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So I have this friend. No, really! We've known each other for about 15 years and been pretty close for the last 10 or so. I haven't seen him since last January when I told him I was pregnant. See, he likes to drink and smoke and since I wasn't in a position to do either we just never got together.

When Mia was born, I sent him a email to let him know. Then I sent him a birth announcement. Then a Christmas card. I had not heard from him once in six months. Finally, last week I send him an email to find out if he was still alive, in the area, etc. A couple of days later I got an email back telling me how busy he had been, giving me a lengthy update on his life, and then an oh yeah, how's the baby.

I wrote back. I told him I didn't think there was any kind of busy that was excuse enough for going six months without congratulating a supposedly good friend on the birth of her child. Much to my surprise, he apologized (he isn't really the apologetic type) and we made plans to get together for lunch yesterday. I was proud of myself for stating my case without going overboard (althought admittedly only because I had Chris read the email and took his advice to tone it down) and then moving on. I don't move on very well.

We didn't go to lunch yesterday. I didn't follow up, and neither did he (I knew he wouldn't). I didn't follow up because I am still angry, I am still holding a grudge. Because in my mind he is in the wrong and therefore should have to make the effort to patch things up with me. The reality is, I know this is up to me. It is my choice whether to suck it up, forgive and forget (how do people do that???) or walk away from a decade of friendship.

Right now, I'm inclined to walk away. I'm just wondering whether I will regret it later.

Comments (55)

Ahhh, friendship triage. It's not easy, is it? "Am I so invested in this relationship that I am willing to pick up the other person's slack, or do I just let it die a natural death?"

Good luck.

Good friends don't come along that often.

At least go to lunch with him - then, if you're still mad, don't ever talk to him again. But you just at least give it a try :)

Give it one more try then move on.

Though I'm not at all surprised. This is one of those life-with-kids things. I know I lost a few friends after I started having kids. They saw me differently - as a mom; and just assumed I would act differently.

Beth, Unfortunately it sounds like your friend has graduated into a first rate selfish buthole. If you want to try to salvage this friendship you will be unhappy because it will feel one sided, with you being the crutch. It's sad and it hurts but I'm going thru something similar.

Walk away. He was a friend prior to you being a parent. Now you are a parent and a different person. even if you do work it out it will never be the same.

Hey- 2 things, your in VA right? are you listening to bob ryan's weather with the 10 inch theroy or Al roker with just a mere 3-5? Either way, will sledding with Mia ensue?
and as for the friend.
Well, I lost not 1 but 3 of my highschool friends because they werent 'in to' the baby scene. Then they couldnt 'handle me' pregnant. Seems I was too bitchy. Have no idea what they could possibly mean. I once heard that you outgrow friends, and after a few years and tears I have come to believe that too. You'll know in your heart whether or not to fight for this friendship. Trust yourself.

I wish I could say I have good advice to give. I recently made the decision to walk away from a friendship, and it was very hard. I guess that if you just cut off communicating, but don't tell him to go screw himself, if situations change, you can resume a friendship at a later time. I used to be a bridge-burner and had to eat a lot of crow.

But like you, I am a grudge holder. I NEVER forget. I may forgive, but I don't forget. I think it should be an Olympic Sport. Olympic Grudge Holding. I like it. Want to join the US team?

Someone above said "good friends dont come along that often", but is this person still considered a good friend? After avoiding/ignoring/not caring about you for a year ( which could have gone on forever possibly if you hadnt sent an email) is there something about this person that really makes that ok? Friends grow apart. People change. Maybe it would be best to let go of this "friendship" before it drains you too much.

