Monday, August 25, 2014

Frenemy



It's been a year now, and I'm ready to talk about it.

I got dumped.

Friend Dumped that is.

First of all, I'd like to say that this is my point of view. Obviously I only have one side of the story. I will readily admit that I have huge faults, this story is just my account of what happened.

In January of 2012 I was introduced to a local blog that was looking for contributors. I went to an introductory meeting and met a lot of great people. I didn't start writing articles right away, but I started contributing photos and volunteering for events. I thought this time I spent made me not only a contributor but also a friend of the editors. Especially the Main Editor.

Main Editor has a child who is a similar age to my youngest, and we had some similarities in our backgrounds. After we became friends on Facebook I started spending a lot of time with her. She'd post things on Facebook, asking for rides or a babysitter so she could take care of blog business. She had neither a car or a drivers license. Since I was a stay at home mom with Joe not in school I had lots of time, a car, and no job. I volunteered a lot for these tasks.

We'd also meet up for playdates with other moms and kids, sometimes we'd meet at a park and sometimes I'd pick her up and drive. Over the months I became friends with the other two editors and started getting invited to more social events. Birthday parties, karaoke nights, barbecues. I was always happy to be a designated driver, since I was driving a huge Suburban and don't drink.

In June I started writing articles. In October I was put on "probation". I still don't really know why.

Now, just to set the record straight, I really thought we were friends. She confided in me. She invited me to things. Not everything was "Can anybody [give me a ride, watch my kid, help out]!?!" and I just happened to be able to do it.  She specifically contacted me too. I was there to listen to her personal problems. I was there to be supportive during her pregnancy. I took her to prenatal appointments in another town and watched her daughter for her so she could go alone. Another of the editors and I threw her a baby shower.

All this time I was also contributing and volunteering for her local blog. I was a friend and an employee. Only, I worked for free.

Once, she watched Joe so I could go to my Female Doctor alone. Once, she gave me $5 in gas money. Once, she gave me leftover brownies.

At the baby shower the other hostess provided Thank You notes, we had everyone address their own envelopes so that the new mom just had to write them and mail them. I did get a thank you note. In it she called me a "crafty such-and-such". I don't even know what that means.

That was all the thanks I got. Ever.

In May of 2013 I received an email from "the Editors" listing all the things I was doing wrong for the blog. Listing how horrible and embarrassing I'd been. The email came out of the blue and I was dumbstruck.

I was devastated.

I literally cried for a whole weekend.

I composed myself and sent an email back. I apologized for everything and tried to explain myself. I never heard back.

I could see that the email was sent from the Main Editor and that the other two editors had only been cc'd on it. I contacted them and they were just as surprised as I was.

I continued doing what I'd been doing, writing articles and volunteering for events, but I started to watch things a little more closely. Main Editor still asked for favors, still made empty promises of reciprocation, but I stopped volunteering. I noticed that whenever anyone else needed help she never stepped up. Ever.

Then, I noticed that I wasn't seeing her many, many self-promoting Facebook statuses any more. I noticed that when I volunteered for things for the local blog they were handed to other people unless there was nobody else to do it. All the perks went to other people. Never to me. In my year and a half of volunteering I got free tickets to one show, and the only reason I managed that was because the original person couldn't go. I had been with the blog longer than anyone (other than the editors) and I was constantly and consistently passed over. The new people were more important to her than I was.

In July I realized that she'd "unfriended" me.

I was never fired, I was passive-aggressively pushed out.

In August 2013 I asked one of the other editors to remove my material from the local blog and I left the blog's Facebook group.

Some time after that she blocked me on Facebook. I'm still blocked. I only know this because we have mutual friends and sometimes I see them reply to her in their posts.

I never posted publicly about this before now. I discussed it with the other editors, and I chatted about things with a few friends. That's it.

I still don't know what I did wrong.

Honestly, I don't care.

I know that I was a good friend. I spent my time, money, and emotions on a relationship that was one sided. I promoted her and her projects with enthusiasm. I was never anything but friendly and supportive. I gave and gave.

I got used up. When I had nothing more to give I was dumped and she moved on to other willing targets.

This has been a lesson to me. I've learned to look at my relationships. I've learned to be a little more selfish. I now know that any relationship is only good if it's balanced.

That doesn't mean that I expect payback for every little thing. It means that friendships are supposed to be mutually beneficial. I get just as much out of it as I put into it.

I've found that I have a lot of surface friends. People who are willing to turn up when there's going to be fun but are nowhere to be found when I just need somebody to listen to me cry for a while.

I also found have a few deeper friends. People who will come sit and chat with me while I do housework because I'll go crazy otherwise. People who will remember my birthday without Facebook reminding them. People who actually care about me. People who appreciate me.

******

Joe still sometimes asks to play with her little girl. It breaks my heart every time I have to tell him that her mom doesn't like me any more, so his friend can't come over and play.


No comments: