Thursday, January 04, 2007

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

It's not very often that I talk about my friends other than the bullshit we talk about on a daily basis or what we eat for lunch or even a horrible waxing accident. But today I'm breaking that rule.

I've been friends with Robin for almost 9 years now. We work together - she's our accounting manager and I depend on her a lot not only for work stuff, but we eat lunch together almost every day and we talk a lot. A whole lot. Now, the first thing I have to tell you is that Robin is 62 years old. A little older than my typical friends, but we have a ton of stuff in common and I do enjoy her friendship a lot. I'm not going through the entire list, but you get the drift. But in a lot of ways we are as opposite as can be. I'm outgoing - she's agoraphobic. I'm conservative - she is liberal. I take a lot of pride in my appearance and dress - her, not so much. I could go on and on. But it's never mattered to me - what mattered was that she is my friend and I value her friendship.

One of the things that I dislike the most about Robin is that she tends to be very vocal about her feelings and sometimes she is so harsh that it really hurts your feelings. An example of this would be one of the girls in the office got pregnant (by her fiancee - not planned but they were very excited about it) so Robin took the opportunity to tell this girl that she was ruining her life by having a child with her fiancee. Oh, and did I mention that Robin actually likes the fiancee?

About a year ago when I came back to the office, Robin became very threatened by my friendships with the guys that I had worked with in the field - to the point that she called me all drunk one night and accused me of having an affair with one of them. I was very hurt, and despite my constantly telling her that it wasn't true I still to this day don't think she believes me. So that tension has been building between us for the entire past year. In all honesty, I think she was jealous that I had new friends that I had been having lunch with and even when I came back to the office I would meet the guys for lunch once a week just to catch up.

Things haven't been the same between us since then. I find myself censoring what I say for fear of what she will say. And lately, she's been making very nasty little comments to me. Recently, she has called me "vain", "conceited" and "materialistic". Now, I talk a bunch of smack on the blog here for entertainment value, but in real life I think I'm a lot deeper than wearing the latest fashion or what car I'm driving. I care a lot about my friends, almost to the point where I will almost always put them first over myself. So to hear all of this from someone that I've considered a close friend cuts me to the quick.

Yes, she has issues. Her mother apparently had serious mental problems in her 60's and I know for a fact that Robin is petrified of turning into a "nutjob" like she claims her mom was. She also, I think, has a drinking problem. She has been married 3 times and has no husband or kids. Sometimes I think that one day we'll find her in her house half-eaten by all the pets she has.

So what I've been thinking all day is - how much can I tolerate without rocking the boat? We have a very tight-knit little group at work, we're all close friends, and everyone has commented lately how Robin seems to slowly be losing it in different ways. Part of me wants to turn the other cheek and chalk it all up to her getting older and maybe a little eccentric...but the other part just wants to walk away. And I can't do that.

Part of the trait of a Saggitarian is that we are loyal friends to the end. Recently another friendship of mine was tested and I thought over - and apparently it hasn't gasped it's last breath yet. We're speaking again, although I've kind of lowered my expectations in this friendship and am trying to readjust my thinking about what I want out of it.

So if I can do that with one friend, can I do it with another one? I don't know. I really don't know if my skin is thick enough.

This week is wearing me out.


g-man said...

It sounds to me like there is really no question as to whether or not to try, but is there enough support for you if things should go sour. I think that there is, and knowing that ahead of time might make for a better outcome. I think that friends are worth another chance.

Mitzi Green said...

but you ARE vain, conceited, and materialistic. that's why i love you. ;)

i find that generally when people start climbing up your ass, the problem is usually theirs. unless, like the old saying goes, "if everyone around you is an asshole, maybe YOU'RE the asshole." in your case, it sounds like she's having some major issues that aren't your problem.

adult friendships are a bitch. harder even, in my opinion, than marriage.