Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So what's your opinion?

Background: My best friend is male. He was living with his girlfriend but things were just going a little too quick and he needed to slow things down a bit. She had another place she rents out and the new tenants would not be arriving until sometime in December. She allowed him to move into the rental to sort things out between them. She knows that I am a really good friend and I was coming in town for the weekend to finish up his taxes and meet her and his family.

I arrived Thursday early afternoon and we had lunch with his daughter and granddaughter. He had asked the girlfriend to meet us for drinks before dinner but she declined - something about getting a massage.

Friday - he invited her to lunch and again she said maybe and then never showed up.

Saturday - again he invited her to meet us for lunch but she declined. She did say she would be over early for a cocktail before going to dinner with us at his sister's house. She made it for cocktails but was late which in turn made us all late for dinner. At 11pm in the middle of a perfectly fun evening that seemed like it would go on for another couple of hours she declared it was late, she was tired and it was time to go. World record for saying goodbye and thanking everyone for a wonderful evening - 3 minutes. Not a word was directed to me in the car ride back to the rental unit. Since she had made it clear that she was tired, when we entered the rental unit I said thanks for a nice evening, good night and went directly to my room. She stayed the night.

Sunday morning - they finally emerged from their room about 9:45am. She had made coffee for herself. When I went to go fix myself a cup, my bestfriend was in the process of fixing a cup for himself and me. So I went into the living room to make conversation. I was greeted by her sitting in the living room reading the newspaper. So I picked up the local newspaper to find something to talk about and spotted an ad for her company and made a comment. The next thing I know she is getting a computer to go sit out on the lanai. Now we couldn't all go out there to sit because there were 3 of us and only 2 comfortable chairs. Neither my bestfriend nor I wanted to sit outside when she obviously would be ignoring the two of us while she worked on the computer. I inquired of my best friend was that really necessary since she and I would only have this morning together. His response was - "she has this schedule thing about Sundays and she never deviates." An hour and half later she came back inside. She then decides she has to download pictures on her other computer. I stayed in the living room while she figured it out. My best friend left to take a shower in order to get ready for me and him to run around for the rest of the day before dinner at his daughter's house. I tried to engage her in conversation but I don't particularly care to speak to someone's back while they are on the computer. When my best friend was ready to go, I felt it was more appropriate to say goodbye face to face rather than yelling it from the door while exiting. I had to go into the master bedroom closet to say goodbye and thank her for letting me stay at the rental unit.

For the record, I'm 48 and they are both 54. His sister is 51. His daughter is 34 and his granddaughter is 16.

My best friend had wanted me to meet her because the feedback he was getting from his daughter, granddaughter, sister and brother in law was not positive. The purpose of him moving to the rental unit was to provide space to see if from a distance he could see what everyone else was seeing in their dynamics. I did find out something about myself through all of this. I am definitely more family oriented than I thought I was. One, I love sitting around the dining table drinking, laughing, debating, cajoling, egging one another on - just all around enjoying be around everyone. Two, I always take the time to check with others I have arrived with as to when they might be ready to leave. Yes we all have levels of tiredness but sometimes even when we are tired and the others are not we stay longer because it's considerate. You never know if you might just get a second wind and end up having an even better time. Three, I have never in my entire life said goodbye in 3 minutes - 15 minutes would be fast - 20 to 30 minutes is more like it. When she declared she was ready to go, she got her purse, walked out the door, and had the car started while I rushed around hugging and telling people goodbye. I was mortified. The evening just felt incomplete because it ended so abruptly. I felt like I didn't get to properly thank the hosts for their hospitality. Four, when we got back to the rental unit I did not feel it was necessary to sit in the living room and have winddown evening conversation (which is exactly how my best friend and I love to end the evening) when she had already declared she was tired and it was time for bed. Five, I was appalled between the newspaper, computer work out on the lanai, the computer work indoors and not being walked to the door to say goodbye. Well, the girlfriend sure didn't follow the axiom - keep your friends close but your enemies closer. If I was the enemy she should have been all over making nice to me so that I could go back to my best friend and say wonderful things about her and that everyone else was just misreading the situation. Gee, that doesn't seem to be the case now does it?

