Monday, February 27, 2006

The fluidity of friendships

Last week I was upset about some changes in my life. You have read (or will) that I've lost a friend recently. No, she didn't pass away, she just removed herself from my life. That should be your first warning that the upcoming post will be well thought out (*giggle*) and not emotional at all. All right, all right, it will be emotional.

First, she's posted her reasons for her decision in her blog. I don't want this to become a war of the blogs, however, as I posted what I saw happening, I feel it's only fair to let you read her feelings on the subject. It is likely if we'd bothered to talk about things, we would have worked it out, however, she has every right to want me out of her life.

Because I was upset by what she had to say, I felt I should take some time to think about the entire situation. This lead me to reflect on friendships and relationships and how they change over time.

When I was a kid, my life revolved around a few "best friends." Girls I thought would always be in my life. In most cases, I was wrong. From my childhood, I've retained two friends. Dawn and Jeanette. We've been there for each other through dating, breakups, moving away to school, marriages, kids, divorces. Basically the marriage vows we take are an excellent way to describe those friendships. In sickness and in health, good times and bad, we're there for each other.

There were times that Dawn and I worried about Jeanette, or Jeanette and I disagreed with choices that Dawn made, and I'm quite sure there were words exchanged over me and what has gotten me to this point in my life. Sometimes solutions were reached, sometimes it just helped us to talk and know that we weren't the only one concerned about the situation. Still today, we get together, have some drinks and celebrate the good in our lives and shed tears over the bad.

There are two friends I had I often wonder about. We simply grew apart as our lives went different directions. We still see each other from time to time and are friendly, but the old closeness disappeared.

As time goes by, we make friends and lose friends. Our lives get busy and we lose time for everyone we meet. From time to time, we'll flip through an address book or our cell phone speed dial and notice names we haven't talked to in awhile. Some will prompt us to make contact, others remain uncontacted for so many reasons.

We don't always agree with the paths people close to us take. In some cases we're right.... that time you told your friend Ed that moving to Tisdale, Sk likely wasn't the best move for his Olympic downhill ski were likely right. Other times, we may be wrong - like when Dawn and I wondered if Jeanette married the right guy. She's the only one of the three of us still married so I think we can concede she did all right.

Life changes can often change the friendships in our lives. Anyone who's gotten a divorce knows that you will lose friends as they choose sides. Other friends may walk away if they don't agree with divorce. In some cases, married friends will no longer want to be with the newly single person - and the change in lifestyle often supports that decision.

Sometimes a friendship experiences a change in dynamic. Maybe the person often giving advice finds themself in a situation where they need advice and support. A new job can mean less time for old friends, or a decision to move for a fresh start can result in friends with hurt feelings.

None of these reasons are wrong or particularly right for making decisions on what friendships to maintain. Each decision is made by the person (or people) involved based on completely individual circumstances.

In my case, with the evil twin, I believe that there was a change in the dynamic in our friendship when my ex and I separated. Suddenly, I wasn't married and stable. My life gained a degree of instability along with a change in my focus. I know that she wasn't completely behind the separation as she believes (as I used to) that marriage is forever.

As I started dating I believe she often misunderstood my thought processes. She believed I put the cart before the horse with a guy from Peace River - considering the viability of moving up there to be with things - if things worked out with him. Things did not work out with him, neither he or I were hurt and life moved on.

I've been told I think too much. Worry too much. Overanalyze a situation to death. It's what I do, who I am. I will be analytical about starting something because if there is no future with the other person, continuing increases the chance of hurt feelings and anger.

I worry about what will happen if an offer comes out of the discussion with the headhunter in Nova Scotia. Speaking of life changing decisions. There's one. I noticed a huge difference in the reaction of my friends to that decision. One of the guys I used to work with asked "Why?" before making any comment. I explained my reasons, he thought for a moment and simply replied, "Cool."

Other friends were extremely negative about it. I can't count how many people said "uhhh, you do realize that people move here from there right????" Yes, I do realize that the major flow of people is out of Nova Scotia. I am not a child. I am an adult fully capable of thinking through decisions and making the best one for me.

Other friends made significant points about why I shouldn't go, then listened to my thoughts on that and backed off - understanding that the final decision was mine. They could voice their thoughts but ultimately the decision was mine.

I'm the furthest thing from a "yes" man. Ask G. He knows that I won't automatically take his side when something comes up with his ex-wife. I tend to try to point out the other side. Trying to explain where she's coming from. Sometimes he's willing to accept that. Other times... well, he's got a point, I don't know her and I'm not overly familiar with the situation. I don't even know his kids.

All I can do, as a friend, is try to point out things people should consider...then step back and allow them to live their lives. I can't tell them what to do. I can't make them remain friends with me if I do or say something that they don't like. I can simply accept their decisions and move on. To do anything else is overstepping my role as a friend unless they are doing something that puts them in physical danger. I would risk a friendship with someone if I felt that they were in an abusive situation and not able to get out.

Taking time to look at my friendships has helped me realize I've got friends I've neglected. People who mean a lot to me who I haven't talked to in far too long. And people I consider friends who really don't belong there.

People will come into our lives for varying lengths of time. Friendships don't have to be permanent, and new friendships are just as valuable as old. So, take time to call that friend who agreed to wear a mint green satin and lace bridesmaid dress for you back in the 80's. If she'll do that, she's truly a friend you can count on.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The dreaded fork in the road

Well, here we are. Who'da thunk I'd ever get to this point. I've received a phone call from Halifax and here I am to share the news. Well, ok, most of you already know because I messaged you or emailed you all excited and scared and worried. You know me.

So, Tuesday morning, my phone rang and there on the display was Talentworks Inc. The headhunter (recruiter) I'd sent my resume to all those weeks ago in December. Well... the client she'd sent my resume to at the end of December, is now expressing an interest in me. Eeek. I mean... wtf? It's been weeks. At least she understood that the call was blindsiding me and gave me some time to think on it while I viewed the job description.

With a sinking stomach, I contacted a few of my friends to vent, freak out and generally annoy them while they attempted to accomplish real work.

Yes, I know that I'm in the preliminary stages of the interview process with the company in the east. Yet, this company had been sent my resume and, when in need of a developer, they didn't call the headhunter to start a general search, they called to find out if I were still available. Which, to me indicates strong interest.

Today, I returned her call and said I'd let my resume stand. I'm going through the process. We figured out an equivalent salary should I move out there and off she went. Meanwhile, I sat at my desk trying to accept the realization that my life was moving in two separate and distinct directions and at some point I will have to make a choice.

It's been pointed out to me, that I have here the very thing I was going to Halifax in search of - a fresh start. A chance to make new memories here. I have an opportunity where I work to move into new technologies and challenge myself that way. And, should things not work out here, Halifax will still be there. This won't be the only job that comes my way.

Yet, it is an opportunity to pursue an adventure. Move my life along a new and different path.

So...I wait. I continue along two divergent paths, waiting until one or the other forces me to focus in one direction. Ok, ok, I'm procrastinating. The decision will be clear when I'm forced to make a choice.