Today I learned about another of my social shortcomings. I learned this from the popular TV crime show, Bones.
The protagonist of the show is a genius successful beautiful rational multilingual lady scientist, in her mid-thirties. One day, while fighting crime, she notices one of her female friends is cancelling their social plans together, and seems to be avoiding her.
So, this lady scientist shows up at the place of work of her friend, and asks what is wrong. When the friend walks away saying I am late, she follows her, continuing to insist in asking for an explanation. So the friend stops and tells her. Something to do with a man. At the end of the conversation, they decide to remain friends, and have a drink together.
Really? Really? Is this what people do, or should do, in real life? If a friend is no longer friendly, you show up at their place of work, unbidden? Not high schoolers, but professional, rational, mature successful women? Modern pop culture shows me to be a loser again.
I have had friends whose friendship seemed to fade away as their life circumstances changed. We saw each other, we talked and laughed and chatted and made plans to “hang out”, and somehow the days passed and we never did. Should I have gone to their place of work, and demanded an explanation? I shudder at the thought. Such a thing would never occur to me. I had thought vaguely of texting and asking if anything was wrong, but I decided against it. The expiry date of the friendship had arrived, as it does with every relationship except family, and sometimes even then, that is all.
I recognize the value of friendship- I know it. I can provide numerous examples from my own life where friends have provided solid, concrete benefits to my life- I am not just talking about fuzzy-wuzzy emotional well-being, but stuff like inspiration and guidance in buying a house, babysitting, a place to stay in a different city for days and even months. But when something is over, when the vibe is no longer there, it’s gone. At least, that is my way of thought. If someone who formerly swore they were my best friend does not return my text or e-mail, or replies too late, then it is done- I am not going to show up at their place of work and demand to know why. Who cares? Whatever the reason- it is done and over with. We had good run, now good luck and good-bye.
And, to the (potential) ex-friends out there, please do the same. Please do not ever even remotely think of stepping near anywhere I am without prior arrangement- no friendship can survive that sort of awkwardness, indignity and distinct whiff of crazy. Bones is supposed to show strong smart women, role models for young girls. But in this instance, please do not be inspired it.