My husband recently ran into an old friend of mine at work. He said she was very gracious, and said kind things about me, but she thinks religion is why we are no longer friends. She and I used to be best friends, but I drifted away from her with my many life changes. I changed, and she changed, and many times friendships suffer with those changes. My kneejerk reaction was to send her a lengthy message explaining that she was dead wrong about what caused me to delete her from my social media friends list, which I did quietly this year after reflecting on how I felt every time she posted anything. Instead, I slept on it. The next day I felt that nothing was going to be said to her. She can think what she wants, whatever makes it easier for her to digest or tell other people, and helps her sleep at night.
I find it incredibly interesting though, that this friend of mine, my former BEST friend, obviously never really knew me at all. One of the few things we disagreed upon was indeed religion, but I never thought we couldn't be friends because of it. We discussed it openly many times, and I thought she understood my standpoint and that I understood hers. I can't tell you how many nights, after many drinks, she would try to "save" me by trying to sway my belief. She didn't want to go to Heaven knowing I wouldn't be there too. I understood her love, and why she would want me to be there with her in this Kingdom of light and happiness. I never tried to belittle her belief, or make her feel like she was wrong. It's how she was raised, I respect that. I still, to this day, don't understand why she could not respect how I felt on the subject. I was not raised to be religious in any form or fashion, but rather to think for myself and believe what I needed to believe. Religion was not forced down our throats. I don't believe in imposing my will on other people, including my children, but I will not tell anyone that they are wrong for believing in what they were taught their whole lives.
So now, she is much more conscious of her lifestyle, or so she says, and living a more God-fearing life. No drinking, or crazy all night parties, pretty much everything that brought us together and kept us together through many years. I stopped drinking like that several years before she did, and I didn't need God to help me with it, but I wasn't so far gone either. I'm glad that she is doing better, taking more control of her life, and I still love her.
What finally drove the last nail in the coffin of our friendship? Me. I needed a friend who would listen to me when I need her, not try to out-do me with the pity party. My problems were never as big as hers, and she tried to make me feel better by going on about hers. I just needed my friend to LISTEN to me. Not try to fix it by bringing her husband into the conversation. I needed her to LISTEN. When I felt she just didn't understand that, I stopped coming around, stopped trying to keep the friendship alive. That was my last true female friendship, and I let it die because I felt she was never there when I needed her, but I was always there when she would call me at midnight needing me in one of her drunken tirades. She wasn't truly there when I needed her the most, and I don't often reach out to anyone, so it really hurt when I was left feeling worse than before talking to her, or being put off for her other friend. I needed her once so badly and I called her, but a bicycle ride was more important and she told me to call her later. I didn't speak to her for months.
I got tired of hearing the same crap, "Oh, I miss you, we need to get together"... I resented hearing my children tell me that a mutual friend posted photos of my ex-husband at her house, hanging out with them, but he won't bother to call his own children anymore - and she and I live in the same neighborhood. I understand being friends with him, that's fine. But to have someone lie to my face saying she doesn't really talk to him anymore, and hear my daughters tell me they saw photo proof that he was at their home several times, well, I have no use for that. I don't need to constantly see photos post on social media of her and her new "bestie", the woman who took my place in her new pious life. I don't want to see photos of her with the woman who used to be my children's "older sister", who has pretty much latched on to my old friend, and has her new little "siblings" to spend her time with, while my youngest sits at home, alone because everyone who used to matter has deserted her.
Am I jealous that my friend is well off and has everything she could possibly want, or that she's moved on to a new friend? Nope, I never have been. She has demons that I don't have with all that goodness, and she used to take it all for granted. I used to think she was pretty damned stupid with the way she lived her life, given everything she has. So, I am happy for her now, that she has found herself and she seems happy.
I've learned that I am different now. I have changed. I've made mistakes, and I'm learning to live with them. Parts of me are better, parts are worse, but I'm still changing. Sure, I miss our good times, but there will be other good times with other people. Sometimes I feel bitterness, but then I think of the things I don't miss, and that bitterness turns to relief. Sure, sometimes I need someone to talk to, and aside from my husband, I really don't have that any more. One day, I might open myself up for female friendship again, or I may just stick with being "one of the guys". Either way, life goes on and I'll be okay.