I completely understand - I'm pretty lousy about holding grudges myself - it's so hard for me to stop thinking about the thing they did that upset me in the first place

sometimes it's best to just walk away - understanding that for the moment that the friendship has run its course

now that my boss is not standing right behind me- ahem

when you walk away - you can take as much time as you need to let yourself get over the grudge

and perhaps later- when you and he are on more of the same page in your lives - you can pick up where the friendship left off

-forcing anything now will just make things worse

(my boss thinks Mia is beautiful too ;))

Are you a Scorpio by any chance? I say walk away. It will always feel one-sided until he makes up for this. I have some friends who don't know what to 'do with us' now that we have a baby. Well, if they valued my friendship, they'd figure it out.

I am a grudge holder generally. ANd I have lost a good friend or two along way for it. Well TOO BAD! That's what I say. They KNOW I am a grudge holder and my friendship mattered that much to them they wouldn't do stupid grudge-inducing things! They deserved to be hated.

Could you chalk up his insensitivity to him being a man?

Yeah, it sounds like he treated you wrong. Yeah, you have every right to just say screw you and move on. Yeah, but he is a friend that you have had for a long time. Whatever he is dealing with let him deal with it and in a few months email him. Babies change everything and maybe it changed this friendship, but you can decide how it changes. Dont let it be bad, be the bigger person so to speak.

Friends are hard to come by, keep if ya gottem.

It seems to me that this individual is NOT worth your precious time and mental energy. (I'm sure Mia will happily voulenteer HER time and attention, she'll CERTAINLY be interested in what you're up to for many many years).

Maybe you'll find this helpful: One of THE BEST decisions I have made lately is to stop making excuses for people, (including myself, but that's more difficult). I put up with 7 years of a nearly one-sided friendship, because "oh, he's young, he'll find a girlfriend and turn out fantastic". Then I came to the ugly conclusion that he probably wouldn't "grow out of" his obnoxious egocentric tendencies. There WAS a window of time that we were good company to each other, but we wern't well matched for an uber-long term friendship. We're still civil, and I don't waste any time feeling guilty. I had already wasted a lot of time being really frustrated before deciding that there was no changing his approach to friendship.

I know what your going through kind of. I have a friend of 19 years that is on the brink of destruction. It's hard to let go of that friendship, but it's possible. Like you and your friend we have gone months without talking, and when we do talk it's awkward. Sometimes people just grow apart naturally, and it sounds like that is happening to you. Good luck, take care.

Grudges are excess baggage to drag along the way. And they can be rather heavy. Stuff happens.

Let it go, have lunch and go on. If the friendship is on the verge of dying, so be it, but don't help it along.

I have lost so many friends in the last three years over some crazy stuff....

this leads me to say, if you can patch it up, do it. Would Mia benefit from knowing this person? Would you benefit from having him back in your life?

I made a step at Christmas time to renew some long lost friendships. I'm really glad I did.
And yes, I did some grudge swallowing to do it.
And yes, it was worth it.

But don't think me high and mighty. I lost a friend at Christmas time over ugly words. I don't care if I ever patch it up with her, and I miss her everyday....

So my advice...I have none. Just personal stories...
later tater.

i have a very similar situation to the one you described. i was once friends with a guy who doesn't like kids and never wants to have any. he never congratulated us (he was my husband's frinds as well) when he heard that i was pregnant (he didn't have to pretend to be happy for us, but acknowledging something that we were so obviously over the moon about is just polite). when the baby was a few weeks old, i ran into him. i had her in the bjorn and he said hi to me as though i were walking down the street holding a handbag. he didn't look at the baby, didn't ask how we were doing. it's like she was invisible. the friendship limped along for a year or two. whenever we socialized with him, we would leave the baby with my mom. i felt weird talking about her in front of him, lest i be one of those 'boring' moms who babble endlessly about her offspring. then i realized that i was leaving the most important part of who i am at the door in order to socialize with him. i decided that if he can't accept all of me, then i'll be friendly, but i will not do the heavy lifting in this relationship. we haven't spoken in a few years and althought it makes me sad, i know that we'd probably still be friends if i didn't decide to be true to myself and my family... but they deserve better, and so do i.


