Author Topic: Friendship Moments: good or bad  (Read 9167 times)

Hopalong

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Friendship Moments: good or bad
« on: September 29, 2020, 01:27:19 PM »
Only HERE would I tell this sorry tale! (TMI alert.)

I met two women yesterday, both in my covenant group, one I've known much longer (she's the pal who lets me pee in her yard if I need a break during errands). I'll call her Mary B. She's shown a touch of a bully side on rare occasions when she teases too much but I think it came from being one of six kids. I teased her back about it once and she apologized. She's generally very kind and loves the group very much. And has often told me how much she'd like us to visit each other often.

The other woman, I'll call her Patio, is relatively new. She's very cool and sophisticated and lived all over the world, but seems emotionally troubled at times. She introduced herself initially with great uncertainty and fragility and told us that "people don't like me." And said that to me several times over. So of course I immediately decided I would like her (rescue), and gently challenged her notion that nobody could like or understand her, and was very compassionate about hard stuff she was going through, which she repeatedly thanked me for. She remains generally guarded and I figured it's just some trauma she carries (grew up in multiple countries).

Anyway, I'd emailed her to see if she'd like a patio visit while a housecleaner was here and she mentioned that Mary B was coming and she thought I could come too. I checked with Mary B who said it'd be fine, did my errands and met them there. ("Patio" is a long story about her huge elegant patio that she talked about over and over because it was difficult to get done and traumatic because of a crappy contractor, etc. It is gorgeous and she's very proud of it, justifiably.)

So, when I have to be out of the house for four hours I obviously worry about/try to plan for pee breaks, since I'd need at least two. First time I found some woods in her neighborhood. Then we all were talking and drinking wine and I was beginning to worry I might be talking too much (race issues in this town, which I feel so personally, were top of mind) but it was generally pleasant. I think my spidey-sense was going off about being a third wheel in some way but I didn't tune in or throttle myself back as I should have. For whatever reason, I expressed real passion about the downtown developments that have rolled right over poor people of color, and she looked at me and said, "I feel anxiety listening to you and that's not the conversation we're having. We're talking about food and my flowers, not that." It was her cold tone. I felt exactly as though I'd just been told I wasn't socially appropriate and it was a direct launch to memories of being an outcast among females in childhood. Hit an ancient bruise. So I was in shock at her tone and my jaw kind of dropped and then she added "and of course you'd prefer to have this feedback, wouldn't you." I sort of nodded and suddenly realized I really had to pee urgently and headed off to my car to fetch a tissue before going into the woods and didn't make it. Just flooded myself. She said sort of languidly (zero empathy), do you want to borrow some pants? I said no, I'll just go home.

I felt doubly humiliated and so upset I cried in the car on the way home. Wow. Been a long time since I've had that vibe. Brought it on myself maybe, but yuck.

I'm just sorting through it because I'll have to see both these women again and I don't want anything to congeal that could be toxic to covenant group. I can certainly stop socializing with them outside of that. I emailed them both thanking them for the visit and said I was sorry I hadn't done better at "regulating my intensity" but that "even at 70, social skills can still improve! Love, Hops". And I haven't heard a word back from either of them. So I even wrote the one I'm closer to separately and just apologized for interfering with her visit with Patio.

What makes me sad is that neither of them reached out with any empathy. I would have, if someone had been dressed down by the elegant hostess and then had an embarrassing pee accident. I'd just have said, don't worry about that, I know it happens to everybody sometime, but I could tell you were upset. Just something.

Not.
a.
peep.

Feeling sorry for myself,
Hops

PS- MUCH better and healing quick. Talked to my favorite crone, veteran of more years of such groups than me...and we tore right through it. The host's tone triggered an inner "little girl who got expelled from the bday party and knew she had done something wrong but not quite, and peed herself on the way out of the house" -- feeling. BUT, that feeling was MY interpretation of HER and I don't need to carry it along. Did the best I could and talking with my friend, my humiliation disappeared. No more sorry for myself. I'll just let it come or go or flow and mention it to my T and it'll probably lead to some valuable insight or other. All is well. (I was feeling worried that this little fiffle might impact the group in some way. If it does then I still have options: schedule a talk with them both so we can connect in a healing way, let it go, etc. Nothing to do now but really, nothing (other than describe it to T and see what insights about early-Hops come up.) I felt big relief.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 05:40:18 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Friendship Moments: good and bad
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 01:48:04 PM »
Hops, I'm so sorry that happened to you and can imagine that each incident alone would be very upsetting; both together like that is very hard to deal with.  However, I'm not as compassionate as you (sorry!) - they sound like a couple of bitches! It's not down to Patio pants to decide what can and can't be talked about, or to shut you down like that, especially in front of someone else.  "You'd prefer to have this feedback" sounds very passive aggressive to me and like she's getting you to agree it's alright for her to speak to you like that.  It isn't.  You're not at an interview; 'feedback' isn't necessary.  If she was genuinely upset by what you were saying (why she would be I don't know) then her saying, "would you mind if we don't talk about that as it upsets me" would be fine but she shut you down in a very rude and unnecessary way.  And the subsequent response to your accident and follow up emails is inexcusable.  I don't know what kind of manners they've been raised with but if someone comes to my home I look after them and make sure they're comfortable and I'd most definitely write back if they emailed me afterwards to say thank you for having them.  No way would you be crying in your car on the way home.  They are both on my arse kicking list now. 

