Fair-Weathered Friends are Depressing
Last year, a woman new to the area reached out to me on a job app. Naturally, I was extremely skeptical of anyone contacting me online, because of scams and other agendas. Once I established more information about her, our conversations came easy; she’s looking to make new friends, because she’s been stuck inside for the past two years with her husband.
We have some things in common, but I’ve been too sick or disabled from doing most of them. JobApp Girl and I managed to meet up twice in six months for lunch. Although I felt comfortable speaking with her, something felt off. It’s the same “off” feeling I had when I met Insta-Psycho last year. (Back then, I blamed the feeling on being sick, but now I know better.)
Two other times she
canceled flaked on me last minute and suddenly became very inconsistent with communication. People may not realize this, but I only have short windows in which I feel well enough to do anything. So when someone flakes on me, it wastes my time and energy getting ready to go somewhere that I can never get back. Anyone that wastes my time can kiss my ass, because I don’t keep making plans with people like that anymore. Inconsiderate assholes. (I get that things come up, but there were other behaviors that went along with it.)
When I first met JobApp Girl, most of our conversations revolved around her marriage of two years. She’s independent and questioned whether she really wants to be married. We shared backgrounds and relationship stories, adding she’s had relationships with women in the past.
Being in near solitude for a year has forced me to monitor people’s behavior over time. And now I’m thinking my new friend may have had an agenda.
For months, JobApp Girl was all up on my social media – reading, viewing, commenting, sending private messages – almost obsessively. I figured maybe she really liked my posts, maybe she related to them, which could very well be true. But when she made flirtatious comments on selfies I posted (“that’s kind of hot”), I wasn’t sure how to take it. I neither make nor reply to comments from men or women that I don’t know well, because I don’t want to invite something that I don’t want to engage with. Around that time, JobApp Girl suddenly started posting a lot of selfies that clearly sought someone’s attention, and I think she may have been trying to seek mine.
Now JobApp Girl rarely sends messages and seldom comments on anything social media, even though she is clearly active. She offers to “hang out” and never follows through anymore. She sends texts that require responses, but then doesn’t reply for several days or weeks! It’s not because she’s too busy, because she’s active on social media, posting more selfies than usual.
Extremely inconsistent and random, maybe even moody, and probably smokes too much weed. Her behavior started reminding me of that of men I used to meet on dating apps: In the beginning, they are quick to respond and super attentive and showing their best faces, and then the consistency quickly dwindles, because they’ve lost interest and met someone else. However, they don’t completely cut you out; they keep you as an option for when they’re bored or need something. This is exactly what I think happened with JobApp Girl.
Her behavior was also reminiscent of other (unreliable and selfish) women friends who have done similar things. She basically dumps all of her issues, then leaves me hanging by not following up with new messages after I reply with questions or anything about my own life. It reminded me of someone years ago that I considered one of my best friends. She would dump all of her problems onto me (there were many!!), then when I needed someone, she couldn’t find even a moment to listen. The same thing happened with another so-called friend a couple of years ago, which I’ve probably vaguely mentioned here. So this is definitely a pattern.
Worst of all, I’m in a position in which I can only use some authentic friendships, not ones in which someone is looking for a therapist and I get nothing in return. JobApp Girl is well-aware of my situation, doesn’t live far from me, and hasn’t offered to stop over (mentioned it, but never followed through) or take a drive to the beach or anything at all. I have had enough friendships like these. They are one-sided, and I’m the one doing all of the listening and the work. Fuck that.
Having someone fly into my life uninvited and unexpectedly the way she did is really strange to me. It’s also disappointing investing time in someone and getting my hopes up of having a new friend to talk to when I actually don’t. It’s some icing on the cake of depression, for sure.
Although I am open to meeting new people, it’s nearly impossible in my situation. I am in solitude, minding my own business, purposely not engaging with most people… and this person comes along out of nowhere on a job app and somehow finds me to dump their issues – and probably find a side chick. I feel as if I am completely surrounded by other people’s garbage behavior, so I no longer want to interact with anyone, about anything – ever!!! This makes me more shut off from the world. It makes me more distrustful and depressed, because I see no hope.
All I see is that I’m surrounded by assholes.
Friendship works both ways, and I see a pattern in my other friendships that are very similar to the way JobApp Girl behaves. In several instances, I have been the dumpster for everyone else’s problems, and when I need an ear, it’s not reciprocated. I have repeatedly reached out to certain people when I desperately needed someone to talk to, only to be shut down. It makes me feel used and disposable, like I don’t matter. Because how else is it supposed to make me feel?
Even in counseling, I feel unheard. When I start telling the psychologist something, I never get to finish, because she’s busy telling me how to change my reaction to whatever – even when my physical condition doesn’t allow it. Fucking insanity! Sometimes I’m not ready to change anything; I just need someone to hear the whole story and stop giving me suggestions and stories about themselves. It’s my therapy, for fuck sakes! Let me talk! When I am ready to talk, I need to talk right now; otherwise, I’m going to shut down again and let it fester a while longer.
The similarities of these women are also in my emotionally unavailable mother, who often dismisses my feelings and avoids me when I want to talk about something. She only sees her own small and narrow perspective and nothing else, or her answer is to “forget about it,” as if that’s ever worked for anyone. Or she resorts to saying rude and hateful things that often reminds me of a Mean Girls character. It took me nearly 50 years to realize the entirety of this.
I don’t ask for anything. I just need someone to listen, which is what I thought therapy was for. I need that. NEED. But I’m not getting what I need.
Listening seems to be something no one does anymore. Everyone is too busy staring at their phones or talking over me or worrying about what someone else is doing, while some of us are really fucking suffering deep down and slowly losing hope.