Random Ramblings

Nostalgia Friends: When is it time to say buh-bye?

I think its been discussed to death on this blog that I don’t make friends easily.  I’m naturally very shy and even with a few wines down my gob when chatty Jen emerges so too does one of two personas:

  • Weird Jen that evokes lengthy silences whenever she speaks (I don’t know, it made sense in my head)
  • Or the sadly-more-common-these-days-Jen who is painfully BORING and gives stock standard responses

Boring Jen is more regular these days to avoid a repeat of the whispered, “she’s weird” experienced all through my high school years. There were lots of hang ups I left high school with (teen Mum and drop out anyone?) but the only one that’s lingered after more than 10 years is “she’s weird”.

Anywho!  Back to the actual topic of this post.

I think we all have friends from high school who we remain friends with largely due to nostalgia.

For my hubby the friends he made in his teen years he shares the strongest bond with, and though work mates may come and go he will stay in contact with his mates from that period in his life until he’s old and grey.

I was a loner in high school.  I only really had one friend and that friendship formed primarily out of us both being a little, “odd“.

We kept in touch over the years (bar one falling out after a night drinking when we were 19) and caught a chick flick a few times a year with some guilt free popcorn and chocolate munching for good measure.

Then as you all know we moved to London, thousands of miles from friends and family and there were no more girly movie nights to be had.

I’ve kept in touch with my friend via Facebook and its the message history there and long chats with my hubby and sister-in-law that have lead me to this dilemma.

Am I holding onto something that hasn’t really existed for years?

I’m thinking back to all those movie nights over the 9 years before we left Australia and for the most part it was always ME asking HER if she wanted to catch a movie and then following up to make sure it happened.

This kind of feels like my revelations about my relationship with my parents all over again, only on a much smaller scale this time.

On top of it always being me doing the asking:

  • I was always the one offering to drive to her nearest cinema (we’d normally meet up at her house and then drive the extra 10 minutes to the cinema together), it only strikes me now that it was never on the cards for her to drive in my direction or us to take it in turns….she lived (and still does) with her parents, I had three kids and a husband
  • I was always the one making conversation on the drive to the movies.  Asking about her work, boyfriends, had she spotted anyone from school recently or heard any goss?
  • She never took any interest in my kids.  I’m all for separating fun from the drone of family life but someone who you’ve called your, “best friend” for years surely should throw you a question like, “how are the kids” every once and a while…right?
  • She constantly made it clear she didn’t like my husband.  Not because of anything he had done in recent years but because she didn’t like him in high school…at all
  • I always reshuffled my life to free up the dates she was available, never the other way round

Please don’t take this as a bagging out on my friend session.  We didn’t have a falling out, in fact it’s the absence of anything that has me thinking.  It’s kind of a shock to me that I never noticed the balance of power was always on her.  How could I have been so blind?

Does it come down to me clinging to a friend I have a nostalgic connection with despite it clearly not having progressed from high school to an adult relationship?  Or is it in reality an even sadder truth, that I’m afraid to abandon that one friend I’ve managed to keep over the years?  What will it say about me if I give up my last physical (i.e not text on a screen…not that there’s anything wrong with that!) friend other than my husband?

The penny dropped when we got to Australia for a holiday.  As a side I had made it really clear with status updates and what not that we were about to leave London and travel to Aus for a holiday.  Mutual friends of hubby and I’s contacted us weeks before then asking if we could catch up whilst we were in the country.  I replied back and we organised a date BEFORE we had even boarded the plane.  I gotta tell ya, its nice catching up with friends who actually make it clear they WANT to have the pleasure of your company.

Back to my friend from high school.  I told her our travel dates in April.  APRIL!  I asked if she wanted to catch a movie or two whilst we’re there.  She of course replied saying she’d love to catch a movie and was looking forward to it.  I sent her another message a few weeks before our holiday in August/September and didn’t receive a response.

I didn’t want to be pushy and we were very busy with family stuff once we landed in Australia so I just left it be hoping she’d reply to me soon.  Things didn’t pan out as well as I’d hoped financially and we couldn’t afford to rent a car.  My mother-in-law was lovely and let us borrow her car on a number of occasions if we organised it with her in advance.  I however couldn’t drive it because I only have an automatic license (goodness knows I’m an atrocious driver without having to take one hand off the wheel to change gears) and we were restricted by my sister-in-law needing surgery and naturally needing her mum by her side during our stay.