I just recently f'ed up a great friendship by using stupid words. I've made the effort. My friends a grudge holder. I've always known it. I was drunk and stupid, and I regret every word I said - the ones I remember and the ones I don't.

I've begged for forgiveness. I spoke my peace and apologized. I felt this relationship was too important to me to just give up on. I hope it's enough.

If he's not willing to follow up, I'm not sure what to tell you.

ultimatly, this is something you have to decide for yourself - is it worth the work of keeping up the friendship if it's really only onesided? but then, it's so hard to let people go too. that's a lesson i've had a tough time learning...

but a wise, wise friend (with whom i no longer am in touch, sadly) once told me: "people enter your life for a reason, a purpose, and once they have served that purpose, they move on. we might not like it, we might not want to let go, but if their presence in your life no longer serves a purpose, then it's best to just let them go..."

it just really hurts...

I am a champion grudge holder. I think I get it from my mom, who is still mad about the window shade I broke when I was six.

I am working on it, however. That's not to say that I don't still find myself resenting stuff that I should really let go already, because I do. And because I am always in the right, dammit! But I do believe there is a kind of power (that's not quite the right word) to be found in forgiving and taking a step back from being angry. Ok, this comment is getting too long, so I'll shut up now.

if he doesn't want to meet up then there's really nothing that can be done about that.

however, you should at least try to get him to explain his behaviour. at least you'll know why the relationship ended as it did.

then you can make a decision as to whether he's worth your time or not and move on if it turns out he isn't.

Sometimes it is best to walk away. Life is constant change, and some people just aren't on the same pace as you. From personal experience, a few of my "friends" were freaked out by kids. They stuck through my bebe girl, but when my bebe boy came around, no more calls, emails, dinner dates, and the like. Since I am no longer on the party scene, and find bringing my children to BBq's, turned how much can we smoke and drink and wtf we were going to make food?, obscene. Well some things are just better to walk away from. You have a loving husband and a great kid, and of the other buhzillion folks out there, more appropriate, and lifelong friends are bound to come along.

Never posted before, but I have an 11 month old boy and enjoyed reading your journey through mommyhood. And I have the worlds most beautiful boy!

Anway, I have 3 friends I have not heard from since my son was born, and I'm done, just done with them. Just wanted to let you know it doesn't just happen to you.

Beth, I think you're my twin living on the east coast, I'm the Cali version of you. I'm a grudge holder too. I also am very sensitive despite my 5'9 stature and sometimes outspoken ways. I don't lie, and I don't hold back much-so sometimes it's too much for people to take. My fianc‚ calls me a clear mirror-this is an double edged sword.

I've reached the point in my life where I don't have time for this kind of childish crap. I am a damn good friend and a good person. I imagine like you, you give love and treat people how you'd like to be treated back and so you expect it to be returned. You also have to realize that this friend, despite that you've known him for 15 years; that you don't ever really know someone. You're a mother now, you're not carefree the Beth slamming back vodkas and jumping in the car to drive to the coast at the drop of the hat. Your priorities have shifted, and rightfully so. Some people NEVER grow up, and some people don't get it till they're much older.

I too wonder how it is that people kiss other's asses, i.e. relatives, friends and have to be the bigger person and just let things go. I have done that so many times, made the first move, let things go. But, I'm tired of doing that; I'm tired of having to be that person. It would be wonderful to have someone do it to me for a change.

I don't think he's really your friend anymore. Friends don't treat people like that, period. I closed down my blog recently; I just had too much on my plate, wedding plans, child, and life. Someone I considered a good friend never said, goodbye. She didn't send an email, leave me a comment (I saw her IP hit me 10+ times) nada, zip. I thought about sending an email saying.why, what did I do etc? But a friend, wouldn't do that-plain and simple, as much as that hurts it's the truth. You made an effort, and I know it hurts to think you've lost a friend, but I think that happened long ago.

