It’s Whine Time

I lost a friend this week. Not to the hereafter, but to the great abyss of broken relationships. It has happened before and I am no stranger to the signs of dissolution. Ignoring little things can sometimes add up to big things.

I am not the easiest person to be friends with and some would say I occasionally trip over my own principles. I know that being who I am means standing alone sometimes, but I prefer that over the hypocrisy of conformity. Nevertheless, it still hurts when the final blow is delivered. Of all the casualties accumulated during these trying weeks, I never considered that a friendship might be one of them.

Like conversations about politics and religion, navigating the nuances of a global pandemic have highlighted fundamental differences in some of my relationships. I value opposing opinions, and when I disagree, I make an effort to articulate why in a way that is honest and respectful. I don’t make it about me being right and the other person being wrong and there are no lines drawn in the sand. In this case, there was no conversation, just an action and a reaction, followed by silence. That in itself speaks volumes about the lack of mutual commitment in our relationship.

Under the Microscope

Relationships take time and effort to develop into bonds of friendship. I have a handful of those that I cherish, but they need very little care and feeding at this stage of life. I know that they will always be there.

Since entering retirement, I rarely get beyond the ‘casual’ stage of friendship and have stayed in that stage for years with most new people I connect with. Connections during retirement have been more about socialization, entertainment and well, convenience. I really do not want the additional responsibility of being someone’s ‘person.’ I already have that kind of relationship with my husband.

That attitude may sound selfish, but at sixty-five, I have aged into a place of emotional security, I live with my best friend, and my casual relationships are very satisfying. There are no expectations beyond what we currently share, so when they become complicated or filled with drama, it is time to move on.

I don’t always make the most graceful exit, and therein lies the flaw in my philosophy. The action (hers) caused a reaction (mine) which did not have to happen. I could have ignored the action and moved on gracefully, (with my opinion sequestered forever), but as I mentioned, sometimes my headstrong principles get in the way. When the action is fundamentally different from what is professed, I call bullsh**!

While I am not suggesting that all my relationships are homogeneous (they are not) I do wonder to what degree you accept or overlook fundamental differences. It is one thing to unFriend someone on FB who constantly shares negative news or images, but how do you accomplish that in real life? Do you ignore the early warning signs that things are going sideways in a friendship, or do you clear the air with honest conversations? Have you had bad breakups that could have ended differently?

Thanks for listening to my whine today. I am done now. Please give me a second to pour another glass of wine and I’ll be back to listen to you.

56 Comments on “It’s Whine Time

  1. I still remember vividly the first time I realized all friendships are not the same. Last week, I worked on an embroidery/quilting project as a surprise gift to a ‘friend’ who had made a big deal about something I’d made for a mutual friend. She received it and called to sincerely thank me. Nice conversation, but then it veered to was I making any masks, she had seen some really pretty flower ones, she sure wished she had a couple but didn’t feel like making them. Hmm, I guess that is a hint that I could make her a few and mail them to her. Needy. This lovely woman is needy, and as has happened before I have to decide if I’m going to fall into the trap or let her move on to another friend. After already giving a week of crafting to her, I am going to let her move on to the next friend with a sewing machine since the only thing keeping her from making her own on her own machine is she doesn’t want to. 🙂 I accept this relationship the way it is – I’m self reliant and she is needy. Periodically I have to make choices as to whether to respond or not. Hang in there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Beth, haven’t we all had one of those friends?? Depending on who it is on the caller ID, I find myself answering, “Hi, so what can I do for you today?” You just know before they open their mouth that they want something because they never call to chat.

      Good for you for not falling into her trap to make the masks. At least you understand and willingly accept the nature of the relationship. I just had a friend tell me that while I may consider him to be a ‘casual friend’ he thinks of me as a ‘dear friend.’ How sweet is that. He will definitely get my full attention for a nice catch-up conversation this week. The good ones are worth the investment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thoughtful post, Suzanne. I have unfriended people for posting what I think of as harmful or negative posts. One of these people contacted me this week to ask why I had done it; what had she done to offend me? I told her and we had a thoughtful, respectful dialogue in which we both learned a lot. My first inclination has been not to engage the person in their beliefs (because life is too short to get in those kind of arguments, has been my experience) but just to stop being their social media “friend” so I don’t have to see the lies and hatred they are spreading. But this person was genuinely interested in my point of view and had never considered the harm she was spreading, and immediately deleted the offending post. She said she was just posting it to start a conversation and didn’t think beyond that (that she was further spreading lies others would take as truth). So she learned something from me. And I learned from her that some people are willing to change their minds and are open to new ideas. And that I should have contacted her first, to let her know why the post bothered me, rather than immediately unfriend. Long story short, we are “friends” again, and I have newfound respect for her.

