Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.

5 Jun

I’m drunkenly leaning back in the seat, bemused. Quiet, at that point where I realize that I should have eaten dinner, or perhaps, not had that last drink, or perhaps not the cigarette, perhaps not stood outside for an hour with all the smokers.

Either way, I’m pretty buzzed, and fairly quiet, and quite sure I just want to go to bed.

My friend, my first good “girl” friend in years, the one I can talk to about anything, the first friendship which, in a long time, seems to put up with my quirks and oddities, she started to try and explain to me that I’m her best friend, her truest, the one she can trust and talk to about anything.

I smiled and remained mute.

She repeated herself.

My mouth opened, and yet, no sound escaped. She looked at me and asked if I felt the same way, any sort of connection, would I miss her if she wasn’t there, would I notice?

Would I?


I hardly miss my kids these days. My time is spent at work, home briefly, eat, work, online a bit, sleep. Repeat.  I ask my friend “Have I only been a good person all these years because I was with someone I didn’t think was good? Am I a bad mother because lately, my heart just isn’t in it and I wonder, oh lo I wonder, do I love anything at this point, my kids included?

I feel detached, like a scab hanging from a healed place on the skin. Superfluous. Their father comes to claim them, and holds them like a dying man in the desert clings to water. I find myself short tempered and craving silence, my moments with them full of voices and nattering and needs. I do not miss them when they are away.

I rarely, if ever, miss anyone. Hardly have since, well, forever. Have I been taught that missing people only ends in sadness, in regret? Or am I broken? Am I rendered forever incapable of attaching normally, instead privy only to this hollow place in my chest, simmering with fear and distance,  echoey and blank?

It’s not about a person. It’s not about the kids. It is, I’ve come to notice, me. Something has snapped, and while I can feel and speak of theoretical love, while I can wax poetic about the nuance of seeing myself mirrored in a child, or feel reflected in another person, I cannot truly feel these things. Even drunk, even incapacitated, I feel nothing more than a dim light of affection or empathy.

But not love. The desire to not be alone maybe, a thirst to be known, to be seen. But not love.


I know it bothers her. Friends are people who care, right? Friends are people who hold you up in the bathroom, who make sure you get home safe, who listen to you cry or laugh. And I do these things, without labels, without meaning, because this is what a friend does.

But is that enough for people? Would that be enough for you?


22 Responses to “Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”

  1. stephanie June 5, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    I can identify. You express your thoughts and feelings well.

  2. bon June 5, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    the honest answer is i dunno. maybe it’s not enough, or maybe most of us have some of this in us. your honesty about it i’ve always found disarming.

    the armchair psychologist in me – who has spent so many hours considering the same things in herself at various junctures – says, no, you’re not broken. damaged, yes. you carry damage, i recognize it because i carry my own. you wear yours a little more like armour.

    but something in you seems quick, alive, not broken by all you’ve lived through.

    in terms of these questions, these judgements you want to crack down on yourself – you are still recovering from a massive life change. and it makes sense to pull in on yourself, to need to conserve your energies for YOU. most people after a divorce seem to go through a period of almost adolescent self-centeredness, for lack of a better term. i think it’s part of the healing, part of the becoming process by which you are able to go on without that partnership.

  3. bon June 5, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    what happened to my ridiculously long response?

    dammit. i got the WP “you’ve already said that” notification, but i guess instead of duplicating, it disappeared.

    basically, for what it’s worth, i don’t think you’re broken. damaged, and also recovering from a massive schism in your life. it makes sense to be self-centered (for lack of better word) now…after divorce, people are. almost always. it’s part of the healing, the becoming yourself process. i like your honesty about what you can give and can’t. i find it disarming.


  4. bon June 5, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    oh. bugger. well there. i’ll shut up now.

  5. sweetsalty kate June 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    I’m quick to friendliness and conversation, but slow to warm up to people in that way of lasting friendship. In my mind, most people remain ‘acquaintances’ for years. It’s not that they need to measure up to anything in particular – I’m just ploddy in friendship. I don’t know why. But I understand this.