Rejoice in the true friends you have. Remember the good times you had with him, and maybe someday down the road when he's grown up, you'll reconnect.

I'm in a similar situation right now as I just rediscovered an old college friend. To make a long story short, it seems as if I am the one who is always trying to make contact and to keep the friendship alive.

And frankly, it's frustrating.

We had a two-three year hiatus where we didn't communicate at all. I did feel incredibly guilty about losing touch. . .

and now? I feel if he can't hold up his end of the bargain, then is this friendship worth it? I don't know!

Good luck! And keep us posted!

I totally understand. My best friend of 4 years from college found out I was pregnant back in...... oh... June. Have I heard from her? No. Have I tried to call her? Yes. I give up. And my other best friend from college? Pregnant... so I'm nice enough to give her my clothes I've outgrown (since she's 3 months behind me). Have I heard from her since (which was like 2 months ago)? No. So I totally, TOTALLY understand how you feel. I'm pretty pissed that my only 2 friends won't call me at all... especially since they know the baby's due any day now. No one's called to check on me.
(And I just realized I vented on your blog... *sigh* Sorry about that, it's just that I can totally, TOTALLY relate to how you feel about friends not taking ANY initiative.)

This post hits home. First off, I am the QUEEN of grudge holders, were talking grudges from highschool and when I see certain people I used to be friends with I still won't talk to them.

Before I got pregnant with my first, I hung out with alot of girls and we'd go out 3 days a week to the bars or hang out at our place since we were the only ones at 21 that owned a house in our group. We got pregnant and BOOM we were outsiders. My hubby and I have not talked to some of our closest friends now in 6 yrs! We've tried calling and they never call back or they've just moved around so much we can't find them anymore. I get sad sometimes thinking about how I used to have so much fun with friends and now I have no one but I feel if they really wanted to they would have kept up. That was part of the reason for my blog and getting on MySpace was for people to FIND ME if they wanted to. I'm easily accessible on the internet.

I would leave the relationship open with a "I'll talk to you soon" or whatever so you're not ending it but don't feel like you have to be the one to always get ahold of him. What I do is just send a Xmas card with a letter in it once a year to our old friends with our address, email, and phone # and say so be it.

As we change, so do our relationships. Giving this guy the tiniest benefit of doubt, perhaps kids freak him out? If he's the party person, perhaps he's afraid you now have nothing in common?

In any case, my assvice, for what it's worth: Cherish the friendship you had, and leave yourself open to the possibility of returning to it someday. But if he's being that slack about making an effort to see you, let it go for now - with the tiny exception of keeping your contact info up to date with him if it changes.

I think Shannon said it right, "You'll know in your heart whether or not to fight for this friendship. Trust yourself."

Sometimes it is time to say goodbye. Other times it's a lesson for us to learn to get over ourselves and expectations we have of other people. Where you are at right now, only you can say.

My heart nearly broke when I read the comment about leaving the most important part of herself at the door so she could socialize with her friend. Hit me right to the heart. You are so right, why do you have to give up who you are to be friends with someone?

Anyway, Beth, your heart will know what to do - whichever difficult decision you end up making.

I just wrote a comment that was as long as your post but decided that you didn't need to hear my life story. So in short: I'm very sorry. I'm sorry that your friend is letting you down, and even more so, I'm sorry that you can't let go of it. See, I'm very much like you. I have a grudge of my own I'm holding. And I, like you, can't seem to let it go, either. :\

On the upside -- you have an adorbale kid who has bunnies-on-the-bottom blue jeans to spend every day with!

Maybe it's time you walk away. Friendships change over the years, and very few stay the same no matter if one or the other is going through a very different stage. This one doesn't sound like that kind.

I am also a grudge holder. Yet I have a hard time letting go of friends. This sharing to say, you don't have to decide now. Let time pass and then see what happens.