    What this has taught me is that when it comes to fundamental differences, I cannot overlook them. But that I should have a conversation about these issues with the offending person first, to see if those differences can be overcome. I still believe what happened with the other person was rare, and that most will not take kindly to being challenged in their beliefs and behaviours, but I learned it can be worth the effort.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, it is nice to be able to salvage a friendship through honest communication. I wish that could have happened in this case, but there were subtle signs of deterioration for the past year with this gal, so in a way, it’s for the best.Like Dan said, when it takes too much energy….I am glad you were able to resolve your issues and even gain a new level of respect for your friend. That’s something to treasure.

      Like

  3. Some times, we have to push things to the point where they improve or break. It takes energy to suppress our reactions. It takes energy to ignore ignorance, words and mental images we don’t want to see. Some people (like Judy’s ‘friend’) consume our energy. Some require us to waste our energy. Neither are healthy.

    I once ended a long friendship when i finally realized that all the energy in the relationship was mine.

    I’m sorry you lost a friend, bug don’t blame yourself.

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  4. Very perceptive and interesting take on the changing nature of friendships. John and I are in a similar place; as each other’s best friends, the other relationships we have tend toward the casual. We can totally sympathize with your story about losing a friend – that’s the thing about casual relationships, isn’t it? When you scratch below the surface and discover you have some real and fundamental differences, the friendship often doesn’t survive. It’s happened to us numerous times.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hope you’re staying safe and happy in these crazy times!

    Like

    • At this stage of life I am content to allow things to develop, or not. I know my relationship with my husband has a lot to do with that, and it seems yours does as well. Thank you for offering validation that I am not alone in feeling this way.

      Like

  5. HI Suzanne,
    I enjoyed your post, and also Deb’s response to it. I, too, have unfriended folks on social media, or hidden their posts in order to spare myself the emotions they were created. I’m with ya; I live with my best friend, and with the exception of 3 longtime friendships, everything else is simply social. And at this stage I want to invest my time and energy wisely. I have friends who I highly disagree with, but respect their right to an opinion until it either 1. Is based on or perpetuates taste premise or 2. Impedes or adversely affects my life or health.
    Friendships ebb and flow. Family is what/who you can count on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nancy, your summary is a perfect description of what friendship looks like for me at this stage of life. Malcolm always says that ‘family is who you can count on’ and I love your phrase, ‘invest my time and energy wisely.’ That is truly what it is all about. This should and is our best time of life and who needs the disruption of high maintenance friendships. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  6. What an interesting post about the changing dynamics of friendships. I have deleted all FB “friends” who posted nasty or false information (of course, I have to admit that I don’t mind negative comments about those in power that I disagree with 🙂 ) because I wanted it to be my happy place. I don’t think I could remain friends with someone who believed the polar opposite of me on key issues. That’s not to say that all of my friends are of the same mind, but our fundamental values are similar. That may not be very open-minded of me, but I don’t have time to argue about strongly held beliefs that won’t change on either side. I say, “go in peace.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janis, I have one friend who is absolutely the polar opposite of me on a few key issues, but he doesn’t push his agenda and we NEVER talk politics, which is our major departure. But, he is a good person and as you said, I believe having ‘similar fundamental values’ makes our relationship work. Actions speak louder than words, and when those do not align with professed values, I’m out!

      I don’t think you are being ‘closed minded’ at all to not invite drama into your life and who has time for arguing. Being selective is a good thing. Sounds like you have sorted out how to ‘go in peace.’

      Like

  7. I do a certain amount of ignoring – especially on social media. I have friends whose principles and causes I don’t agree with so I tend not to engage on those issues with them. Having said that, those friends rarely move beyond being casual friends. Those who I’m closest to – and I can count them on one hand – it’s very different indeed. I don’t think I’ve ever been that girl (or woman) who has had bosom buddies or been someone’s person (other than my husband of course). I cherish my one on one time with my close friends, but I also need my own space.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jo, I have been waiting for someone to touch on the ‘introvert’ aspect of relationships. I think ‘needing my own space’ and being comfortable with that is a contributing factor to the degree of attention I am willing to give to casual relationships. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Suzanne,
    There is a lot to reflect on here and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the comments. As someone who has lived in the same place for most of my life, I find that my closest friends have been so for many years and most have passed through the filters of family, church, and a few through work. Casual acquaintances tend to remain just that and I never discuss politics or money with them. Fortunately, like you, I married my best friend. Stay safe and keep that camera handy.

