I need some perspective on a failed friendship.
Okay. I’ll give it as long as you don’t mind hearing some harsh truths. Because that’s what I do. I tell the truth, no matter how ugly or painful it is. And sometimes, I make it uglier and more painful than it needs to be. Because I’m a jerk. And because I enjoy it.
So, what’s the story? Who was your friend? What happened? Why did you fail? And why do you care? Tell me everything. And don’t leave out any details. I want to hear it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
And don’t worry, I won’t judge you.
House, I did something that I feel was inspired by your example. But I can't seem to do it as well as you can.
I had a favourite actress. We met at a party and spent three hours talking about acting and performance and writing and her ADHD. We started having lunch once a month. Catrina lived in another city, but she was often coming to mine for film or TV shoots. Or I would drive out to have a monthly dinner with her. It was amazing to have a favourite actress who was also my friend.
Last year, she started cancelling on me a lot: a sick dog, a grandmother passing away, going on the stageplay festival circuit. After six months of cancellations, she said she was going to be in my town for a two week theatre festival and said she would make plans with me.
She texted when she arrived and said she'd review her calendar and let me know her availability. I promptly didn't hear from her.
I let 10 days pass before texting her about plans. She texted me a time and place. Then withdrew it, saying she was busy after all. She clearly wouldn't review her calendar for me. With four days left until she left for her next city on her tour, I let her off the hook. I told her she was in town to work, and that if she didn't have time to socialize with me, I understood.
She texted, inviting me to an awards ceremony. A group event. She didn't specify where and when and when I asked, she did not answer. The next day, she texted again, saying we could meet "any night" for one of her group outings. I asked where and when. No answer.
I told her that she was clearly busy and I was going to make other plans.
Later, I read an interview with her where she talked about how much she loved enjoying my city's theatre festival with "a group". I wondered why she kept 'inviting' me but withholding basic information like time and place. I wondered why she wouldn't just tell me she wasn't free so that I wouldn't be waiting for something that wasn't coming.
She texted me on her last day in town, giving me a schedule of plays she was seeing and saying I could see one with her. I thought about how I would be going out of my way to sit in the same building she was in while she watched a play. I texted back to say I wasn't doing... whatever this was. Six months passed.
She texted me, saying, "I'm thinking about going to the festival in your town, maybe if you have some availability, we could see a show."
I wrote back: "I don't appreciate this 'invitation' that does not provide a time or location. It's pointless. I could not make plans with you and be just as likely to see you. I have chosen someone else to be my platonic ADHD-equipped actress friend. You're no longer needed. You've been replaced."
The new actress, Rory – she has ADHD too. But Rory texts when she's going through a busy time to let me know I shouldn't expect to see her for a few weeks or months on account of a film shoot or a play.
There's some history between them that neither will discuss. They don't seem to like each other.
I don't know why I still feel hurt by Catrina and also ashamed for telling her that she was one of many candidates and replaceable.
You weren't ashamed when you replaced your very mean father. I clearly felt a connection to that. You weren't bothered when Cameron, Chase and Foreman quit. The team wasn't working anymore. I followed your lead; I cast for replacements. Found a good one. How come you don't feel bad when you cut off something that's not working anymore? How can I be more like you?
Wow. That was a long and boring story.
So, you want to be more like me.
Well, let me tell you something. You’re not me. You’re not a genius, a doctor, a cynic, or a jerk. You’re not someone who can say whatever he wants without consequences. You can’t just copy what I do and expect to feel the same way I do. And you didn't copy me at all.
You let her cancel on you, lie to you, ignore you, and use you. You didn’t call her out, question her, challenge her, or demand an explanation from her. You didn’t stand up for yourself.
You blamed her. You took no responsibility for your part. You generalized the relationship as a failure and dismissed it. You replaced her with someone else without reflecting on what went wrong and what could be done differently.
Did you even bother to ask her why she treated you that way?
Around the time I was cutting things off, she told me that her boyfriend got fired from his job during that time and he needed a lot of her attention and she just… couldn’t get it together for me. Couldn't schedule anything with me. Which would have been fine if she'd bothered to tell me that she wouldn't be able to schedule anything. That it wasn't going to happen.
But she didn't tell me anything.
She just let me wait and wait and wait and wait. She let me find out from her silence and the calendar running out instead of telling me herself.
