Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Un-Friended

Do you have one of these people in your lives? For all intensive purposes, they are your friend. There is no reason on earth why the should not be. You have a lot in common. You attend many of the same social events. You live close enough to each other that distance is not an issue. You even have children the same age. But for some unknown reason, they simply do not like you. You've met the Un-Friend Friend.

What hurts the most about the Un-Friend Friend is the fact that you like them. You want to be friends with them. But no matter how hard you try, no matter what lengths you go to, it is never enough to be admitted into the inner sanctum. No matter what you do, you are always in the wrong. Always on the outside looking in.

The other night, I met the Un-Friend Friend when I was coming out of a Starbucks. She was on her way to dinner with her Real Friends and we had Awkward Conversation #456:

UFF: NoMo!

NoMo: Hi!

UFF: I always see you coming out of Starbucks. Do you
never
go anywhere else??

NoMo: (trying to make light-hearted repartee) Not really. Nope. It's kinda sad, actually...

UFF: Well, we're off!

NoMo: (watching dispiritedly as they recede into the darkness) Bye...!

Now, really. Was that sly little remark absolutely necessary? Yes, I do like Starbucks. Yes, I am there frequently. Yes, we do cross paths there rather often. I assumed that it was because she lives just up the street, and it is on my way home from The Boy's daycare. And it stands to reason that if she always sees me there, then she must be there too. Right? And, hey...I do go other places! (I just happen to like coffee. Alot.)

I could give her the benefit of the doubt. I could think that maybe she finds it difficult to talk to me. But I am generally pretty good at reading people, and the vibe coming off of her is decidely UN-friendly. And therein lies the heart of the matter. There is the thing that I just can't let go of. I cannot stand it when people don't like me. It irks me. It drives me to distraction. Am I not smart enough? Pretty enough? Cool enough? What??


It can be said that human beings strive for one of five goals in life: Love, Power, Success, Validation or Happiness. You could add Revenge in there too, but since Revenge is merely the reaction to not getting one of the aforesaid five goals, technically it is a sub-set and not an actual goal. For me, it all comes down to Love. We want Power so people will be forced to love us. We want Success so that people will admire us so much that they can't help but love us. We want Validation so that we can prove that people love us. And we want Happiness so that we can attract and keep the love that we so richly deserve.

For me, friendship is one of the key puzzle pieces to achieving the ultimate goal of Love. Friends are there for you when you need them. They support you when no one else will. They listen to your complaints. They challenge you to be better than you are, even better than you knew you could be. In short, they're all about love. Therefore, it is only natural to seek them out, nurture them, protect them. And for someone like me, who, although I have scores of acquaintances, finds true friends hard to come by, I cling to them with the tenacity of that thing from Alien. (Is that why they run away screaming? Hm.)

So why her? Why is this one friendship so important? Maybe it's because of who she represents. She's the Organizer, the "PTA Mom", the Involved Parent who I know I am going to have to interact with over and over again at school functions, neighbourhood gatherings and kiddie classes. She is The Person to Know if you want to get invited anywhere. She is the person you do not want as an enemy. And more specifically, I do think we could be good friends (or at least, especially civil acquaintances). If she liked me. Which she does not.

I am constantly in awe of the people who have the self-possesion to go through life not caring whether people like them or not. They are courageous. They are independent. They are the ideal to which I aspire. Maybe someday I'll get there. Till then, I'll be the strange girl at Starbucks offering to buy you a coffee in the hopes that you will be my friend.

7 comments:

bubandpie said...

It sounds to me like you don't really like the UFF all that much - you just think you do because it's so important to you that she like you.

A few years ago I had a reunion with my college housemates and as we were sitting around conversing I had a very familiar sensation of not fitting in - these people think I'm boring, I fretted, even though no one had implied any such thing. And then it dawned one me - I think that they're boring!

That was the first time it had ever occurred to me that I don't actually have to try so hard to fit in - I can just choose to spend time with the people that I'm actually compatible with.

Robbin said...

I think even the ones that are courageous and independent on the outside have those "do they like me?" moments. Some level of yearning for social approval is built into our human makeup. Some are just less honest about it.

kittenpie said...

Sounds like she's one of the mean moms to me - but maybe it's just because you describe her as powerful and not someone to have as an enemy. Doesn't that have that note to it? And frankly, those people pretty much leave you alone if you leave them alone, because they have no power if you don't want to be in their orb - they can't withhold.

And, um, my Starbucks is on the Danforth...

Suzanne said...

I have many of the same issues when it comes to being liked. In fact, there's a woman in my neighborhood who, like your unfriend, just doesn't seem to like me. And I used to fret over it -- she's friends with another neighbor whom I am actually friends with, so what gives?

I've decided to adopt my usual coping mechanism for such occasions: "Well, I wouldn't actually want to be friends with her, either. Nyah nyah nyah."

Okay, so I'm still working out the mature behavior kinks.

penelopeto said...

It's the why that sometimes gets to me - why doesn't someone like me, when everybody else seems to, and also, why don't I like them - when everybody else seems to.

I find this the hardest to deal with at work. In real life, I don't have to pretend to like anyone.

Pendullum said...

That is just a mean mom...well, who cares really that she is a mom... She just seems to be an uncaring, snarky person who believes in her own self importance...
But that said it is easy to armchair criticize and tell you that she does not matter...
when apparently you do...
I think that you seem to have a lot 'going on' that is good and its a shame that this woman does not see it...

metro mama said...

Fuck her. There are too many cool people out there. Look for people who are new to the city who are open to new friendships. That organizing PTA type usually isn't much fun.