    Like

  9. Joe, I can tell by the stories you have shared on your blog that you and Helen have an enviable connection to a long-standing group of friends. Being in one place and having filters such as family, church and work certainly aide the ‘vetting’ process in most new situations. My community is mostly retirees who have come to Florida from all over the US. They represent an assortment of careers, religious beliefs, political affiliations, and expectations for retirement. It can be challenging at times, and like you, I am happy to have married my best friend, have a handful of close friends and keep the casual friends casual. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. P.S. I took some photos of a Magnolia bloom yesterday during a walk around the neighborhood. It did my soul good!

    Like

  10. I think we are all experiencing some version of this right now. Adverse conditions bring out the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m having a similar issue right now, but with a family member. ‘Unfriending’ her would have serious repercussions to our family dynamic …but that didn’t stop me from being spitting-bullets angry. By a sheer force of will, I did not respond to her post, but I fear a day of reckoning is coming … and it’s not going to be pretty.

    Like

    • Sorry to hear that Joanne. I always try to see the other side of things, but sometimes it is so selfish and uncompromising that I just can not. I had a family thing a few years ago. That is the ultimate unfriending. Best of luck with your ‘day of reckoning’.

      Like

      • The good news is that we don’t live in the same city and see each other infrequently. My tolerance level for stupid, mean, and insensitive gets lower and lower with each passing year.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting. i think for a long time we could ignore political differences and personal beliefs but we seem to have come to a point where the impact is so damaging to so many people that it’s hard to push aside. I have no answers for you. #MLSTL

    Like

    • Thanks for listening Lydia. There really are no concrete answers, just lessons to apply to future relationships. I do my best to accommodate alternative beliefs among my friends, but when they profess one thing and then do the exact opposite, I loose trust. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  12. I value the close friends I have and luckily they have the same values as me because I would find it hard to be friends with someone with polar opposite views to me. I once unfriended a close friend because she lied blatantly to me and refused to ‘fess up and apologise. That’s one of my pet hates – lying. I find having acquaintances on social media to be the worst cause of upset – it’s very hard to scroll past a comment or meme that I’m apposed to but most of the time I do. I wouldn’t be friends with these people in real life so I don’t know why they’re still facebook friends! May be time for another cull!

    Like

    • I put my FB account on hold for almost two years and when I came back, I did a massive overhaul to my friends list. There are still one or two that post junk, so I block those types of posts instead of deleting the people. I do actually like them and see them on occasion,I just don’t like what they choose to share on social media. I cannot tolerate anyone who lies, so that is a deal breaker for sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject and take care.

      Like

  13. Hi Suzanne I don’t think you are whining at all. We do reach a stage in life where we can be comfortable with who we want to share in our life. I don’t have many friends but the ones I do are treasured and we get along well. Like you I have my husband who is my best friend and prefer to share times with him. Friendships do run their course and sometimes although it can be difficult to let go, we can feel a burden lift once we do. Thanks for sharing your honesty with us at #MLSTL and have a beautiful week.xx

    Like

    • Thanks Sue, after writing about this and looking back, I realize that my expectations of behavior were not in line with a commitment to the relationship, on either side. Having a friendship die this way(even a budding one) isn’t the preferred route, but honestly, I’m glad it happened sooner rather than later. Thanks for stopping by. Take care and enjoy your week.

      Like

  14. Hi Susanne, Wise words on ignoring little things, and how they add up to the big things. A very thought-provoking post on enduring friendships that have withstood the test of time. New relationships later on in life and a great deal in between.

    A few thoughts: You likely have heard the ‘Friends for a season/rhyme’. These are still usually good relationships that may dissolve due to interests, work life, proximity.

    I don’t know your specific circumstances, although I suspect things went sideways and south. I am likely similar to you where I just cannot be bothered to invest precious time and energy on someone who depletes my energy. With certain people, especially if you know they may be dogmatic in their opinions, a true discussion never really happens.

    Know when to hold them. Know when to fold them

    My best friend is and has always been my husband. My other true, dear best friend for 54 years and I have withstood the test of time. A few other friends, too, where I always feel better in their company.

