Okay, this is not a blog post about supportive bras (sorry guys!), but it is about friendship and support. Do you have people who support you or leave you swinging in the wind?
I am absolutely THRILLED that my tiny little blog has now passed 27,000 visitors and want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have supported this blog, whether you are a one-off fly-by visitor or a regular ‘pull up a chair and chillax’ visitor. You guys are utterly AMAZEBALLS!!!! 😀 xxx
Well, although this is a time of great changes and sparkly new horizons, all of them positive – like the brand new job and scary new career I’ve just embarked on after having been a full-time teacher for the last 16 yrs; I admit that this post is a bit of a ‘moan-fest’, something I don’t do very often. But I’m eventually venting about something that has bugged the crap out of me for the last two years.
It’s funny, I was recently reading a very heartfelt and extraordinary post by brilliant fantasy writer, Tricia Drammeh, all about how important it is to be supported by family and friends. The post really struck a chord with me, as it did for so many other writers: http://blog.triciadrammeh.com/2014/05/21/when-your-family-doesnt-support-your-writing/ Please check out the rest of Tricia’s wonderful blog: http://blog.triciadrammeh.com/
Although writing can be exhilarating, life-changing, life-affirming and just a wonderfully fulfilling creative ride…it can also be incredibly isolating, lonely, frustrating, un-rewarding, demoralising and difficult. That rollercoaster journey of success, failure, hopes and dreams, both realised or crushed, is hard enough as it is, but the journey becomes all the more difficult if you are embarking on your creative path without the support of nearest and dearest.
Now, I count myself as being very lucky, as my family even including Aunts and Uncles, have been incredibly supportive and encouraging of my writing journey. But, like many other writers, I too have experienced the opposite. Despite the majority of my friends being amazingly supportive, more than I could ever have hoped for, strangely enough my oldest ‘best friend’ of the last 20 yrs+ has been pretty dreadful.
Daft I know, but it has not only plagued me, but deeply hurt and upset me. I can openly say her name, Joanna, why? Because I know that she will never ever read this. She knows nothing of my writing life and doesn’t care. She doesn’t know that I have a blog, let alone the fact that my little blog has attracted over 27,000 visitors since I started it in Jan 2012. She doesn’t know that I’m on Facebook at all, have a FB book page with over 1,000 likes, have countless followers on Pinterest, set up my own Illustration business, recently had a short story published in a wonderful anthology, Felinity by Grimbold Books. She was vaguely aware (though no doubt she has forgotten) that I did a very successful Waterstone’s book signing tour in 2012, but wouldn’t know what towns and cities I visited and certainly didn’t bother attending the one just down the road from where she lives.
Again, Tricia Drammeh’s post really resonated with me. For the last 20+yrs I have supported Jo through thick and thin, for every success, every failure, every relationship, every drama – no matter how big or miniscule. I send cards to congratulate, commiserate or just to buck her up and say I’m thinking of her, even cards when she moves from one rented property in her town, to another just down the road. She is an only child, which in itself shouldn’t mean anything, except to say that in her case she is selfish and totally self-obsessed and has always been used to being the centre of attention and having people ‘do for her’. Now, the silly thing is, I never minded playing second fiddle, being the ‘listening ear’, the sympathetic shoulder, the invisible person who always supports her. I didn’t mind the fact that our friendship was always so one-sided, all about her, never about me. BUT, in 2012 something big happened in my life, the biggest thing that had ever happened to me – my first novel was published.
At the time I tried not to be hurt when I received congratulations cards and even flowers from ALL of my friends, even work colleagues and people I didn’t know well, everyone I knew EXCEPT from her. My novel was available for a limited time to pre-order, and by doing so the people who pre-ordered could have their name printed inside the book. Again, all my friends raced to purchase their pre-ordered copy, but Jo? Despite months of gentle hinting, she didn’t, eventually, with only days to spare, I plucked up the courage to be more assertive and asked her (knowing the answer), if she had bought a copy yet as the deadline was coming up. I had to literally twist her arm. Whereas my close mate, Heather (totally lovely), was the first to buy a copy, Jo was the absolute last. I couldn’t believe how totally and blatantly uninterested and unsupportive she was being, just because for once this was something to do with me and not her. Months continued like this, all my friends asking about the upcoming publication date, wanting to read excerpts, wanting to be involved in any way they could, but Jo, nothing. She never asked questions, never brought it up, it was like the 500 pound elephant in the room, all conversations reverted to the usual drone about her love life, wanting to lose weight, talking about food and Tesco’s or her long list of imagined ills and troubles – i.e. all about her as usual.
I admit, for the first time ever, my rose-tinted glasses that had been superglued to my head, actually came off and I saw clearly how completely skewed our relationship had become.
I had visited her down in Devon in the summer of 2012, which was once again a visit ‘all about Jo’ and been shocked and embarrassed when we visited her other friend (who she see’s every few days) and Jo quickly blurted out in the car on the way there that her friend knew nothing about my book so I’d have to tell her. It just re-affirmed how unimportant it was and I was. Bear in mind too, that her ‘friend’ had dabbled in writing for years and has always been a jealous sort, so you can imagine how she reacted to the news. This, btw, was after Jo had admitted to me that she gave her copy of my book away to some guy in Totnes.
