The Pregnancy Diaries: 36 Weeks (On Toxic Friendships)
I’ve actually had this post sat in my drafts for yonkers, but been too scared to hit publish. In its original iteration I wanted to write about friendship in general because I’d recently had (by recently, I mean over the past year) a fair few thoughts about my mates. Some good, some bad, some downright icky. But I worried about pressing publish because I didn’t want to ‘out’ anyone as having been a crappy friend. Then I realised, who cares? The crappy friends aren’t gonna read it anyway, and even if they did — I guess the fact I’m calling them crappy friends is enough to let you know I give less f@cks about whether they are upset by this post.
If you’ve read any of the previous posts in my pregnancy diaries series you’ll know I’ve had a pretty easy ride so far. I’ve loved pregnancy, to the extent I’ve been at my best physically and mentally too (not what I expected given my history) and overall, I’ve probably been pretty insufferable. Which is why, I surmised, certain friends seem to have avoided me…..or phase me out altogether.
And this isn’t pregnancy related, I think it’s potentially and quite probably affected us all at some point in our lives. Getting engaged, getting a cool new job, going travelling, buying a house……why, as women, do we suffer fools at these big moments in our life? You could certainly put it down to a simple case of jealousy, for sure, and that’s what most of us tend to conclude right? Ahhh they’re just jealous, not worth my time.
They’re just jealous…..or are they?
But what if they aren’t just jealous, and those endless blue ticks on Whats App signifying they’ve read….and not responded to your breezy platitudes mean they just don’t like you anymore?
Sidenote: the blue ticks are genuinely the worst invention ever, right?
Having spent years travelling and living semi-nomadically all over the world (ahem, mostly in Asia) I guess I grew a little used to making friendships I knew wouldn’t necessarily last. Fleeting friendships that I’d come to rely on while in a place, and easily forget when I left. That’s not to say I don’t value these people, and a couple of them have become actual friends now. I guess what I mean is that maybe I became used to not having to cultivate long-term friendships and the effort that often goes into sustaining them.
If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, you might just shake it off. Put it down to the other person being busy, having lots going on in their own lives and move on, unscathed. And I guess I did that too, at first (or at least, I pretended to do that too). I even got a little tough love from a mutual friend, which I took to heart (in a good way) and looked at how I presented myself too. All to no avail.
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” C.S. Lewis
Why do we question ourselves?
Am I annoying now I’m pregnant? Was I always annoying and being pregnant simply tipped me into the super-annoying scale? Have my, undoubtedly, bonkers life choices over the past couple of years made certain people think I’m not someone they want in their life anymore, or have anything in common with?
Who knows. Maybe it’s none of these things and maybe, just maybe — it’s not me at all. Because, spoiler alert, the world doesn’t revolve around me (SAY WHAT, MOTHER F@@CKER?). At the same time though, I can’t help feeing like…..well, sometimes it is about me. Sometimes it’s nice to be celebrated and not feel like i have to make myself smaller, and even smaller to make everyone else feel more comfortable.
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I read a post recently, where Sara celebrated some of her achievements and pointed out just how uncomfortable that felt to do. How sad is that? That we often feel as though we should temper our good news in case we offend someone else. I often feel as though I have to temper how easy I’ve found pregnancy for the sake of someone who found it less easy, and I regularly put down successes to ‘luck’ — I know I’m not the only one who does this.
And when your husband points out he thinks said ‘friends’ are being weird….in more colourful words than I’d like to say right here — you know it’s not just you.
Maybe it’s the same for men although, anecdotally, it doesn’t seem to play out in the same way. Either way, I’m taking a different view now after a very good friend reminded me that if the price to pay for having a baby is losing a friendship clearly crappy to start with, it’s no bad thing.
Have you ever been phased out by a friend? Or phased one out yourself?
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Originally published at wanderluce.