Tuesday, June 19, 2007

BFF Bites!

Many of us loathe this overused term and with good reason. It is an exceptional few that experience the joys of keeping a long-running friendship alive and well as the road is often lined with perils and pitfalls. Thanks to imperfect human nature, cracks and fissures eventually develop between ourselves and those with whom we share considerable time and emotional closeness resulting in a shifting of balance. Unfortunately, this alteration rarely happens at precisely the same time for those involved and someone (read: you) gets badly hurt. My three personal pitf.., I mean ‘special friendships’ of yesteryear were with Annie, Cathy and my sister-in-law, Susan and started at the auspicious age of 4.

Annie was also 4 and lived on my street and though specifics are lost to misty memory, I do recall many happy hours playing with dolls together in my back yard. At any rate, we became best friends. *cue sappy music* Her BFF status came to a screeching halt when her family decided to locate elsewhere. (It’s darn near impossible for 4-year-olds to stay in touch). I still remember the day she brought by her autograph book for me to put pen (or crayon) to paper and express my unending devotion when I happened to glance at adjacent pages. Imagine my shock and dismay when I spied the moniker under the heading “Best Friend.” Yes, dear gang, it was not your humble servant but rather the devious little minx, Joanne, who succeeded in stealing my closest companion AND my starter boyfriend!!! My little heart was ripped to shreds in my undeveloped chest after discovering this callous betrayal. Years passed and though my locale changed, my luck in the "bestest buds" department remained dismally consistent.

In my early 20s I met cute, vibrant, sassy, fun-loving Cathy through her sister-in-law and we hit it off big-time. All went swimmingly for several years until she met Mr Wonderful who arbitrarily decided I lacked the lofty scruples and high caliber moral fiber needed to continue a female alliance with his newly wedded bride. As I was now deemed an unsuitable companion, she swiftly cut all ties and I was left to drift away in the passing current as they waved in unison from the marital shore. The happy, attached-at-the-hip couple eventually moved away and though I still occasionally see her when she visits relatives, we limit our chats to brief, meaningless pleasantries.

Time passed and with amnesia clouding my spotty memory, I tripped headfirst into the BFF lair of TBC’s younger sister, Susan. We whiled away many pleasant hours at the swimming beach, downing brews, soaking up the sun and showing off our svelte bodies. Invariably, we took turns one-upping each other in the saucy retort department. She also moved away (I’m detecting a pattern here) and six months later married a guy in her apt. complex. This time the addition of a spouse had few repercussions as our congenial friendship continued unabated albeit distantly. Being related didn’t hurt either. Several times I drove up to visit and we laughed, relaxed and caught up on news. Our unforeseen parting of ways occurred in a most unusual manner. One weekend she was down visiting and TBC and I included her in a trip to see my sis who was then living in a neighboring town. I offhandedly made a remark about an article I had read in a popular magazine when she haughtily and disdainfully informed all present that she never read that offensive publication. Excuse me? This 180 degree turn must have been of recent origin as she was far from a paragon of virtue and was well acquainted with said journal. Icy silence engulfed the return trip home. Apparently this minor disagreement was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as a massive cataclysmic upheaval in relations resulted. She returned home to MIL and let volley a barrage of invectives cataloging endless real and imagined grievances against yours truly which then snowballed into an even larger firestorm of epic proportions with MIL! The excessive fallout was irreparable with both and though things were partially patched up by the time MIL died, things never returned to the easygoing camaraderie we once enjoyed. Long divorced from her spouse, Susan still resides in her adopted city, rarely darkening Okieland’s door. The few times we have spoken in the intervening years, the tenacious chip remains solidly affixed to her stubborn shoulder. And it all started over a silly magazine that even I quit reading eons ago. Amazing. Needless to say, I have staunchly sworn off BFFs for good and with understandable reason. I do hope your experiences have proved far less toxic than mine but promise me you will periodically check your vulnerable back for those telltale stab marks because truly, being forewarned is forearmed, right? Live and learn.

8 comments:

weatherchazer said...

A-freakin' men!

Circe said...

I have had the worst luck with BFFs and the scars to prove it. :)

Traveling Chica said...

I love how you tell stories :)

I still have one of my best friends, though we have never used the term "BFF" in regards to ourselves. We've known each other since we were babies, but the truth is, good friendship takes a lot of hard work and dedication... not a simple phrase. I think you have the right idea: get rid of the saying, and concentrate on the friends. Specifically the ones that aren't moving far away from you! ;)

Angela said...

Friends are hard to keep.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Are you living my life? I have decided that if it happens ONE MORE TIME I will believe it is me....until then, I am sticking to the fact that it MUST be the other person.

I had a "BFF" who I nursed through a toxic marriage, even risking life and limb to move her out of an abusive spouse's house in the middle of the day. (Seriously, I made her leave because I was scared he would kill her if he came home....I missed him by 15 minutes!) I did all this, not because I am a martyr....and need to be praised...but because she was my friend, and friends help each other. Two months later, when I was going through a rough patch and a little down, she informed me that she just couldn't have that stress in her life and promptly ended the friendship. NICE!

BFF's SUCK!

Can you tell you hit a nerve! :)

Von Krankipantzen said...

Yep! I know of which you speak. I recently had a very close friend freak the f&ck out while we were in Hawaii for a holiday together. My first vacay for 11 years. Totally wrecked it and her behavior was so weird that after she stormed out of the hotel room (for no reason I could ever hope to understand) I checked my clothes to see if she had cut them up. She hadn't. A few weeks later she called me like nothing had happened. I got off the phone quickly as I was and remain scared of her and the hair trigger insanity. Then she called my mom and told her that she thought I might have a drug problem. I don't even drink alcohol so my mom blew her off. When I found myself emailing my family and friends to warn them that she might call with crazy accusations I knew I'd never get that close to another BFF again.

Do only women have these issues or do guys go through similar stuff with their buddies?

Circe said...

TC--I do have several close friends though none go back to childhood, but it was the 'best' friend status that apparently cause the relationship to go horridly awry.

Angela--it certainly takes work, I'll grant you that.

Queen--that is ridiculous! Obviously that friendship was a one-way street and all running in HER direction. *snort* Well, you did the right thing in helping her but what a shame she couldn't have reciprocated when the shoe was on the other foot...

Kranki--that friend sounds positively psychotic! I wonder what she'd been ingesting? That is very scary and I would have backed away slowly toward the door myself taking care not to make any sudden moves. Had she ever come unhinged before in your relationship?
I could be wrong but I think guy friends (guy/guy) may have whole other issues. I know of several who hit on/cheated with their best buddy's gal. Not that that can't occur with a gal pal, I just didn't happen to have that experience myself. Maybe we should investigate this further...

Von Krankipantzen said...

Yes, I agree. Further investigation might be needed. Just don't ask me to cheat with anybody. ;-)

That fiend...er...I mean friend had never been weird with me before but I had seen her freak out a her work and heard stories (from her) about how everybody at her various jobs (film jobs etc) would be against her etc. which I no longer believe. She'd get fired or walk off of jobs constantly. Yes, film work can be like that but not that consistently. Huge warning signs which I did not heed as I was trying to be "supportive" and give her the benefit of the doubt.

I do miss her though as she was extremely funny and fun to be around. Crazy people often are, I guess...