Long story short.  I contacted her yet again but as hard as I tried I couldn’t organise a night where someone could drive me to my friend’s house to catch a movie on one of the nights she was free.  There was never any offer to come and pick me up (I felt uncomfortable asking her but I did make it clear that the problem was transport and lack there of) and when I contacted her she acted surprised that I was in Australia and the responses were very short (if I let the crazies get to me I might have sensed a bit of an annoyed tone…but I won’t go there).

Note: For any one outside of Australia (and more specifically Ipswich/Brisbane) the public transport is shite and unreliable.  Unless you live in inner-city Brisbane you really need a car to get around reliably.

I felt so guilty for letting her down when I couldn’t arrange transport to meet up with her.  At the time when I was mulling over how bad I felt about the whole thing,  my hubby and sister-in-law were snorting at what a terrible friend I had and gave examples of the effort they themselves and their friends go to for each other.  I shrugged their comments off:

  • We have a different kind of friendship, we’re both a bit “odd” so allowances have to be made.
  • Right?
  • But wait a minute, wasn’t I always the one making allowances?
  • Wasn’t I always the one doing the asking, the reshuffling of my life, the driving over 40 minutes after getting my kids to bed to come and see her?
  • Was I the only one in this friend ship all these years?
  • Maybe I’ve been pushing my way in where I wasn’t wanted?
  • How could I have been so blinded by this desire to keep a Nostalgia Friendship alive?

Now as an adult, if a close friend (not that I have any of those apparently) was coming to London and they wanted to meet up I’d have written down their travel dates (or kept a mental note that I could find them on facebook).  I’d have asked my friend if they needed help getting around.  I wouldn’t sit and wait to hear from them, I’d get in contact with them.  Does that make me needy and over the top, or is that how this friendship thing is meant to be done?

The whole thing is a little depressing to say the least.  I’m not depressed to realise this friend was never really that into me (glaringly obvious now) but because I can now no longer say, “I’ve only got one proper friend, but…”.   As of now all I’ve got are three adorable kiddo’s and a husband who is my best friend.

It’s both wonderful and frightening for your husband to be the love of your life and your BFF all rolled into one.  That’s a lot to ask of one person.

So dear readers, what about you?  Do you have Nostalgia Friends?  Are they worth keeping around to revisit every few years and fill a void or have you had to call it quits at some point during your adult years?  Maybe your Nostalgia Friend is your bestie and you still get along like you did that first time you met when you were 7?

7 thoughts on “Nostalgia Friends: When is it time to say buh-bye?”

  1. This is a tough one.
    My initial reaction is “DUMP HER”. She has some sort of issues if she’s still living at home. You’ve moved ahead and beyond her. Grown up. She has made NO effort what so ever to keep in touch with you. You have a life now with kids and a husband. She’s lingering somewhere in limbo.
    Jen, get involved in school with your kids. At least with those moms, you have something in common with them-KIDS. And you will find your place amongst them.
    When I left NJ (New Jersey) I left a slew of friends behind, or who I thought were friends. Amazing who you find out who your real friends are once you leave. I’m down to one since I moved to PA (Pennsylvania). Two or three of them I chat with via Facebook(it’s rare though), but NO ONE has made an effort to come out and see me, call me or even find out ANYTHING. There is only one friend that I go back to NJ and see because she’s made the effort, despite her fear of driving on the highways, to come out and visit. That’s a true friend.
    Now, I have a BFF that lives 20 minutes from me. One reason I moved here in the first place. I don’t see her as regularly as I would like because she works ALOT. I have two others that live in South Jersey. That’s over 2 hours away. Again, we stay in touch via Facebook. One is a care taker for her father who has Alzheimers Disease, the other does come up occasionally, but she is a single mom and has obligations that prevent her from going long distances. Understandable. Her attempts to visit are noted.
    But that’s it. I have 4 friends. Down from about 20. And other than my BFF (for lack of a better word-I really hate that term), I have NO friends out here in PA. I hate the locals and they hate me. I’m fine with that. They’re all just backwards(and that’s being nice).
    There must be something wrong with me though. I do not consider my husband my best friend. There are just some things he doesn’t need to know. I think that’s a story for another time.
    Friendship is a two way street. I’m a little hard nosed about it since I’ve moved. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
    This is an interesting post, though.
    You do realize that if I ever get over there I’m dragging your ass out to town and we’re going to have a great time! I promise not to embarrass you! 😀


  2. Thanks for your views on my “friend”. I think you’re right about bowing out of the friendship. You’re right about where her life is at too. But you know…I’ve never judged her for her life choices (or lack there of). I know she had some tough stuff to deal with in her childhood and a few false starts (dropping out of a university degree and some crappy boyfriends in the first few years out of highschool) and I just accepted she might not move onto the “next stage” of her life until she met a good man (she’s not career minded or into study so my logical assumption was she’d need to meet someone to drag her out of her parents house).