Sunday night just my best friend and I had dinner at his daughter's home. I enjoyed a wonderful meal, non-stop table conversation which then moved out to the lanai for dessert and then 3 more hours of spending time with each other. Even though his daughter needed to get up early the next day for work and his granddaughter had to go to school there was no "rush" to the evening. At one point my best friend asked his daughter what she thought of me - Oh Dad, we love Two Roads she's like one of us. Which his granddaughter concurred. It made me feel so good. He then asked what she thought of the evening before - Well we could tell right off that Two Roads didn't like the girlfriend and the girlfriend sure didn't like Two Roads. I said was it the fact that I took the opposing side of the issues being discussed that she didn't like? And they burst out laughing - because they are so use to someone at the table always being the devil's advocate because it provokes deeper conversations.

Needless to say, except for the 19 hours (and thank goodness 11 of those hours were spent sleeping) I had to spend in the present of the soon to be ex - girlfriend, I had a fabulous time in Naples with my best friend and the rest of his family. We are so easy with each other. We allow each other the space to be who we are. He's my pillow!


mur said...

Given the close relationship you seem to have with your friend, I can see that it may be misconstrued that you have a stronger bond than 'just friends'.If I can pick that up maybe the girlfriend does as well and see's you as a threat. I think it doesn't matter how old you are,human nature, being what it is, will shine through and jealousy is a powerful emotion. Maybe you just need to confront her and clear the air?
Good luck

Two Roads said...

I thought about jealously and was open to the fact that she might be jealous. However, like I said if she wanted me to ensure her relationship with my best friend it seems like she would have been all about making sure she was a sweet as honey to me. Best friends always have an incredible bond whether they be opposite sex or same sex. If someone is trying to get in the circle or stay in the circle, isn't the appropriate approach to present yourself in the best possible light? No one said "we" had to become friends but there is a certain amount of respectful tolerance we could have with each other. That respectfulness would have gone a long way. I did tell my best friend when I could engage his girlfriend in conversation I didn't feel it was strained or insincere. I just felt I was making more of the effort. Is it too much to ask to meet halfway?

Two Roads said...

Mur, also to address the point about the age. At 54 I would think that your focus would be to enrich your lives with others and their families. Isn't the focus to find that someone special so that you no longer eat alone, sleep alone, have sex alone, shop alone, take vacations alone, etc.? If she is jealous she is not only jealous of me but she is also jealous of his daughter, granddaughter, sister and brother in law. Jealousy at 54 is just not becoming no matter who or what you are jealous of. I'm not the only one that felt it. His entire family had told him that before I even arrived.

Paperback Writer said...

Wow. Until you told me that she was 54 I would have thought she was younger!

Like 15.

Viscountess of Funk said...

Two Roads:

The Keep Your Enemies Closer-thing apparently applies only to people smart enough to consider the advantages of such a tactic. I believe the girlfriend is truly threatened and jealous, but too immature to get out of her own way. My guess is that it won't last, and the next time you get to visit your friend, you won't have to spend time with this drain of energy.

Two Roads said...

VOF, I believe you are correct when you say the girlfriend is immature - this wasn't the first time I had witnessed it but it was the first time my best friend asked me my opinion. I had been holding back because I was waiting until I was formally introduced.

I am curious though - how does someone get to 54 and still have jealousies? It takes way too much effort to be jealous!

PW - I do believe that is what his family was trying to point out to him. The behaviour didn't make sense for someone who has accomplished so much from a business perspective.

Ramblin Rose said...

I am amazed a woman that age would act like that....

fc he dumps her soon!!!


sbukophile said...

I've had a similar situation with one of my close friend's who is male. He's long since broken up with that particular girlfriend. But I think all the subsequent girlfriends have not known how to be around me, but at least they've taken the too eager to please tactic with me. They all tend to be insecure types though (I guess that's his type).

The fact that your best friend is seeking opinions from those he cares about, seems to suggest that he has an inkling that something is just not right with this current girlfriend. In my experience, if you know how you feel about someone, you don't care what others think.

Two Roads said...

sbukophile - spot on! It is interesting that the women he dates do appear to be insecure. Someday perhaps he will stop before he gets involved the next time. :)