When Friendships Go Bad It’s Time to Clean Your Shoes!
I’ve always been a people-pleaser. That’s okay some of the time, but when it gets to the point where I start feeling used and abused, it’s time to check the bottom of my shoes. Oh, no! Too late! Dog doody! I try to watch where I step but inevitably I always get involved in looking straight ahead when I walk. I get so caught up in my little jaunt that I don’t pay attention to the signs around me, then before I realize it — -splat!! Another shoe sole bites the dust!! Of course I’m not literally talking about stepping in dog shit, because I very rarely do. Figurative dog shit, however, is another story. I’ve always been a master at stepping in figurative dog shit when it comes to relationships. I’m a very trustful and compassionate person who believes in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt because I know that no one is perfect, including myself. That’s what I was always taught as a good Christian girl is to do unto others as what you’d want others to do unto you….something like that….not great at bible verses. See? As you can see I’m not perfect. But I know what common decency is. Unfortunately, many people lack it. Go figure!
Case in point. I’ve been friends with a woman, Katie(real name changed)for over 15 years. We met in group therapy. She was struggling with family and relationship issues as I was. We both had that in common, so naturally we became fast friends after therapy ended. She started embarking on new relationships as I did. We often compared notes and chewed the fat together about boyfriends and family. But then things started changing. I got better with choosing healthier men to date, while I believe she stagnated. While I was trying not to make the same mistakes that led me into therapy in the first place, Katie used no such caution. She got involved with a divorced man whom she met online. He was very open and honest by telling her that he had cheated on his first wife. Ahem! This should have been a red flag to her, but she chose to stay in the relationship, even agreeing to give up her apartment and move in with him. During that time, Katie often suspected that Fred was still talking to other women online. She never had proof it was happening but still didn’t trust him. At that point she asked me to spy on him since at the time I was on Match.com and could look to see if he was on. I flat out refused. I told her that if she can’t trust this man that she should confront him herself. Katie became indignant but I stood my ground and she eventually gave up. She never found out if he was actually still talking to other women online, and then it got forgotten and swept under the carpet. Although Fred never wanted to remarry, after years of living together, he finally agreed but with the stipulation that they have a bare bones ceremony with a judge and that she agree to sign a prenup….how romantic!
They recently bought a house down south but came to NJ to visit her brother, who lives in the same town as my husband and I. I had recently moved to this town and wanted her and Fred to come visit to see our new home and have a quick bite. I understood they had other visits to make but that it would be hours before they had to leave. They were only 10 minutes away from us and refused to come by, even though it was early afternoon, and they didn’t have to leave for Westchester until 4. They told us we could come by the house if we wanted to but that they had to get showered and dressed to leave for dinner. We agreed to come, even though it was obvious that we were not that important to them. Shit! I felt like a real glutton for punishment after that. Why? Because it wasn’t the first time I got tossed aside like an old rag. And what do I do? I bend over and ask her to kick me again! I invested all these years in being the giver, but getting nothing in return! Trips back and forth to her condo in Hoboken. She never budged to come my way. Dinner and gifts for her on birthdays, but not even an acknowledgement for mine. A visit to her new home in Boca Raton to treat and cook for dinner was never really appreciated. The last straw was when Katie and Fred refused to go 10 minutes out of their way to make us part of their visit to the east coast. Now I am just as guilty for not learning my lesson. Okay I stepped in dog shit again! But the difference now is that I am not going to bend down again, and most importantly, I will not throw out the shitty shoe. You know why? Because I am the shoe that needs to walk the path. From now on I will watch where I walk, and try my hardest not to step in figurative dog shit. But if I do, because it happens to the best of us, I will scrape it off! And you should, too! Know when a friendship, or so-called friendship, has gone bad, and then you’ll know when it’s time to clean your shoes!