Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ask Ella — One-Way Friendship

Dear Ella,
My friend Rhonda and I go back to when we were in school. We graduated together, dated together and still live near each other. We have been through much in our lives, as we are now both in our 40s.

Rhonda has been through a divorce, illness, loss, kid problems, financial problems. I was at her side every step of the way. I took time off work, time away from my family and dropped everything when she needed me.
Now I have been going through a rough time, and where is Rhonda? She’s either too busy or just going out, has to meet her kids, has an appointment. She’s one of those people who says, “Let me know if you need anything,” but doesn’t really mean it. She’s always around for dinner or shopping though. I think I’ve had enough. Am I being hasty?
One-Way Friendship
Dear One-Way Friendship
People’s lives often take different paths, and priorities for each other may have changed. However, it sounds as though Rhonda may be what’s called a fair weather friend – a friend who comes around when it suits her, but will rarely put herself out. Most probably a selfish person who is focused on her own needs.
Spotting one of these friends can not only be tricky, but can take time. They may often sound concerned when you talk about a problem, but will rarely, if ever, turn their pseudo-concern into action. The problem here though is not Rhonda’s, it’s yours.
A big part of friendship is expectations. Yours are not being met. It’s not wrong to be able to lean on a good friend. Friendship is all about give and take, and it can take years to really know who’s giving and who’s taking. If Rhonda never comes through for you, then you have your answer.
Now what do you do about it? Avoid her? Tell her? Ignore her calls? The long history you have together warrants one final heart to heart. Let her know how you feel, and in your own mind close the door to those unmet expectations you had for this friend. You can still remain acquaintances if you choose to, but you must make that call. Once your expectations become more realistic, you will be far more at ease when it comes to Rhonda.

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