Debra Downs


Debra Downs

I just ended a close friendship of 20 years.  I guess you can say we broke up.

No need to put her down.

No need to make myself right.

It’s just the way it is.

My ex-BFF knew me inside out.  She went to my wedding, rehearsal dinner, visited me many times at my weekend home, knew my kids and husband well, traveled with me. We even had a business together, once upon a time.  I met her when she was single and living full time in New York City.  She lives in California now.

I logged on to Facebook last month and there she was looking beautiful in her vintage-white dress, celebrating her wedding day with a bunch of friends.  I was ecstatic for her.  At 50, she met her Prince Charming and married him.  
Great ending to a romantic story.

And then it hit me.  

I wasn’t there.

As hard as I looked, I couldn’t find me in any of the pictures celebrating and toasting her.  I saw a bunch of her east coast friends.  But not me.  I had just seen her the previous month when she came to NYC and nothing was mentioned. To complicate matters, she introduced me to a good friend of hers, who is now my therapist; she was even in one of the FB photos toasting the bride.

An hour later, I played a tennis match and relayed the details of this betrayal to my tennis opponent who was visibly uncomfortable listening to my grievances every time we changed courts.  All week I moped, I whined, I asked my husband a thousand times why she excluded me.  It drove him crazy to the point where I wasn’t sure whom he hated more, me or her.

My other girlfriends’ reactions were all over the map.  

“Send her a wedding gift wishing her well!”  No thanks.  

“Write to her expressing your hurt and disappointment.”  

Dear friend,
I was really hurt when I logged on to FB last week and saw that you got married and didn’t invite me.   Excuse me, but WTF?   Sincerely, me.

I’ll pass.

No matter what advice I got, it didn’t matter. Even my therapist, the invited one, had no clue why I was shunned and had to let me work my way through it.   

What I needed to do was nothing.  

I let the nature of disappointment run its course through my psyche and I felt it all.  

Disappointment, grief, insecurity, envy, anger and finally acceptance that a hurtful event does not have to own me.   

I turned the lens inward (again) and saw the dynamics of our friendship over the years and actually learned something from this process.

Like a drug, I used to get emotionally hooked on her.  Going to an amazing place in first class? Envy.  In an amazing and new relationship?  Envy.  Left out of your wedding.  Poor me, I feel abandoned.  Over the years I got to know that hook really well and started to see when it was coming.  

This time, when I stayed with my self and worked through the disappointment, I got unhooked.  
Game over, not interested.  This is not what I want in a friendship.

How come she didn’t invite me to her wedding?  Who knows?

I’ll stick with my 10-year old daughter’s theory….

Maybe she just forgot to invite me.