    Good luck,
    Your friend, Erica🙂

    Like

    • Erica, I always love your take on things. The relationship had indeed begun a downward spiral. Weirdness happened around the holidays and distancing began after that. I had hoped it would run its course and dissolve naturally, but alas, that did not happen and things came to a crescendo over an issue close to me right now. I lost total respect and now, done is done. Life moves on. Sorry for the late response. Your comment went to Spam! Take care and be well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne, Never worry about timing of responses. I find sometimes I am on a roll. Sometimes, life becomes a priority. And, yes, spam does not seem to have rhyme or reason. I hope all is okay in your part of the world. I play in my happy place with blogging friends and photos. Take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m a bit of an avoider. I wrote a post early on in my blogging about “ghosting a friend” – someone who I felt betrayed our friendship and showed a complete lack of loyalty and discretion. I didn’t confront, I just drifted away – she’s always “busy busy” so I was happy to sever the ties without her being aware of it. It’s now been a few years and she never contacted me, so I guess it wasn’t worth the careful thought I gave to it all.
    Now I’m the same as you Suzanne, I have my lovely husband and the other friendships are casual and pleasant and flexible – I don’t have the time or emotional energy these days (esp after the whacko workmate from hell) to be bothered with trying too hard so if they aren’t invested, then I’m happy to wave them goodbye.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    Like

    • Hi Leanne, I think that initially what hurt the most is the realization that she was not invested enough to even have a discussion about what she did. But, when I really examined the situation, I realized I wasn’t either. That realization was liberating and I will never make that mistake again. It is what it is!

      Like

  16. I have been thinking about this topic myself a lot lately. I think I read somewhere that there is a limit to the number of relationships any person can sustain, and maybe the healthiest thing is qualifying relationships. They can’t all be close, I wonder if young people don’t set themselves up with the notion of BFF’s, because “Forever” takes time to define and determine. I like FB”s adjectives, Friend, Close Friend, Acquaintance and of course unfriend. But not sure that is enough descriptors. Sometimes we have to walk away. Thanks for sharing. Look forward to reading more. Michele

    Like

    • Hi Michele, thanks for stopping by. I think we all compartmentalize our friendships to some degree. Even my ‘casual’ category has layers of importance. I can only imagine the work required to maintain several close relationships. No thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like the idea of layers you speak of nd then your comment also reminds me of the very unlovely but often used phrase about some relationships being “high maintenance.” Blessings for the day,Michele

        Like

      • Suzzane, I think of the strangest things at night. I had started my post on friendship. I have 2 posts that I am writing bit by bit. It is a work day for me (Thursday through Sunday) but my mind keeps going back to those two posts. I still love your comment about layers of importance. May I quote you in my post? It is that statement in your response to me about friendship, not from the actual post. And if you give permission, how do you want me to list you, as “Suzanne@PictureRetirement?” or some other way? Thanks in advance. Late night thoughts!!

        Like

  17. Hi Suzanne, I think this was a very honest post and the comments reflect that you are not alone. I agree with Joanne, we are in some difficult times and it seems that many are showing signs of stress. The posting or constant discussion of certain views are hard to take as we all spend longer in this lockdown situation. I know we have some close friends who are driving us to distraction with their constant negativity and sharing their opinions to anyone who will listen. I am close to telling them how it is but don’t want to jeopardise a long time friendship over something like this. Maybe I just need to be honest with them and ask them to talk of other things instead! Good thought provoking post! Sharing for #mlstl

    Like

  18. It’s perfectly okay to whine. Need not be apologetic about it. We all go through these phases and we need to let go of our feelings.
    There is no template for a perfect relationship. Many are formed, some stay, some others break off.
    We all just need to take it as it happens and move on in a manner that is harmonious and is in the best interests of all who are involved.

    Like

  19. I had a friend when I was young who was all about herself. It worked when we went to separate schools because we didn’t see each other much and I didn’t notice so much, but when we ended up in the same school, it became so obvious and I couldn’t stand it. We never officially broke off a friendship but rather drifted away to different friends. Then we had a 30th high school reunion and I found her back in my life. Turns out she never changed, so we drifted apart again. Easier this time, since I now live in a different state.

    Like

    • Oh dear, I was anticipating a happy ending to that story. Sounds like moving on was the right thing to do. Why waste precious time with people who can’t see beyond their own needs. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  20. Hi Suzanne, Interesting post and hear you loud and clear. I know what you mean by close friends and acquaintances. I personally don’t have room or energy in my life for people who are rude, disrespectful, or pushy. I also need to be true to my values, ethics, and standards. However, in a perfect world, if something someone says about me doesn’t ring true to me, I need not address it with that person. That’s their issue. Sorry your friendship ended, but it sounds like it may be for the best. Visiting at #MLSTL and will share this post.

