Now Even Worse than “Awkward”

Two weeks ago, I shared an experience Rob and I had describing how we’d bumped into a couple whom we’ve not seen in a year and a half despite our several suggestions for our families to get together.

If you didn’t read it, here is the link: Awkward

Fourteen days later, we were back at the same athletic complex, but this time their child’s team and our child’s team were playing one another. Rob and I tend to watch these indoor soccer games from midfield (think nine o’clock orientation); they were on the far side end (think one o’clock). As soon as I saw their child on the field, I started scanning around  and spotted them. Whether they did the same thing upon seeing our child, I don’t know.

Ten minutes into the 50-minute game, Rob says, “I think we should go over and say ‘hello.'” A discussion ensues between the two of us. Result: he goes over; I don’t. My refusal to go over was not due to any inkling I had that they’d read the original “Awkward” post. (In fact, I’d venture to guess they haven’t taken an interest in this blog — much in the same way they seem to have no interest in spending time with our family.) My refusal to go over and chit-chat with them rested in my feeling so deeply hurt by what I perceive as their willful neglect of our two-decades-long friendship.

My heart rate ticked up as I watched Rob head over. As much as I tried to look interested in the soccer game, which separated me from them, I was distracted wondering what I was missing. Their body language seemed to show it was only an idle conversation. Less than ten minutes later, Rob was back.

Reluctant as I was to ask right then –fearing he’d say something which would cause me to have a visible reaction — I said, “And how’d that go?” (Rob is a perceptive guy. He picks up on a lot of sub-surface happenings. I trusted his assessment would be concise and accurate.)

He turned to me and said, “I don’t know. Maybe we did something to upset them, maybe not.”

I probed, I inquired, I cross-examined. And there was Rob: squarely on the fence. (A tiny voice in my head said, “You should have gone over, you big baby. Then you’d have your own conclusion to make.”)

After the game, they went one way, we went the other, no paths crossed.

Then came the “debrief.” We analyzed the happenings: both recent and historical. We discussed tactics: both proactive and dismissive. We assessed worth: both of the friendship and of our “dignity.”

In the end, what did we settle on?

I decided to send them both the link to my two-week-old “Awkward” post. Rob wanted it to be couched in a preamble or introduced with a gentle explanation or conclude with an invitation to discuss the situation. I retorted by explaining that my post was a 900-word preambled, explained invitation to them to clear the air.

I sent it to them: the naked link.

(I believe they saw it based on my interpretation of my stats page: there were two “visits” to the “Awkward” post which seemingly came “direct” rather than through FB, Twitter, Google+, etc.)

And all day yesterday we waited for an email or a call or a carrier pigeon.

None came.

So now I am left feeling worse than awkward. I’m left feeling like I shared 900 reflective, intimate, and vulnerable thoughts with people I have deeply cared about only to be left wondering.

What will I do if they never take the time to share their thoughts? I suppose there’s nothing “to do” except try to go into that sport complex head up and shoulders back with the belief that there’s only so much coaxing one can do to get a horse to drink.

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17 thoughts on “Now Even Worse than “Awkward”

  1. My father used to say extending an olive branch leaves you unprotected and with potential to be hurt, but is always the right thing to do regardless of the outcome. I was always able to make friends despite my family moving around the country, I still have a small core of those friends from childhood, although none of us live even remotely close to one another. I’ve tried to help Callie along and keep her in touch with friends who have moved on to kindergarten, but it is pretty much a futile battle. It seems to me as if the children have moved on that the parents have moved on too and neither one looks back, wants to foster those connections to “old friends”. I think it is just the way our society is now, out of sight out of mind – too much effort to maintain the past let’s just move on to the next big thing.

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      1. I absolutely agree, but unfortunately there are only so many times I can reach out, try to schedule a play date, invite out for coffee or events. It was a bitter pill, but what was worse was the tying myself in knots trying to figure out the “what went wrong” or “why won’t they respond”. I felt healthy once I took a deep look and realized there were better things to fret about.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think, Jenna, that perhaps no one is at fault, but you have moved on. Some people are funny that way, and it is easier to say “We are busy” than to physically break a once tightly held bond. Perhaps it is you that needs to break this bond, using your words. Or perhaps, you just did. You may never get your explanation, because there really is not one to give. I am sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jenna,
    Not many people are as kind and direct as you are. Most people don’t make the effort. You deserve friends who you look forward to seeing/spending time with and who look forward to seeing/spending time with you. You did everything you could to save the friendship, and if I were you, I would walk away and make it their loss. That being said, it does suck when someone snubs you and doesn’t have the guts to just say why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Elaine for your thoughts on this. I think part of the problem is me: I’m someone who — foolishly and to my own detriment — tends to think the worse in situations like this. My yoga practice is all about “loss of attachment,” i.e., not hanging on to anything with an expectation or agenda. You’d think going six times a week would “fix” this. It hasn’t yet . . . I’ll be going tomorrow — AGAIN to try to find a quiet mind on my mat.

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  4. Ooh Jenna, this is juicy stuff. Thank you so much for being brave enough to write and post. I’ve had a few female friendships come to similar ends in the last several years and it has been painful and difficult. No explanation offered, polite words offered on chance meetings, etc. In the end we can only be the best friend we can be with the people who want to be friends with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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