I trusted her to make plans. I trusted her to let me know if she couldn’t make plans. She had before. But not this time. She didn't value our friendship or respect our time enough to let me know.
She let two weeks go right by. She waited until she was about to leave town before actually trying to plan anything and it was last-minute and worthless and wasting my time.
You're a moron.
If she didn't want to see you, she wouldn't have reached out to you at all.
She reached out to you, but late and after your patience had run out. She reached out to you but with less information than you needed and less attention than you expected and wanted. And this is someone with ADHD, so what you're describing is not a friend who doesn't value you.
What you're describing is time blindness.
People with ADHD have trouble remembering or prioritizing their commitments, especially when they're not in their home environment. According to you, she was in a different city: yours. According to you, she was dealing with a crisis with her boyfriend.
When someone with ADHD isn't at home and they're in a high stress situation, they don't have all their familiar cues and reminders. They have difficulty estimating how long things take. They lose track of how much time has passed. They lose sight of how much time they have left.
They don't realize that you're waiting on them, they forget that they haven't gotten back to you, they don't see that time's running out. Because they have a condition that makes them need their friends to prompt, cue, reach out and remind them. Because they have ADHD.
But you decided that what she had was a total disregard for you. You decided to take that personally. And you decided to do nothing. You just stewed and seethed.
Because you’re a coward. You didn’t communicate with her about your feelings.
Because you’re a quitter. You gave up without giving her a chance to explain or apologize.
Because you’re a traitor. You betrayed her trust and friendship by replacing her with her enemy.
Because you’re a jerk. You told her that she was interchangeable, unspecial, one of many candidates, and replaceable.
You know you did nothing to handle the situation maturely. And you know why.
You didn't confront her because you were afraid of what the answer would be. You didn't ask her why because, on some level, you didn't think you were worth her time or effort or scheduling.
And you know what? You're right. You weren't worth her time.
Because your friend has ADHD and struggles to plan and schedule. She was always going to lose track of her scheduling with you at some point. You should have been ready for it, but you weren't. And you didn't tell her that she was disrespectful and inconsiderate, you didn't tell her what she could do to make things right. You just replaced her.
You know, the new actress, Rory -- Rory will flat out tell me that she's got a rehearsal or filming or an audition and won't be in touch for the next few weeks. She's direct and clear so I know not to take it personally.
You replaced Chase, Foreman and Cameron. They all had their personal issues, but the upshot was: it wasn't working out anymore, so you replaced them. Why should we keep something that isn't working?
Why would it have been worthwhile for me -- or anyone -- to stay in touch with someone who wasn't responsive and wouldn't show up?
Why should anyone stick with a friendship where the other person won't schedule and won't cancel? How much more of my life was I supposed to spend waiting?
Oh, congratulations then. You swapped out one broken cog for a shiny new one. That's a healthy way to appreciate human beings. What are you, a robot?
If you needed better communication from your first favourite actress, why didn't you say so instead of disengaging and then being petty and vindictive about it? "You're no longer needed. You've been replaced."
Who says that?
And you think I don’t feel bad when I cut off something that’s not working anymore? You think I’m fine with losing Wilson, Cuddy, Cameron, Chase, Foreman, and everyone else who ever mattered to me?
The truth is, I do need people. I do need approval, sympathy, friendship, love. But I don’t know how to get it. I don’t know how to keep it. I don’t know how to deserve it. I push people away. I reject them before they reject me. And then I end up alone. Miserable. Bitter.
Talking to you.
Do you really want to be more like me? Do you really want to ignore how Catrina's a complicated person with her own issues and that she didn't mean to hurt you?
Because that's what I would do. I'd write her off as selfish, manipulative, dishonest, unreliable, inconsiderate, rude, ungrateful. She used you, abused you, lied to you, ignored you, ditched you, ghosted you, strung you along, and then had the nerve to ask you for another chance. I wouldn't waste my time on her. I'd replace her right away and I'd make sure to let her know I replaced her. I wouldn't take her ADHD into consideration; I'd only think about how it affects me.
Because I'm an ass. Because I thrive on making people feel inadequate and letting them know they don't deserve my time. You've done exactly what I would have done.
Good for you. You keep doing that.
But do it somewhere else. Do it after you leave me alone.
I have other things to do.
I have other people to replace.