when she did she once again used the same excuse to explain her absence that she’s used every time she’s popped back up wanting something from me, “Life is so busy, so hectic, it’s crazy. I don’t have time to breathe.” She completely disregarded my feelings regarding the friendship.
We’ve been friends on Facebook since shortly after I signed on, nearly 8 years ago, but have had almost no contact through social media. I am, however, able to see her pictures, read her status updates, etc., and she seems to be attending a lot of concerts, twi-con events, traveling to visit friends, etc. It’s as if she has time for others, but not for me. Clearly our friendship is not a priority.
Recently she’s popped up on my Facebook, commenting and tagging me in posts on her page. Shortly after she started reaching out on Facebook she announced that her son just got engaged.
I don’t know if I’m overly suspicious or pessimistic, cynical or what, but my first thought was, she knows I did my own wedding flowers, that I’ve taken wedding photographs for other friends, created invitations, etc., and she’s only reaching out because she’s hoping to tap me to help her with her son’s wedding.
There’s a saying that goes something like… ‘don’t make someone a priority if they treat you like an option.’ It’s time to stop being the ‘go-to’ option. I have more value than that, am worthy of and deserve a friend that reciprocates my efforts.