It’s been more than two years since I talked with a former BFF I’ll call Annie. We have been friends since I first moved to New York some 15 years ago, and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding four years ago (wore an expensive, ugly Vera Wang bridesmaid dress and spent way too much money on all the shower and bachelorette b.s. too, I might add). There was no real falling-out, per se. Annie was always the type of friend who was never great at staying in regular contact, but we were very close in our twenties, especially when she went through a two-year bout of debilitating illness that left her only barely able to make it to work. Since she was too exhausted do much socializing, I made sure to call her frequently and we’d catch up by phone, or I’d visit her at home on weekends. She was definitely one of those friends who was always current on what was happening in my life.
Then, in our early thirties, she got married and moved to Philly, so we saw each other less, but still kept in touch. Then her baby was born. We still managed to keep in touch, but it was often only when she needed emotional support—when things weren’t going well with her husband’s job and she was worried she’d be fired, when her daughter was sick.
Mind you, I’m not complaining. This is what a friend does. But then months started to go by and I didn’t hear from her. And then things took a bad turn in my own life. A beloved relative suffered a nervous breakdown, brought on by years of addiction and depression. Suicide attempts. Institutionalization. My family was in a very, very bad way for some time (things have stabilized now, thank God.) I was too worn out emotionally to reach out to Annie—I had other friends, including the Harpies, who helped me get through that mess—and I resented that after all our years of friendship, I was going to have to be the one to reach out to Annie if I wanted her emotional support. The resentment, I realize, is somewhat unfair. She always reached out when she needed help, and she was used to me always being the one to make contact, so I assume she thought I would have done that if things were dire. But I felt that a true friend is in your life enough to know when things are dire without me having to specifically call her up and throw myself on her mercy.
I ran into Annie’s husband at business event last year and wound up telling him, briefly, about what had happened. He was very sympathetic, and I assume he went home and told Annie. But I never heard from her. She sent a nice, anodyne Christmas card that was all “oh hey, it’s been ages!” So I sent a long e-mail about what was going on in my life. No response. I saw her husband again a few months ago, gave him an update, but still, heard nothing from Annie.
Every time I think of my former best friend, I’m eaten up with resentment—that she didn’t bother to keep in touch, that it was always my job, that she didn’t call when she heard what was going on. I realize she has a toddler and a husband, but that doesn’t stop other friends from making the time and the effort. I’m sure that if I called her and arranged a visit, we’d have a great catch-up and it would be like no time has passed, etc. We’ve always had a very easy friendship that way. But I resent—boy, I’m using that word a lot—that the onus is apparently on me to reach out if I want a relationship. And I’m fairly sure that after that nice catching-up session, things would probably go right back to radio silence until the next time I reached out. I’m also not sure that I could have a cheery catch-up without venting some of my resentment about how long it’s been and how I never heard from her. Her husband recently said they’d be in town for a couple weeks this summer and proposed getting together. I need to have my attitude adjusted by then.
So help me, Harpies. Am I wrong to feel so bitter? If I am—or even if I’m not—how can I overcome it? Is it even worth trying? Or is this relationship too cold and stiff to be revived? Your advice, please!