There's nothing there for you to be feeling responsible for; expressing concern for other people is what we should all be hearing more of!  Who the bejesus wants to talk about food and flowers?!  You can see now why people don't like her :) I wouldn't make any more effort with them if there isn't a very nice email in your inbox at some point; you can be polite and not get involved any more than that.  Argh they remind me of the stuck up girls at school!  And some of the yummy mummies I've had to contend with over the years.  Sisterhood's a concept that's escaped some people, unfortunately.  If they upset you again I'm coming over there to sort them out!!  I hope you feel better soon, there's nothing there that you've done wrong.  They both need to give their heads a wobble. xx

Hopalong

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Re: Friendship Moments: good and bad
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2020, 02:49:05 PM »
Tupp, you are the BEST.
Talk about having a tiger on your side!

Thanks, hon. (((((((Tupp)))))))

big hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: Friendship Moments: good and bad
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2020, 05:36:30 PM »
The one I've known quite a while responded to my apologetic email and said: I love spending time with you, you didn't mess up my visit at all you just changed it, and when can we get together?

What a healing feeling.

I just think I'll be cautious going forward about the other person, because I don't think she knows how she sounds or seems sometimes. I don't have to ruminate on rejection and I feel better. I'll just mentally send her kindness. But not expose my belly, so to speak.

Thanks for listening. Such a early-life trigger-thing to process but it surprised me how strong it was.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2020, 02:52:53 AM »
You are so much nicer than me, Hopsie, I'd still be fuming.  You send kindness vibes and I'll send "get lost, dumb arse" vibes :)  Lol.  I'm glad you're feeling better xx

Hopalong

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2020, 08:27:54 AM »
I do! Nothing like a little humiliation to reset the humanity meter.
I can laugh about it today.

Amazing how much stress the no-public-bathroom-visits pledge adds to a day.
I might even invest in one of those Tinkle Belles. I will feel pretty cool whizzing standing up!

In hindsight I think Patio's way of getting me to change the subject was tone deaf and not very sensitive. Then again, it may be that this was something she actually didn't know how to do. Her bluntness might be involuntary in some way. I'm not inclined to hang out with her more to find out, but I'm letting it go.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2020, 10:10:31 AM »
Hops... maybe SHE had to pee, but it was so important to her to be the center of attention she couldn't let the topic drift away into what other people had in their head or on their heart to talk about... that's why she "punished" you for bringing up your topic.

I tend to take note of those kinds of things but typically don't react in a group setting. If it's all the get together was about - everyone making her the center of attention and letting her dictate - I'd simply excuse myself and say I'd just remembered there was something I need to do today and gone home. Talk about a Queen Bee.

Watching grass grow or trying to estimate how thick the dust is on a surface is way more interesting to me and a better use of my time.

Says the grumpy old hermit lady. LOLOL. I didn't get a lot of sleep.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2020, 10:53:19 AM »
Not grumpy, sensible!
Thanks, ((((Amber)))) -- I think you're right.

She is needing something right now and maybe bragging
and controlling her guests was the only way she sees to do it.
She talked a lot about a lavish party she throws every year
and how much praise she gets for it. Just...not my project.

Meanwhile, REAL friend stepped right up (in her reply) and
I have another coming by later and will be seeing or Zooming
with at least 4 people coming up soon.

I don't NEED to win the heart of Mean Girl. But do need to
hold on to compassion for her, as I lead the group. I can do it.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2020, 11:55:29 AM »
Hops:

If you get your nose off the Pebble, see the entire field....w/ o judgment,...it's just information you need to make choices.
information.

Patio lady not gracious.... she's a poor hostess.  You trying to save her didn't go unpunished.  She told you who she is.  Now you believe her....she has sharp edges.  Just information.

You still feel comfortable caretaking and rescuing others.  Just information.

Other, closer friend is a more positive influence in your life.  Just information.

Not good or bad......just what it is.