    Like

    • Nancy, it was definitely for the best. I am not glad it happened the way it did, but sooner rather than later. Why invest time into a relationship going nowhere. I would add to your list of people I don’t have time for – all about themselves. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  21. I sympathize with your perspective. I also have decided I don’t need drama and relationships that don’t serve me anymore. I have a few very close friends, a few close family members and my husband and that allows me the relationships I need. Casual relationships with those I work with as I volunteer remain casual. I have always been very cautious about who I let enter my inner circle. I get it!

    Like

  22. It is sad when friendships or relationships break down and we feel the sting of rejection or choose to withdraw from interaction with the other person because it is too much for us. It especially hurts when it is a long term friendship, but friends do seem to come and go, all throughout our lives. I think there is so much expectation from friendships, and this seems to be more prevalent between girls. Because we are all so individual, and come from such varied circumstances and backgrounds, it is a wonder that any of us can stay friends for long. It was interesting to hear that you say in retirement, friendships are different. As I am just commencing semi/full retirement soon, I wonder if I will find the same thing?

    Like

    • The kinds of connections you will make after retirement will depend a lot on how and where you choose to retire and what your expectations are for making and continuing connections. Something to think about and welcome to retirement! It truly is the very best stage of life. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your thoughts.

      Like

      • I think location doors have a lot to do with it. We have chosen an area that appears to have a lot of folks in our stage of life, so I think and hope that helps us forge strong connections and communuty support.

        Like

  23. A powerful post which has resonated with many! I don’t have any IRL friends these days other than via social media and ones who are FB or twitter friends. However, “that is life”. My job as a teacher brought me many friends and good times socially too but now, 5 years since retiring and moving away from our city, it’s just US. My husband and me. Quite content actually. I am very social and miss contact of the everyday kind with people when I am out and about..because of COVID19 but like I said, going well.
    Thanks for sharing. Denyse #mlstl

    Like

    • Denyse, I can imagine it might get lonely once in a while, but as long as you and your hubby have each other and are content with that, then good for you. I’m sure your on-line connections are rewarding. Sometimes, I feel as though my virtual friends ‘get me’ even better than some of my RL friends. I think that has a lot to do with our effort to be genuine in our statements. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh gosh, I’m afraid I’m such a wuss when it comes to confrontation or disagreeing or … well most things really. I had two separate friends who treated me badly. They would cancel on me at the last minute, turn up late, leave early, we’d go for dog walks and we always had to do it their way, doing a few of their errands on the way, dropping in on their friends on the way back … such silly little things that I eventually got sick of. I was allowing it to happen though because I never let them know that if for example we were on a dog walk just the two of us, then if they were on their phone I felt a bit of an idiot! I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I never have. Eventually I just stopped calling. I’ve heard that I’m now the bad guy but too much time has passed and although I miss their friendships, it was always so one sided. I’m now left cross with myself for having been such a wuss, and sad that I no longer have their friendship even if it was a bit lopsided. Any advice welcome!! Katie

    Like

  25. Suzanne, this is a fascinating topic. Since retiring to this location three years ago, I have developed a wide friendship circle of people I socialize with. One couple, in particular, has become close to both of us, our closest friends here. We do a lot of things together. I also have a handful of longtime best friends, women I have known for decades, including one childhood friend. As I have moved a lot, these friends all live in different places, none of them close by. We’ve maintained our long friendships through phone calls, visits, and electronic communication. A lot of Rob’s and my social time is also spent with my three children, one step-daughter, and my brothers (only one of these family members lives close by). I am slow to make close friends but when I do, I like to keep my friends for a lifetime. It takes commitment on both sides to maintain a relationship, especially when distance is a factor. Sadly, over my lifetime, I have had a number of friends who I was very close to but eventually drifted away from and and lost touch with. I still think about them and wonder where they are. And I’ve had a couple of friendships that went sour, like the experience you’ve described.

    Jude

    Like

    • Jude, at this stage of life, we feel fortunate indeed to meet people who we both like and connect to. It is nice that your closest friends are a couple and that you both enjoy their company. Relationships are complicated, some endure, some don’t. I keep going back to Dan’s statement about ‘energy’, and how important it is in a relationship. I will definitely pay better attention to the ebb and flow of it in my next new situation. Thanks for your thoughts on this subject.

      Like

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