  6. Hannah June 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    I agree with Bon’s caution that you should hold off on worrying too much about making definitive statements about your own personality right now. You’ve been through a huge life change, and that’s bound to make anyone skittish.

    Two sort of asides: 1) that kind of declaration from any of my friends would make me uncomfortable, and leave me gobsmacked. Not in a good way; and 2) it takes a couple of kid-free days before I miss them – and I can’t STAND the way they are always sitting on or near me. I don’t think it means I’m damaged. I think it means I’m a mother of young children.

    • thordora June 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

      Yeah, it was a combo of being WAAAYYYY too drunk, and just being thrown. I like my friend, she’s awesome, but dude, love is NOT something I’m just throwing around lately. And, it’s weird. Trust also not something I’m good with.

      And with the kids…I’m starting to worry the apathy is going deeper than I’d like.

  7. flutter June 6, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    I wouldn’t be too harsh on yourself. the way the heart protects itself is varied. You are lovely

  8. Jennifer June 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    I’m not comfortable with feelings anymore. Frankly if someone were to do that to me, I’d likely stammer and giggle and change the subject.

    For me, I’ve stopped beleiving what people say for the most part, and instead look at what they do.

    My dad for instance, with that whole mess. Once I removed the words…his promises…his airs and all the other bullshit, and simply LOOKED at what he has done to me my entire life, I saw him in a different light. And my world shifted.

    You’ve been hurt. I think it’s natural to hold yourself back right now, not to mention that you are rediscovering yourself, redefining especially.

    Did any of that blather make sense?

    Oh, and as an aside, I ONCE did what your friend did, hung my heart out there and told someone something similar (I can’t even write the words) and was rewarded with a great big old knife in the chest followed by my heart being ripped out and stomped on a short time later.

    Babbling again.

    • thordora June 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

      I think I’m a good friend. I try to catch myself when I’m being selfish, and remember to ask how she is, offer help, etc. (I’m fairly clueless with social mores and such). But I don’t usually TELL people that stuff. I just…wanna hang out and do stuff with/for them.

      And, any declaration of affection is terrifying right now frankly. My heart is a gilded lily with bodyguards.


  9. Trusturgut June 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    Wow, in my own world I think I know you. I’ve lived with you, Ive loved you and Ive tried to be your friend. I think without being aware of it Ive tried to inject feelings of compassion, caring and love into someone just like you. Being an exhausted mother is one thing and normal for sure. Enjoying your solitude when they are away again I hear you and would never even think of holding a moments judgement. But the rest that you describe…the disconnect, the apathy. I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around that. Needing a break from the world and from time to time not Wanting to have to care about others yes. But to have that be a way of life or being. It hurts really hurts the rest of us over the long term. I hope, for your sake that it was just the alcohol talking and that if something truly serious or bad happened to someone in your world that you would feel Something some sorrow or regret or missing or longing that maybe they were still back in your life. That you wished you had done differently or felt differently. Did it feel good to be cared about by another person? If they or everyone never called or contacted you again would you notice? How deep does this go? I’m just so so curious by the onesidedness. How did you become friends in the first place? Were you engaging, funny,caring, available? If so was it real or a lure? It’s one thing to describe it to unvail your true self as you come to know it. But help the rest of us understand do you just want to be alone? Or is it sometimes a test over and over to see if someone just once can prove to you that you are worthy of all the things you claim not to care about. Please I really want to know.

  10. Trusturgut June 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    I forgot to mention that I too am going through a divorce and many subsequent break ups as a result of it. I guess I’ve just never fully understood the dynamic of closing oneself off. Although Ive certainly had times in my life where Ive retreated to lick and heal my wounds. But I was upfront about that at the time. I’ve lost so much and so many people going through all this
    mess. To hear that e people out there really do not care about others I guess really just made me want to give up altogether.

  11. Marcy June 6, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    I relate to some of that, some of the time. And I hate when friendship is lopsided in any way… especially when some of the time I feel so desperately longing to connect with someone, and yet there exist people who like me more than I like them. Doesn’t seem fair.