One more thing.....it made me so happy to read about you peeing in yards!  My girls have enjoyed doing that since very time.  Some people are ok and comfortable with that....and as I learned from some friends and neighbors....some are decidedly not.

Oh well.  You're always ok and lovely, just as you are....here, ((Hops.))

Lighter
P.S. Still pecking out posts with one finger so add 2 cups of compassion and leave out a pinch of what might seem being ordered about; )  You got this when you remember to be kind to yourself, drop judgment and accept everything as it is, right?


Hopalong

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2020, 03:46:34 PM »
Thank you, ((((Lighter!)))))).
Yes to all you said. I really appreciate it.

Told my T the tale today, including how I processed it, what I did for myself in that light (such as sharing here) and how rapidly I began to feel fine again. I AM fine.

She was so validating. Like a T-Tupp!

I added that I don't want to villainize Patio. She's doing what she's learned or taught herself to be okay in the world. And I don't have to cultivate any increased closeness with her....I can put her farther back a "ring" in my safety orbit. Keep her at a safe distance and know that my reflexive "fix it" attraction to colder people isn't necessary. (Little Hops wanted to placate, soothe and befriend the bullies. I'm no longer Little Hops.)

T made me feel good. Told me she'd have been very upset herself and completely understood what happened. She also said she thought my overall process/response was "evolved" because my concluding point was holding onto connection in community, and about how I'd be able to continue to be in group with Patio, because I recognize that she has an inner child too, who learned a way to manage her difficult world. I don't have to encourage more personal involvement (apart from responding to an appeal for help as we all offer each other) nor closer friendship. But I can still hold her humanity with compassion. I intend to.

Whew. I can weep! I can pee! I can cry! And that's all fine!

Liquidly,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2020, 02:26:13 AM »
I'm glad you've sorted it all out in your mind, Hops, and I'm so impressed that you're able to be so gracious about it all.  I'd have spent the last two days making voodo dolls ;) Lol xx

sKePTiKal

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2020, 07:58:30 AM »
HA! "Liquidly"....

Be the water Hops. When a pebble drops in, SPLASH!, the rings spread out and become slower & lower... until the surface is all a calm reflection of the deep stillness at the bottom of the pool.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2020, 12:33:06 PM »
Well in spite of my lofty goals and desire to be spurchul and compassionate when hurt, Tupp, it's pretty amazing to have a friend whose mind goes to mental arse-kickings and voodoo dolls when the occasion inspires... I think you and my T would really get along!

Lighter, you're an instant meditation champ. There's a chance that if I keep thinking about water, though.... j/k. :)

It's pretty late in life to have figured this out, but I do think I've finally figured out that if you're quite sensitive in how you're wired, it's a good idea to avoid people who seem unkind (or who act that way out of unawareness). So I'm stuck with Patio but being in a "circle" with her anyway will give me an opportunity to examine boundaries, how well I hold them in silence and peace, etc.

Sometimes the Mean Girl in some women scents vulnerability like a bloodhound. So my opportunity will be to learn whether I can respect and hold my vulnerability while holding off her reflex to engage it.

I do have a better idea why she has commented so often about her social difficulty and how "nobody gets her" or "people don't like her." I don't want her to be lonely or disliked but MORE THAN THAT, I don't want to be a person who tries to fix her.

She's going through some very hard stuff right now (a mate with a terminal diagnosis). I've already volunteered to sit with him if she needs a break. My hunch, though, is that she will withdraw from me and not reach out any more. Just a feeling. (She might even leave the group, which would be unfortunate but I think maybe consistent with some patterns she's mentioned.)

Either way, that condescending "correction" was all I needed to know that she's not someone I can be myself around or be vulnerable.

It's kind of weird though, because the whole point of covenant groups is to build relationships in which you CAN be vulnerable and let down your guard. With all the other women in it, I'd be comfortable doing that. But now I know there's a different possibility with her, I'll have to figure out how to manage this. Both as the group leader and as a participant. Might not be easy.

A good thing is that I'm doing a training workshop with the new minister that's about a similar kind of small group, and participating in that will allow new connections with a good group of people too. There's ONE person in it whom I believe has boundary issues and has encroached on a friend's mate inappropriately so I avoid her. She approached me several times wanting to connect and I finally realized my spidey sense said, No, this vibe isn't healthy for me. So again, if you do group things...you've got to have some sense of participation balanced with self care. A good challenge, because it's just a microcosm of life in the world.

hugs
Hops
« Last Edit: October 01, 2020, 03:50:23 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2020, 10:35:20 PM »
You sound really good, Hops.

Growth is painful stuff, IME.  I wish the lessons came with a little notice, kwim?

Lighter

Hopalong

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Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2020, 09:42:56 AM »
Sure do, Lighter.
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."