I have a very close friend of mine, who I have known for over 20 years. The other day I realized that her birthday was fast approaching and that she hadn’t announced any plans yet. Like most women, I knew she would probably enjoy some sort of surprise birthday party and if I could collaborate with her new boyfriend, all the better. But first, I had to make sure her boyfriend didn’t already make plans for her yet.
“What are you plans for your birthday, Lisa?”
“Nothing as of yet. It depends on what my boyfriend has planned.”
I knew Lisa’s relationship was fairly new, so in order to take some of the pressure off of her boyfriend, of only a few months, I thought it might be a good idea to plan something with him. A few days later, while Lisa was away with him, I texted her to give her boyfriend my phone number, which she did without any hesitation. She didn’t even ask why, she just gave it to him and then she gave me his.
You know, in this day and age where we have cell phones that automatically lock and need a password, it is a good idea to have the new boyfriend’s phone number just in case. Think about it. What if they got into an accident and your friend ended up in the hospital and her parents didn’t live close by? Who do you think she would want to be notified?
This is not what this post is about, but still I think it’s a good point.
Getting back to my story, the following day, Lisa’s boyfriend and I were exchanging text messages until I decided I couldn’t text anymore. If we were going to plan a surprise party, we needed to talk, not text. We came up with a plan and with the help of some of her other friends, we all got the word out about the surprise party. Four days later we surprised Lisa with a gathering of her friends for drinks and dancing at a local bar. People had fun and Lisa was over joyed that she had such good friends who would collaborate together without her knowing.
Points for us.
So, why am I bringing this up? Because arranging a party with your friend’s boyfriend should never be a problem, right? We are all adults and shouldn’t it be effortless and painless as it was the other day with Lisa’s boyfriend? I think it should.
But, as I have recently found out, not all friendships are built on trust and, unfortunately, sometimes innocent intentions can be misconstrued…twisted…discombobulated even when those intentions come from someone like me.
For instance, a few months ago, I also tried collaborating with my friend Lulu’s boyfriend, but unlike Lisa’s party, this one didn’t go so well. Granted, I didn’t ask Lulu directly for Matt’s number, because I was already friends with Matt on Facebook. To keep her little surprise under the radar, I sent him an email asking for his number. Lulu didn’t mind that Matt and I were Facebook friends, so why would she mind that I was contacting him, right?
Now, please keep in mind that Lulu and I had not known each other as long as Lisa and I did. Lulu and I had only been friends a year and a half – possibly two years. I realize it was nothing compared to the 25 years I have known Lisa, but when you click with someone, you just click. I am one to trust someone until they give me a reason not to, just like I do in my dating life. I can’t help it, that’s just how I am. Trusting…because I am trustable.
Lulu and I had been spending a lot of time together for a year and I already knew all about Matt. I was even her go-to person whenever the shit hit the fan in her life, which seemed to be quite a lot, but that’s what makes me such a good friend, and, frankly, I like being that supportive friend that you can count on.
I thought me and Lulu we were tight, but I quickly found out that it that wasn’t the case, especially when she found out that I had contacted her boyfriend, Matt without her knowing it. Unlike Lisa, who had pure joy in her eyes when she found out about planning a party for her with her new boyfriend, Lulu flipped out on me. I mean, she flipppppped out.
I’ll never forget it. It was during her birthday and I was sitting on her couch next to Lulu feeling happy and a little glazed over from the wine and birthday cake we were both enjoying. Everything was going great until in the middle of one of our many conversations, I leaned over to show her a text I received from the guy we were discussing.
Now, I’m a trusting soul, and out of respect for other people, I don’t do a quick glance-over on someone’s phone, when they show me their phone. I am an honest person, so I stay focused on what they are pointing at. But not Lulu, because she quickly pointed out Matt’s name in my received text messages. Immediately, she pulled back and in a very accusatory tone of voice, “What are you doing texting my boyfriend, Carrie?! How did you get his number!”
Calmly, I explained that it was innocent and that I just wanted to include Matt in her birthday festivities, but she didn’t want to hear it. She was adamant that I had no business texting her boyfriend without her permission.
I’m sure you can imagine my reaction, because as an adult, I love being reprimanded and treated like a child.
Personally, I like to give people the benefit-of-the-doubt, especially when it’s a close friend, because that’s how I want to be treated. But when someone starts flying off the handle at me and starts questioning my intention, yes, of course it’s going to piss me off and end up insulting me.
To clear the air and to stop her from doing any more harm to our friendship, I showed Lulu the texts in my phone. They went as follows:
MATT: Hi Carrie. Matt here.
CARRIE: Hello! Are you going to Lulu’s tonight?
MATT: Hello…I can’t go tonight, I have the kids.
CARRIE: Well, that stinks…sorry we won’t see you.
And there you have it folks, four whole lines of texting. Big friggin’ whoop.
The following day I had Lulu explain to me why she all of a sudden went off on me like she did and without really thinking things through. (It was her birthday after all.) Her answer was that she had been cheated on before and that she was worried that I was up to no good with her boyfriend.
…up to no good with her boyfriend…
I remember thinking that her remark wasn’t saying a lot about me – or her boyfriend – and she had been dating him for a year! Clearly, Lulu didn’t trust me or her boyfriend, and you know what they say about relationships with no trust. They die.
A few months later, Lulu decided come clean about two major lies she had concocted and had me believing for the past year. Shame on me for being so gullible, but shame on her for taking me for a ride. Everyone knows I don’t like roller-coaster rides, so I got off of it and gracefully bowed out of the friendship.
LESSON: If you have been put through the ringer by a past relationship, don’t drag your insecurities and fears around with you. Deal with them. Get rid of them. Move on. Leave the past in the past. And most importantly, realize that everyone is different and that nobody should have to pay for what someone else did to you. And, if ever you want the recipe for ruining a friendship – or any relationship for that matter – just add (2) Cups of doubt and sprinkle it with (1) Tablespoon of contention.
At least Lisa was happy with my effort.