    Moving does seem to open your eyes to relationships you were previously too comfy to know better about doesn’t it? Whether its a move a few hours away or 20 hours away…distance and adding a bit of “effort” required does show you who really cares about you.

    Wow, I’m in awe at the 20 friends but then I’ve always thought maybe that many friendships to maintain is more effort than its worth….it sounds like a lot of them weren’t worth your effort. Out of sight out of mind kinda deal once you moved and they didn’t see you often? 4 true friends even if you don’t see them often sounds lovely 🙂

    It’s a shame you don’t get along with the “locals” but at least you’ve come to terms with it and accepted it. We don’t get along with the neighbours in this area. We’re not at war (thank goodness) but certainly don’t have any one we’d be happy to ask keep an eye on the place whilst we’re away on holiday.

    It’s a funny little nook of London here. The area was largely industrial in the past and was redeveloped “recently” by London standards. There’s a bit of a snobby feel to this small couple of blocks because its “nicer” housing than the surrounds and developed for people working at Canary Wharf who want a house instead of an apartment (i.e families) and only wanted to nip just over the river. Go around the bend or go south and there’s a lot of Council housing estates or rougher housing.

    I point this out because I feel like I don’t fit in with any of the “groups” at school or with the neighbourhood in general. The few other housewives in our neighbourhood are 50+ and get annoyed with noisy kids (and frown at my shouting at the kids to get them out the door in the morning to school). The Mum’s who are clearly (judging by their accent) South-Londoners born and bred all are very clicky and loud and talk to each other like they’ve known each other all their lives.

    Then all the rest are hard working career Mum’s. I do chat to Master 7’s best friends Mum and Dad but I feel like a big lump of uselessness as her Mum is a career woman (dressed to impress) and obviously waited until her career was thriving and secure before having just the one child (i.e they are in their 40’s). They are lovely people and I have no reason to think they judge me in any way…but I don’t try and take the friendship any further than the occasional friendly chat because I don’t know what we’d ever have to talk about? What if they hate me because I don’t work? What if my lack of crows feet cottons them on to my past as a teen Mum? Maybe I should just give it a go and not be such a coward.

    Thanks again for your feedback Irene 🙂 Oh and you can absolutely drag me out if you ever come over this way! If you so desire embarrass away (I don’t even mind if you boom very loudly in your American accent about “OH MY GOD HOW ADORABLE IS THAT!” when they say “mind the gap between the train and the platform” in a very british accent on the Tube 😉 Just no churches, mmmkay?


  3. Jen,
    i completely understand how you feel. For years I chased high school friends to catchup Reality is that if someone is a friend they choose to catchup with you and you find ways to catchup. One of my closest friends has travelled for years and although I have never visited her where she goes i make sure that when she is back home i know when that is and organise to catchup just as we did when you came to oz. if travelling is a problem then we find a way to make it work.


  4. Thanks Julie 🙂 It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who’s had to give up on a high school friend who just didn’t want to reciprocate the effort. I’m not planning any grand statement and cutting her out of my life but I think I’ll just back off completely and let her come to me if she ever wants to talk.

    It was great catching up with you all. Amazing how grown up your kiddos have gotten. Obviously I knew they’d be older but in my mind Miss 11 is still about 4 and Mr 8 is a chubby toddler! Oh and of course it was a pleasure meeting Mr 1 who is just ridiculously adorable (I miss having a little cuddly one like him).


  5. —Jen,
    ~~She’s not worth your time. Friendship must to 2-sided; not one person making all the decisions and having all the power. Nope. That’s not how it goes.
    Don’t worry about not having a BFF. You will meet a new one, & she will “WANT to have the pleasure of your company!” Seriously.
    Loved the post. x


  6. Thanks Kim. I know you’re right! It’s been a hard realisation to reach and makes me question my better judgement about everything…but I guess that’s what getting older and wiser is all about. Ultimately I put myself out there and did the best I could so I’ve got nothing to feel guilty about in the end…it still stings a little though.

    Thanks for dropping by 🙂


  7. Nope, no churches! I’ll just admire them from the outside and move on!

    “OMG, HOW ADORABLE IS THAT?” LMAO!!! I have more of those. Very east coast. Can’t help it. 😀


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