    Over and over and over, my late therapist Joe told me that feeling numb usually meant feeling too many things at the same time, and / or feeling unable to open the gate to feelings that seem threatening.

    It’s unlikely you truly don’t feel love… more that the fear, the trust issue, and the post-long-term-relationship confusion are obfuscating things.

    That, and single mom with full-time job? Yeah, it’ll take a while for you to miss the kids when they’re out of the house.

    Love is a tough word to define… but I don’t think you have to be sentimental and fluffy about it to love your kids.

    That all said, I still relate to the fear that the right actions and words don’t necessarily add up to “true love,” and I sometimes wonder, well then, what is it? Because I know it’s not necessarily a particular kind of warm fuzzy, either.

  12. thordora June 6, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    I feel things. I like my friend, and I’d do anything for her. I don’t feel that way about TONS of people, but I have many in my life where if they asked, I would do whatever they needed. I’ve pulled friends from the brink before. I’ve taken them drinking. I make them giggle.

    But for now at least, getting anywhere near the conversation with the “L” word, it’s not happening. Especially not after years of thinking someone loved me who didn’t. Turns out I don’t know what love actually is.

    And yes Marcy, I get numb. That’s exactly it. Too many inputs and I freeze up. I hate it. But right now, trying to open myself up….it’s like Bon said-I need the self absorption right now, I need to divert resources to ME. Even if I want to reach out and be the bestest friend ever.

    I just don’t know. Behaving socially is a huge fail for me most of the time.

    • Marcy June 7, 2010 at 8:21 am #

      Same here, about the social skills.

  13. niobe2 June 7, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    Yeah, that’s pretty much the way I am. As if you didn’t already know.

  14. Kim June 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    When I was going through my divorce, my son, then 4, went back and forth for 2 months at a time between his dad and me. I hated saying goodbye to him, but miss him? Not that much. I think it was because I knew he was okay, and safe, and being fed, and all that. I enjoyed my time without him because I could be “single” and really enjoy myself. That was the self-absorption part. I needed that to really heal. If I had him full-time, I would have put my issues on the back burner. So far as friends, why is that sort of proclamation necessary? The older we get, the more life gets in the way of friends. Be grateful for the friends you have and don’t ask them to define the depths of your relationship. If it ain’t broken….

  15. Cheeky Monkey June 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    I’d guess it’s protection. Caring too much is too risky. This I well know. And I want to say that the last person I hung wide open for wrecked me, but that would unfairly discount all the people who are shouldering some of my load right now, even when I don’t feel as if I love them as much as I should.

    Numb. That’s a non-feeling I’m familiar with.

  16. afteriris June 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    The problem with quantifying love is that you have to take other people’s word for how they feel. And most people lie.

    I find it easy to say ‘love’ and easy to behave lovingly, but I often wonder how much of it is a performance. Not for anyone else’s benefit, but for myself, because I SO want to be that loving, generous person.

  17. raino June 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    i cannot even begin to explain to you how much this post could have been written by me and about me. nuff said. you are so not alone.

  18. Shana June 8, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    I don’t think this is a sign that ANYTHING is wrong with you. To be honest, I wish I were more like you.

    Have you ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? It categorizes people’s personalities into 16 different types, based on whether we’re introvert vs. extrovert, sensing vs. intuitive, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. Those who are “thinking” are T; those who are “feeling” are F (myself). You seem like a classic T. I’ve wished I were more that way. Therefore I find it ironic that you seem to be saying in this post that you would rather be more F.


  1. The Break Up « Spin Me I Pulsate - October 11, 2010

    […] But, in a moment of weakness, I made a friend last year. A friend I would hang out with fairly frequently, who was there for me and who I was there for, all that good stuff I suppose. I kept my mouth shut as I watched her basically chase her boyfriend away with neediness. I pushed myself to go out with her and her friends, despite my inability to socialize with anyone 25 or younger. I dealt with the weirdness. […]

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