Ever dumped a friend because you didn’t feel their equal?

In the often challenging world of female friendships, there are times when, even though you have a lot in common with another woman, and you are, on the face of it, friends, you just don’t feel like you measure up.

To use the well worn cliche, it’s not them, it’s you.

Coffee & Pastry

I have (or rather had) a friend.  I’ll call her “B”.

A couple of years older than me, she had held a high ranking position in the HR department of a manufacturing firm. I, at the time was Marketing Director of a law firm but, nevertheless, there was no comparison in the authority our roles carried.

She was eventually made redundant but reinvented her working life by becoming CEO of a new Welsh company.

Whilst I left work to become a stay-at-home mum, she became a single parent, giving birth to a little boy in her late forties.

But, unlike me, “B” returned to work and continues to build her professional reputation whilst juggling all the challenges that single motherhood throws at her.

This she does with spirit and a certain amount of “gung-ho-ness” that makes me feel like I have no ‘coping equipment’.

For a while we met up regularly.

We would go out for meals and discuss our children – who all played well together.

During school holidays, we would take the children on outings.  I would invariably forget something basic – like plasters or a change of clothes for the kids, whilst “B” would have everything prepared – medication, clothing changes, food, snacks, you name it, she had thought of it and, thoughtfully, provided it.

We even had a week’s holiday together one summer which seemed, on the face of it, to go smoothly and to be enjoyed by us all.

Just occasionally though, I would sense her frustration with me.

I am quite quiet, occasionally lack confidence and am rubbish in large groups.

I always preferred to organize events rather than network at them.

“B” could walk in anywhere, from business conferences to shops or the restaurants we ate at and take charge.

She had a way of getting others to do her bidding whilst remaining charming and confident at all times.

I began to feel ‘lesser’.

If was as if she unwittingly held up a mirror to my imperfections, reminding me of all those social quirks and inadequacies I had fought so hard to quash (or hide) in my often wobbly climb in my marketing profession.

So, being rather cowardly, I stopped calling.

Weeks drifted into months and now it is almost a year. I know that I should call but I can’t quite bring myself to do it.

I figure that friendships should not feel ‘forced’ or make you feel as if you don’t quite measure up.

The irony is that these thoughts are in my head and have never been expressed by “B”.

My kids often ask after her and her little boy and I’m hard pressed to know what to say to them.

I think the story also highlights what happens when you give up work to become a stay-at-home mum.

The effect it has on your confidence and sense of self-worth may well affect more than your immediate relationships with your partner and family, but impact upon your wider circle of friends as well.

It is like watching the ripples from a stone thrown into a lake getting bigger and bigger.

I know I should pick up the phone and have an honest chat but I will have to be in a stronger place than I am right now before I do.

Have you ever experienced this?

Perhaps you have found friends mysteriously avoiding you and wondered why?

I’d love to hear your stories.

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18 Comments

  1. June 4, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    Great post, it made me think. Even at the age of 21 I know I have a two 'friends' that I've drifted apart from after school because they think they're better than me with a fancy job while I'm at university. It's a shame that people drift apart but it's good to know what people really think about you.

    • June 5, 2015 / 7:41 pm

      Thanks Leesha. I think you may find in a few years that being a graduate will take you a lot further x

  2. June 4, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    This is a great storry, maybe a bit sad but definitely made me think. I have a friend, different situation, we were always very close but I've moved into a different country and even though we always meet up when I get back, it's like we've never stopped seeing each other. At least that's what I thought and then I read our old messages and realised how close we used to be and how much we've drifted! I hope you can find a peace and maybe reconnect with your friend? Try to believe in yourself, you've done quite a lot for yourself, look at this blog! It's amazing and a lot of hard work behind it!

    Dah xx
    Mode Lily

    • June 5, 2015 / 7:42 pm

      What a lovely comment – really cheered me up! Thank you. I think I would feel a lot happier in myself if I did make contact. x

  3. June 5, 2015 / 7:25 am

    Yeah i've had a similar thing happen to me. People tend to drift apart from years of friendship. I've had many people I was friends with at school just do exactly this x

    • June 5, 2015 / 7:43 pm

      I met all my old school friends again years later via Facebook. None of us have really changed!

