Monday, October 17, 2011

The Subtleties of Friendship

Sometimes real life isn't as good as a novel.

I have a friend with whom I share many similarities, including small children, sense of humor, parenting ideals. We mesh well-- so well that she could easily be one of my closest friends. We've shared intimate confidences, and some pretty big life events together.


Something changed over the past few months. She pulled away and I was left going, "huh?" I don't want to go into too much here, but let's just say we don't talk nearly as often now--or at all, in fact, and our friendship seems to exist in a sort of suspended hiatus state. In lieu of any instance I can think of where I've offended her, I can only assume my company isn't as wonderful as I like to think it is. My resulting wounded feelings prevent me from asking her what's going on in the event that nothing's going on, and then it'll become a thing where it wasn't one (except it is) and I'll end up looking crazy. So I'm waiting and seeing. (And feeling hurt.) You can think what you want about that tactic, but just remember that there is, of course, much more to the story that isn't appropriate to go into here. Just know that this is the course of action that seems best at this point for me.

In novels, I love reading about strong female friendships where the friends never stop talking to one another for no apparent reason, who support each other always, and who are always there for each other. There isn't ever any drama, and neither party drifts off when there's a solid friendship in place. In short, the friends are reliable and true.

Good stories show such friendships weathering tests, like when one friend disagrees with the other and lets her know it, or when one hurts the other. But they always work through and get past it, because they're great friends -- and usually good people. In real life, nuances of behavior sometimes prevent solutions, or maybe one of the friends is selfish and lets the friendship go a bit (this is not in reference my story above). Friendships require careful care and watering, and in real life sometimes we can't or won't do that, and the friendship suffers sometimes irreversible damage.

Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher are two authors who wrote epic sagas with enduring friendships in them. I'm very close to brain dead right now (Rainbow Puppy is teething and up frequently at night again) so I can't conjure any other examples to mind. But I want to hear your favorite fictional friendships. And of course, whether you find friendships in novels to be deliciously lovely escapes from our real-life entanglements?

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