Happy Birthday

One of my friends forgot my birthday.

It's not so much that she forgot, again, as that she never remembers. My birthday is December 30th; it's 5 days after Christmas and 1 day before New Year's Eve. You might think that makes it easy to remember, but I've found out it actually get's jumbled in people's minds as "sometime after Christmas but before the new year..." and over the years, I've adjusted my attitude considerably. If you think of me anytime after Christmas and before the new year, it's enough for me.

This friend seems to forget most people's birthdays. She even forgot her mother's once or twice. Knowing this, I decided to call her on my birthday to remind her. What's interesting is that there were a couple of people I spoke to on my birthday who, I later realized, had forgotten my birthday but I didn't feel the need to call and remind them, and, in fact, they all eventually remembered. However with her, I did. In fact, I was anticipating her forgetfulness and had long planned to phone her to remind her.

She didn't answer. She never called back and I spoke to her for the first time late last week, since well before Christmas. The night before, I had dinner with a friend where we talked about the situation.
"I know I say this every year. I know I say I'm going to drop the dead weight in my life, but I'm for real this time."

My friend nodded her head as she chewed on her rib

"And Carla is the one person I always say is the first to go."

She nodded her head again, still chewing

"But I'm serious this time. It's not just the birthday thing. The birthday thing is really more of a tangible incident that represents what's been going on with us for years. She doesn't care enough about me to remember anything important. Not to mention, we don't have anything in common anymore. We used to have school, but that's long gone, now."
I think Carla has a microphone in my life because this isn't the first time I've thought to myself That's it, I'm done trying to be friends... and she pops up out of nowhere.

I reminded her, mid-way through our conversation, about my birthday. She went straight into the "Oh what a horrible friend I am" and the "Please don't hate me" lines. I chuckled to myself when she asked me if I was upset with her. "Oh if only you knew how indifferent I am right now..." I wanted to say. She didn't really get me going until she made a remark about what close friends we are.

That drives me crazy. Absolutely crazy.

J started doing that this time last year. On the rare occasion we spoke on the phone, he would find a way to incorporate "You're my best friend" into the conversation. I knew he wanted me to agree and validate it, but it wasn't true. As I told another friend, of the people I do consider to be my close friends, none of them have ever made such a comment outside of a necessary context, i.e. a phrase like "You're one of my closest friends, so you know I like..." But this girl? She finds an excuse to drop a phrase like that on me, pretty consistently. I don't feel like it's my job to clear the record, because I'm clear on it and I bet she is too.

Today, I tried to break it down in a conversation with another friend.
"It's not that I need her to remember my birthday. It's that remembering anything important about anyone but herself seems so beyond her."

"Maybe," my friend began, "she's just having a selfish period."

"That's the thing. She's always in a selfish period. I've asked her to visit me, she promises she's coming but aside from a brief look at her travel options, I've not heard a peep about a visit; nevermind I've been to see her twice already. She calls when it's convenient, she remembers what's convenient. It's all about convenience for her. What's worse is that because I'm so easygoing, and don't make a lot of demands, she gets over very easily, but I'm tired of it."
The question, however, became what do I do now? I'm not petty enough to stop talking to her, I don't see a point in that, not to mention we don't speak frequently enough as it is for her to notice.

I could ignore her when she calls me, but what for?

All I can come up with is ceasing my expectations, no longer expecting her to care what's going on in my space (though, when she feels like too much time has passed since she last asked, she will -- it's eerily personality disorder-ish of her, honestly), no longer attempting to care what's going on in her space, all the while trying not to focus on doing any of those things.

My mom's always telling me, "you show people how to treat you." I've always been a little resistant to that phrase. Why do I need to show another human being how to treat me. What ever happened to the golden rule? How hard can this be? I might not be into showing people how to treat me, but I am into stopping you from treating me wrong.

I've got to get it together in 2010 and do so now.


CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Been there. It's definitely hard to cut ties, so I've just conditioned myself to be more available/attentive to those who reciprocate. Now that I think about it, I wonder if that's really being petty but calling it indifferent...hmmm...something to think about...

A.Smith said...

CurvyGurl♥ - You know, just today I told myself that I think it's all about intent. I wanted to go invisible on gchat because too many people who don't deserve my time wanted it; however, I realized that what I really wanted was for them to spend some time without me available and then I wanted them to magically recognize the err of their ways. That ain't happening, so I didn't go invisible, I just kept my convos with them brief.

This afternoon, a friend of mine took a tone with me in an e-mail that I didn't appreciate it. It's the same ol' same ol. I decided that my intentions behin trying to call her on it were petty and insteaad, gave her what she asked for and decided that's the last time (until she gets it right) that I go out of my way to help.

I feel like it's the little things. Even in trying to stop giving the leeches attention, I do it anyway and I do it in the worst way -- that is to myself where even they don't know it! One step at a time. I need Intervention in this piece, for real.

Keira Q said...

wow- i feel like we may know the same person! ive cut her out and i cant believe how much better i felt for it. i tried removing my own expectations and keeping communication minimal, but even those short talks seemed like too much, so eventually I just stopped altogether. for me, the deciding factor was the fact that she kept insisted we were 'so close' and she loved me 'so much'. i can't handle people being fake and the more distant we became, the more this felt like a brutal lie every time she said it. And i really dont have time for conversations peppered with lies when i could be with my real friends talking about things that matter right?

A.Smith said...

Keira Q - We really might know the same person. You've definitely given me something to think about on this one... So far, I've been ignoring her (when she says those things) and then some other stuff happened (could I be more vague?). We'll see...

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