I had a friend like that - saw him through a very painful divorce and was there for him through thick and thin. Then, I got pregnant and *poof* he was gone. He resurfaced a few months after the baby was born saying how much he wanted to meet the baby and hang out again. But then, I got pregnant again and *poof* he was gone again. He hasn't resurfaced yet, but sometimes you just gotta thin the herd.

If someone is close to you, they should take into account the good stuff (and bad stuff) that happens in your life an be willing to be there for both. My 'very close friend' has now become an acquaintance and I don't send him Christmas cards anymore.

I have learned that you must work on friendships. I say...give him another chance.

I'm not a grudge holder. I tend to give everyone SEVERAL benefits-of-the-doubts, but STILL I've had to make the decision you are facing. It hurts. Its totally not fair. You always wonder if you've done the right thing. But you have. Well, I know that I have. **sigh**

My favorite..advice request and a chance to analyze people who I have never met. Here goes: Only you know if you have room in your life for someone who doesn't have room for Mia. And, to me, it sounds like that is what is going on here, both with him and you. (aren't you mostly angry on her behalf?) After all, the rift began when you told him you were pregnant. So, not Mia the sweetest baby ever, but the Mia who started out as the unnamed interloper who changed your life into one that your friend doesn't feel comfortable btw without drinks or smokes. Would your life be better with him in it? Can you guess why he would be bothered by your having a child. Was he ever really a friend (because he doesn't sound like much of one now) or just someone to pass the time with before Mia arrived. I think answers to those questions will give you the answer about what to do next.

Like it or not, babies are not the be all and end all to some people. Personally, I don't like them (although I think your daughter is really cute). I'm much more likely to coo over a puppy or kitten. Just because this guy didn't get in touch with you because you had a baby doesn't mean he is a bad guy. Babies are not that big a thing to some people. If you really value his friendship I think you should get over it.

Don't know him, you or the situation well enough to give advice. All I can say is just follow your gut instinct.

Have a great weekend! :)

I lost almost all my friends after I had my daughter.

But at the same time, I realized they were not people I wanted to be around anymore either, and if they didn't want to come around anymore because I had a baby I was ok with that.

Besides, I have the cute kid, they have zip. ;)

Friends aren't too busy to acknowledge you've had a baby. Even friends who don't particularly like babies still like YOU enough to acknowledge this big event in your life. Someone who behaves like this toward you is someone who used to be your friend. Only you can decide if there's room in your life for a new version of friendship with him, because it won't ever be like it was...tough decision, I'm sure. Good luck!

So...I don't know you, and obviously it's impossible for you to impart every detail of your situation in one posting, but I'm going to take a half-blind stab at offering my opinion on it anyway. :) (I'd like to beg pardon in advance on the novel that will likely ensue...)
I liked the comment Irene made about 'thinning the herd.' I had a dear friend who was in our wedding party, but for some reason, after the wedding, I heard not a word from her. I called, I e-mailed, but to no avail. I must say, in my case I tried a few times over the course of a few months and then decided to let it go. Occasionally I would say "hello" through a mutual friend, but still heard nothing in return. I was angry for a while, but I'm at a point now where I've accepted that it was time for it stop, whatever the reason was. Another friend treated me horribly and I decided to stop communicating with her after telling her how I felt. She wrote a letter about two years later apologizing - unheard of for her. We have since made amends, and while it will never be the same, there's at least a feeling of resolution and a sort of peace surrounding the situation. Plus, it's nice to catch up with her from time to time.
There's an ebb and flow in this life - people come in, and people go out. The going out is sometimes painful, but usually there is something beautiful waiting to take its place. What you have to decide is whether or not this is a friendship you would like to keep, regardless of what new form it may take.
Also, no one can offer opinions as to this man's character but you: you're the one who's known him for 15 years, after all. That said, if an apology is a big deal for him, then that probably says something. Why not have the lunch: 'ride the wave' and see if this one will ebb or flow...

