Off the Face of the Earth

24 May

flickr: abeautifulparty

My mother once told me that for some people it must seem like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. She’s amazed that I can one day just decide to stop talking to someone and basically ostracize them from my life. She’s so dramatic. My mother doesn’t realize that I have to think about making this decision before I decide anything. There’s a thought process that must occur before a choice is made.

For instance, I made the decision to drop all contact with a girl with whom I’d taken dance for several years. We’d done tap duets together and had performed in many of the same routines. We stayed over at each other’s homes a lot and IMed back when AIM was the sole social networking venture. As we got older and went into high school things started to change, especially my senior year. I was growing tired of dance. I lived and breathed it since I was ten and by the time I’d turned 16 I’d decided I’d had enough. I wanted to get a job and just have a normal life before going off to college.

I noticed on many outings with Minda that she tended to draw close to her school friends. We rarely did anything with just the two of us together anymore, and I’m nothing if not more of a one-on-one person – or I was at 17, anyway.

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not being outgoing or social enough,” I told my cousin Em. “Maybe this is my fault.”

“No,” Em said.. “You’re her friend, you’re her guest. She should try to include you more instead of just inviting you out with people you don’t know and expecting you to be able to jump right in. Especially, when she’s naturally more comfortable around them.”

I guess I would be lying if I said Emily’s opinion didn’t heavily influence my decision, but that’s what best friends are for. You listen more to the opinions of those you trust, and I’d trust Emily with anything. She knew my personality better than Minda did, anyway, and she didn’t like to see me come back from an outing feeling out of sorts because I didn’t feel comfortable hanging out with them.

The difference between going out with Em and going out with Minda is that Em knew me better in three months than Minda did in seven years. Yes, now things are different. I have more in common with Em’s friends than I did Minda’s, and I’ve changed a lot since high school. I’m becoming a little more sociable now that I actually have somewhat of a social life. Em knew that I preferred one-on-one time with my friends, but when she did suggest we go out with other people, she always made me feel a part of the group. Now, her friends are my friends.

The frustrating part is that my parents don’t recognize this. “What’s Minda doing after graduaton?” my mom asked once.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“You don’t know anything, do you?”

I shrugged my eyebrows. My dad made a disapproving “uh” sound that is probably only popular in the South. “Now, Lauren, you and Minda used to be such good friends and now you don’t ever talk to her.”

“I did talk to her,” I said on my way to the refrigerator to get something to drink, “at Target that one time a couple months ago.” I shoved my glass against the release handle under the water dispenser. “But I haven’t talked to her since.”

I felt aggravated that my dad assumed that just because Minda and I used to hang out a lot that we were once “such good friends.” That was probably just me judging my dad harshly, because logically one would think that when teenage girls hang out regularly they must be pretty good friends.

That’s the thing about my parents, though. They loved Minda, and they were disappointed when they realized we weren’t talking anymore. They were doubly disappointed when they realized I was spending more time with Emily. Emily’s ten years older than I am, and when I was 17 that didn’t sit well with my parents. When I turned 18 and went off to college my dad told me that wasn’t grounds for me to start talking to Emily again. When they found out that’s exactly what I started doing, they were angry. It’s taken me three years to fight for a friendship I had every right to have in the first place.

Over this period of time I’ve done a lot of thinking about my mom’s comment. Em is the only person I’ve kept in contact with regularly since I was 17. I still talk to maybe a handful of people I went to school with, but no more than that. I still care about those people, but Emily is the one with whom I genuinely clicked. I mean, she quite literally caught me when I was falling off the toilet once because I was having a bad case of #2 and was about to pass out. Now that’s friendship, there.

I’ve learned to start letting my parents’ comments roll off my shoulders. Not all of them roll off as easily, but I’ve also learned, like most things, that it’s a growing process.

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5 Responses to “Off the Face of the Earth”

  1. Helene May 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    It’s hard when your parents seem more attached to your friends than you do!!

  2. Maggie S. May 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    OOPs Stopping by from SITS.

  3. Maggie S. May 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    It sounds like she felt the same way, but perhaps didn’t know how to step back. You never know. Sounds like grace to me.

  4. carina May 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    I get it – Life is short, surround yourself with people who build you up!

  5. Bernie May 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Its hard when parents like the friends and you grow apart. My best friend from elementary school and I had a HUGE falling out. We didn’t talk for YEARS. Which meant for years, my parents would ask about her. It got to the point that I told them to call her if they wanted to know how she was doing. *lol* I can so relate to this post.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. 🙂

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