Dear Broken Bosom Buddy;
Things begin. Things end. Sometimes you have to take a detour.
Friends are people who put more effort into helping you solve your problems than they put effort into getting you to help them solve their problems. Friends should also know when to back off and give you space as opposed to when to close in and give you attention. I’m sensing some disconnect all around in your situation.
It does take a significant amount of work to make friends. I was recently involved in a conversation about the difficulties of making friends in new places. We all know it’s true. That’s why I suggest avenues like Meetup.com for meeting new folks. Maintaining existing friendships should require less work. All the more so if they are long standing friendships. When you’re friends with somebody over a long period of time there are going to be ebbs and flows in the quality and quantity of your time together. It’s only natural. You’ll move apart. You’ll come back together. I mean this in the sense of both your physical proximity and your emotional proximity.
A critical part of being a good friend to somebody else is the ability to adjust your volume control. By this I mean recognizing where your friends are in their lives and being able to adjust your actions accordingly. If your friend is having a really hard time with some aspect of her life you need to look at what’s going on and determine how you should react.
Should you move away and give your friend space to take care of business? Sometimes being friends means being there with them less often.
Should you move in closer and offer more support and companionship than you normally would? Sometimes being friends means being there with them more often.
Every case is different and there is no hard & fast rule. It’s a case by case situation.
It sounds to me like your friend may not be aware this. The fact that she told you “I know it sucks for you right now but” is a clue. She acknowledges that it sucks to be you right now.
Whenever somebody uses the word “but” between two statements what they mean is “Everything I said prior to using the word “but” was a lie. Everything I say after the word “but” is the truth.” What your friend had to say after the word “but” is the truth. She can’t put any more energy towards you and maybe you could rekindle your friendship in the future. It would’ve been more honest had she just said not preceding it with a statement about how she knows it sucks for you.
She may however have a valid point. If she’s not capable of dealing with where you are in your life right now it’s a good thing for both of you to be aware of this and respond accordingly. The correct response may be to put your friendship on hold. There’s no need to go through a dramatic breakup or assert that you will never be friends again. I think you should just agree with her. Yes the two of you will let your friendship slip into a holding pattern and somewhere down the road when one of you feels the desire to reconnect with the other you’ll do so.
And if the desire to reconnect never arises then it will simply slip away.
Sometimes friends need time away from each other. This might be a perfect example of one of those times.
Switching gears for a moment . . .
One thing I think you should address is the scenario in which you attempted to help your friend find a job and she flaked out at the 11th hour. I’ve been down this road myself and this is why I do not help anybody find jobs any more. Based on my experience and on anecdotal evidence from other people attempting to help one of your friends find a job will result in some level of failure nine times out of 10. It also reflects poorly on you if your friend turns out to be a terrible employee.
Last time I helped a friend find a job she got the job and was subsequently told by her boyfriend that she was no longer allowed to talk to me. I’ve finally learned my lesson (Skippy said yet again).
Unless you are being paid to find jobs for other people don’t do it.
I would tell her not to expect any help from you in the future finding a job and then stick to it. And apply that rule to everyone. Don’t be stupid like me.