My best friend and I are both Millennials who’ve been friends for 17-plus years. We talk almost daily about everything and anything.
She moved laterally last year to a job in a new company, after previously working 10 years in her field. She’s expressed pride in having achieved her first whole year there.
I sarcastically remarked about her thinking that a “one-year anniversary” at a job was a milestone.
She’s since said that she’s hurt that I didn’t want to celebrate with her.
While I see why making a joke about something important to her would be hurtful (I’ve since apologized), I genuinely don’t care about her “one year (job) anniversary.”
She insists that things important to her should be important to me, too, and I should be celebrating her accomplishments.
To me, it feels somewhat like “trophies for everyone.”
I accept the importance to her, but I don’t know if I can feign interest in something I find silly, even if it causes our friendship’s end.
I want to resolve this matter with her, but not by compromising my own values.
Am I a Bad Friend?
Your sign-off question shows the concern you actually feel about “breaking up” over this one disagreement. Rather than worry about getting an unwanted reputation of being a “bad friend,” closely consider whether this one difference of opinion is worth losing your long friendship.
Also consider whether you believe that friends must agree on everything.
It’s common today that even the closest people, including partners, differ on some opinions, due to varied and different backgrounds and life experiences.
Examine closely whether whatever drew you together no longer holds true for you. (Your apology shows regret over dismissing what matters to her. You’re not a consistently “bad friend”).
Yet a standoff over this one topic seems unnecessarily harsh unless you’ve found bigger reasons to distance.
For now, you could just try having less-frequent talks to relieve the tension between you. You’ll hopefully soon know whether you regret this one contentious opinion and/or can put it aside.
Readers’ Commentary Regarding thoughtful responses about newcomers feeling lonely in a place where they know almost no one (August 16):
Reader No.1 – “After I moved here, I made two now-treasured friends through volunteering for the library. Another good way to meet people is to join a fitness class, also aquafit.”
Reader No.2 – “Choose something that interests you and spend as many days/hours as you like. I’ve been volunteering for 20 years and made many friends.”
Reader No.3 – “Pick a project you’d like, and reach out.”
Reader No.4 – “A wonderful government website is “Newcomers to Canada, Services.” Input your postal code, and many options appear for your local neighborhood.
“You’ll find community centers in your district to join; being matched with a host family who volunteer to help you integrate into your new country/city; sports opportunities and clubs. The letter-writer came to the right country!”
Reader No.5 – “We’ve moved to places where we knew nobody. My best advice is to join a group activity: art class, a pottery studio, cooking classes. Choose an activity where you see the same people for six-to-eight weeks.
“Seeing the same people regularly fosters connections and gives you something to look forward to. Real friendships take time, but making good acquaintances is also helpful.”
Reader No.6 – “Search online for newcomer groups or meetup groups, designed to connect people and offer many activity choices.”
My aunt died in her 50s. Her divorced younger sister helped her brother-in-law raise two young sons.
They married and had a loving relationship into their early-70s, when the wife required a caregiver. The couple moved to a retirement home.
When his wife died, my uncle remained there. In time, he met a female resident, both mid-70’s, formed a relationship. The two grown sons worried but their father remained healthy. He lived to his early-90s.
The only person upset by his “lifestyle,” was me, his grand-daughter. I keep wondering what bothered me so much.
Sadly, old-age relationships, including dating/love/sexual intimacy are sometimes hard for younger people to understand and accept.
Yet all humans experience some age-related changes in their emotional and social needs through the decades.
Your grandfather’s good health allowed connections through sharing ideas, common interests and activities with other healthy seniors.
You’ll likely feel much better about this, if, hopefully, you discover having similar genes.
Tip of the day:
When once-close friends form strongly different/contentious opinions, distance gently. If you miss this person, reassess.