The summer after my high school graduation, I had an interview at the financial aid office of the college I had decided to attend. It was for work study, which I was eligible for to get tuition help. During the interview, I remember I was asked whether I would like to work in the library or in the financial aid office. I had no idea what choice to make, so I said I'd work in financial aid. I worked there all 4 years of college, only taking off one semester when I had to do my student teaching. I loved working there, and I still continue to visit once in awhile because we all had become close.
I met T. there during those years, and we became fast friends. We'd chat for so long when we were supposed to be working, but we were also friends outside of work. She was so funny, cracking me up all the time, and we shared so many stories about so many things. We continued to keep in touch for years, even after she moved away, which was a very long time ago. We would always get together, or at least try to, during the times when she'd come home to visit. We'd go out to eat, maybe go to a movie, once in awhile get drinks. I considered her one of my good friends.
Several months ago, I came to realize that I hadn't been hearing from T. The last time I really talked to her was maybe January or February, I can't really remember (my memory is terrible lately, and I blame it so much on PH and lack of o2). When Euan died in March, I had emailed to tell her, and her email back was short and simple and almost lacked any empathy. I thought it was a little weird, but I was too devastated at that time to really analyze it. The last time I had any sort of communication from her was in a phone call I missed by just minutes, and she said she would get back to me by the end of June. Well, June came and went, I called her in July, I sent a card in August, I emailed her a couple times. Nothing. I was starting to worry. In the last few weeks, I'd try googling her name to see if anything came up. I'd leave another message. I even admit that I looked up the newspaper in the area she was living to see if she was in the obituaries. Gladly, I found nothing, but still. Where was she??
Today I got a letter from her. To put it plainly, I guess I am no longer a friend to her for several reasons. A couple of them I can understand. She was disappointed in a few things that meant a lot to her, and I let her down. I just wish that she had let me know and not wait for months and months to even tell me. What I completely disagree with is that she accused me of using our friendship for gifts and money. That is flat out wrong. She was the one always asking me what I wanted or what I needed every time my birthday or the holidays came around. Most of the time I didn't want anything. A couple of years she wanted a list. Sure, I named some items, but did she HAVE to buy them? No. I certainly didn't put a gun to her head. I sure never asked her for money. I am not that type of person. If she really thought I was that kind of a person, than she never was a friend at all.
Now it makes me wonder if all my friends see me as a user. My friends give me a lot, they offer to buy me coffee or take me to dinner or whatnot. There are so many times that I either don't accept or I try to pay. I'm sorry I don't have a ton of money. It wasn't my fault that I had to quit my job and live in near poverty. But when that happened, I never once asked my friends for money to help me get by. And I feel totally guilty if they offer to pay for something, even after 10 years. So now after T.'s letter, I wonder if I do the same thing to my friends. The funny thing is, for some reason I'm not terribly upset by T.'s letter. If that's what she thought of me, that's too bad for her. What upsets me most is now I'm wondering if that's how I am seen, as a user. That's what's stabbed me most in the gut, and is now making me think twice as to what kind of friend I could possibly be.