First, being perhaps the only guy to comment let me present a male perspective. Most, not all, men who are not fathers, tend feel uncomfortable around children. I believe this is due to feelings of inadequacy. Men don't like to admit failure and children can make them feel like they don't know what they are doing. Often it takes a life altering experience (like the ol' Cactus is going through right now) to realize that you can still be a strong male while learning that it ok to show your softer side. I'm not trying to make excuses for your friend only trying to give a possible explanation why he may be avoid you.

Second and more importantly, regardless of what becomes of this friendship, let go of your angry and hurt nothing good will come from holding on to it. I too have trouble letting go when someone has hurt me however I have found that usually by holding a grudge I am to only one who is hurt. The other individual does not suffer because I refuse to speak to them; often they don't even know I'm angry. The sooner you let go the better you will feel.

Well, give it a few weeks before you really decide what to do.

A good friendship is a two-way street and if you're doing all the giving and trying, well, what sort of friendship is that? Does he value your friendship? His behavior says otherwise

I am sooo like you in this regard. I have a difficult time letting go of friendships and hurts. But sometimes holding on hurts more than letting go.

I forgot to add that I wrote a post on Friendship too on my blog last night. How weird...must be something in the air.

I feel that I can't control my friend's "issues." And when I am angry with them for one of said "issues" i wonder, are they sitting around thinking about ME and how I am angry? Probably not.I agree w/ what others have said about it not being worth your time & energy. If you see him on the street you can be pleasant, introduce the beautiful MiaBean and be on your merry little way. But that's just my opinion.

I had a very very similar thing happen to me after I had kids. A 20-year friendship, she's the godmother of my first child, evaporated about two years after he was born. We have only sent brief and rare emails since our last phone conversation, when she stood me up without apology. And I realize like you that if the friendship is to continue I will have to make the effort. It took a long long time but I walk the balance between letting our close friendship go while maintaining some minimal contact in email, since old, dear friends truly can never be replaced. Still, I do have lingering anger. I haven't heard her voice in three years, which I still find so bizarre.

Forgot to mention, that in my case the friend was also liked to party and began the withdrawal when I couldn't, and she also doesn't have children, yet.

I noticed that having a child changed everything in my life, including friends who had not children. One in particular was quite up front with telling me that now that I was a mom and she had no intention of being one, we could no longer hang out as we had nothing in common anymore. As if I ceased to me interesting because I gave birth. Perhaps this friend is uncomfortable with your new role as mom. It will probable be up to you entirely as to how far you persue keeping the friendship going. I just hope if you do persue it, he says nothing as hurtful to you as my friend did to me. Good luck!

I too am wondering if it can be chalked up to him being, well, a him. Not that that's an excuse, but it's no secret that women are generally better at these life-changing things then men.

Somewhere after the birth of my second, I realized that the monumental events of my life were not exactly monumental to people who aren't me... or married to me.

A pregnancy and birth are events which withdraw you from your previous 'normal' life. They change interactions. Nobody loves that child like you and your husband do. It isn't malicious, it just IS.

My best friends are the ones who can have a life, let me have one and pop in here and there still the same person. I hope that you'll be able to work that kind of friendship with him. I would guess that you are both worth it.
Best of Luck!

Friendships are hard work. Some people say they shouldn't be, but they are. Especially when you have completely different lives in completely different places. If one person isn't willing to work at it, then -- in my opinion -- they don't value the friendship as much as you. And I think it's time to walk away. Maybe some time in the future you'll meet again and be able to be friends, but right now, I wouldn't waste my time and energy on being upset. Move on. My $0.02.

hmmm....I have had VERY similar things happen since 1) I got married and 2)I had my baby. It sucks. I can't forgive and forget, especially when those people who I have spent my ENTIRE life with choose not to participate in the celebration of our new edition. However, I am that type and I am sure those friends know that, am I making sense?

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So the Fish Said...

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