  4. June 5, 2015 / 9:46 am

    Great post 🙂 I'm not sure I've drifted apart for those reasons, but I have drifted apart from friends whom I was once very close to – and now we never really speak, which makes me really sad – but I have so many wonderful friends in my life I'm ok with it. Plus, I've never really been a career woman, I'd be happy to spend my evenings blogging & spending time with the hubby, and my day's with my baby 🙂

    Georgina
    http://www.mummy-pixie.com

    • June 5, 2015 / 7:45 pm

      I'm happiest with my family and a few close friends too. I do think it's important to have enough friends so that your children experience socialising. My parents weren't particularly sociable and we rarely had people round. I hoped for a bit more social activity for Caitlin and Ieuan (not that I've got very far with that yet!).

  5. June 5, 2015 / 6:19 pm

    I have known friends for years but we have all moved to different parts of the country, we always planned to meetup but we all end up being too busy unfortunately

    • June 5, 2015 / 7:46 pm

      perhaps you could keep in touch via Facebook. It's difficult though, isn't it, because you do need some common daily experience to talk about.

  6. June 5, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    Great post Linda. It's like that old saying, friends are for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I find it hard when friendships move on as I'm quite a loyal and sentimental person, but it is difficult when your lives are different. I had a friend ditch me and it was very upsetting. I supported her through a lot, and then when I got married and had children, she said she found it hard being friends with me because I had what she wanted. I'd always tried to do non-children/family things with her, and I felt conscious that our lives were so different, but I also felt sad that she couldn't be happy for me. Hope you manage to sort things out with your friend. I wonder what she feels about it all. x

    • June 6, 2015 / 10:14 am

      I should really find out, shouldn't I! I find it difficult to do non-family things these days because wherever I am, I'm always thinking about them. It doesn't feel quite right being apart from your kids, does it? x

  7. June 5, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    Aw, you should never feel rankings with real friends so perhaps she's not a good match to you anyway. I have a friend who I was very close to but have drifted apart from since I had my children. We often suggest catching up but she usually cancels or remembers she's busy (she's always 'so busy'/late). I read somewhere once that someone who considers their own time more valuable than yours isn't worth keeping around. It stuck with me and while I try to think of it when she
    makes arrangements with me which will inevitably be canceled I put myself through it time and again! Nowt as queer as folk, eh?

    • June 6, 2015 / 10:15 am

      Doesn't sound like she's particularly interested, does it? Does she have a family of her own? I think if you have kids and they don't it can sometimes create a huge rift between you. x

  8. June 7, 2015 / 7:00 am

    Linda, I would be kind to yourself about this, (as a good friend recently told me), because isn't it just what life is about – trial and error and emotional responses to people? I think I haven't cut people out of my life quickly enough when they actually made me feel pretty bad for whatever reasons. Generally I prefer male friendship because it tends to be less competitive, however the issue of sex can be a problem there.

    • June 7, 2015 / 8:14 am

      I find it difficult to admit that some people make me feel bad so I agree that I could have cut a few out of my life a lot sooner! I also think male friendships (leaving aside the issue of sex) are often a lot simpler because you tend to know where you stand.

  9. June 10, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    Such an interesting post. I've drifted apart from friends before, for different reasons, but I can relate. Like you say, friendships should never feel forced… Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. June 23, 2015 / 11:03 am

    Linda, wow. Isn't it funny the impression you get from people? The way you write, with authority and confidence (I'm thinking specifically of the post you wrote about hating your job) completely belies the woman you've written about here. I thought you were quiet and reflective (but obviously good fun too!) but i would never have had you pegged as someone with a lack of self confidence. Despite my extremely loud personna, I was REALLY shy as a child and teenager. loud with family and friends but stroppy and silent in company. I pushed myself to be the noisy one i am today but i think it might have been latent in me! 😉 I know exactly what you mean about feeling intimidated by other people's status careerwise. Most of my school contempories are professionals of some description, one of my closest friends when living in Oz owned a million dollar procurement business. I've never had any career to speak of! But I can't let that hold me back. I don't feel like they are friends with me out of pity! They like me, just as your friend likes you and enjoys your company. Send her a link to this post and arrange a coffee. I am sure she'd love to hear from you. Xxx

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