Publication day came and went and nothing, no congratulations, no acknowledgement even. Again, in very rare excerpts, I had tried talking about my writing and my new novel and told her I was having a big book launch at Cirencester. I knew she had no dates that clashed with it, but I also knew, from her total silence on the subject, that she had no intention of coming. She would rather spend the weekend with her bf of the time than support her best mate.
The day of the book launch came and like a fool I was still hoping to see her walk through the door, of course she didn’t. Instead, ALL my family and friends came ‘en mass’, dear Heather travelled nearly two hours with her two little babies to attend, my dear dear Lindsey (who I had never met at that time) travelled for two hours to support, my wonderful close mate, Will Macmillan Jones travelled all the way from deepest darkest Wales to be there, everyone EXCEPT for Jo. The book launch was a huge success and sold out in just over an hour, but still, all I could think about was Jo.
And so it continued.
Then I got a true glimpse into why Jo was behaving the way she was. She visited my place with her chain-smoking obnoxious bf at the time. We went for lunch and during lunch I was shocked to have this bf ask me about my book, something Jo never did. I soon understood why. During the lunch I was then subjected to a full-on interrogation. The bf asked me a flurry of aggressive questions about my book, I tried to ignore his condescending tone. As soon as I tried to answer, he just interrupted me with comments like, “Humph, sounds like every other book I’ve read”, “Sounds just like Harry Potter” (which I have NEVER read and don’t personally like) “But what exactly makes it different?”, “You haven’t answered my question!”, “Who did you get your ideas from?” etc., etc. I was being bombarded, I looked across at Jo who not only hadn’t come to my rescue and told her offish bf to BACK THE F**K OFF, but was sitting there, arms folded, totally silent and with the most awful smug expression on her face. Cheshire cat comes to mind. 😦
It suddenly dawned on me…these disparaging remarks, the belittling, the arrogance, the condescending attitude, all of it could only have come from Jo. Those were her words spoken through him.
It was finally clear where her lack of support came from, she thought I was an idiot, an immature fool following childish dreams. Who the hell did I think I was – pretending to be a writer? Did I think I was going to be the next big thing? Delusions of grandeur or what? The feeling of disdain, palpable embarrassment towards me, her sad little friend deluding herself into thinking she had achieved something, that I was ‘an author’. I struggled through the lunch, said my courteous goodbyes and burst into tears the moment they left. I felt utterly crushed. 😦
Ever since then, even though her nasty bf then dumped her a few months later, I swore I’d never talk to her about my writing/books again, and I haven’t. It hasn’t been hard as she isn’t interested and never asks. So, we carry on, me going through the motions of a friendship that now seems so hollow. More Jo dramas to support, more imagined problems, exaggerated health issues (which magically only arose when I became ill last year), all the things that still keep Jo at the centre, where she likes to be. Meanwhile and by stark contrast, my real friends are exactly that, REAL. We support each other and can talk to each other about anything. And again, because I know Jo isn’t interested in anything other than herself, I’ve stopped talking to her about anything important to me, about my new job, my plans for the future, my family, any of it. Our last conversation was, as usual, all about her, her ‘bad back’, her problems, etc., etc.
Yes, I know I should have the guts to simply be honest and have it out with her, but frankly I’ve been worn down by it all. I have great friends around me, I’ve just eventually realised, despite the length of our friendship, that Jo isn’t one of them. 😦
So ‘moan-fest’ over, promise.
How do YOU deal with disappointment and lack of support from those you call friends? How do you move forward?
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR LISTENING TO THIS ‘LETTER TO JO’. 😀 xxxx
Oh, Sophie, I’m sorry about your experience with Jo. Even you’ve had tons of support, that doesn’t make up for the hurtful attitude coming from someone who was supposed to be your friend. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment, honey. I’m so proud of you. Your blog is FANtastic. It’s no wonder you’ve had so many views. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve given so much to other authors. We’re all here for you.
Oh Tricia, you’re going to make me cry in a moment! Thank you honey, but I was serious, your post really struck home. I’m thankful for my mum and family, but I know not all of them have read it. I’m just so sorry that you don’t have more support at home. But you know honey, you’re NEVER alone. We’re all here for you too, even if it is across an ocean! 😀 xxx
Reblogged this on Tricia Drammeh and commented:
Sophie Tallis talks about the amazing milestone of reaching 27,000 views on her wonderful blog, and she shares her personal story about lack of support (and open animosity) from someone who was supposed to be a friend. Please stop by and check out Sophie’s blog.
Wow, thank you Tricia, you’re such an inspiration to all of us, you really are! Sending love and huge hugs. xxx
I’m sorry to hear this, Sophie. I would guess she’s jealous and insecure. People don’t usually feel the need to put others down unless they’re secretly feeling bad about themselves. And her constant attention-seeking probably comes from her inner fear that everyone else is more interesting than she is. That’s not an excuse for her behaviour – which is unacceptable – but just to say that it’s her problem, not yours. In a way, it’s not even personal, though it must feel like it to you.
The sad thing is, she’s lost your genuine friendship and gained something hollow in its place, and she’ll never even notice because she’s so focused on herself. I think it’s very big of you to maintain even a semblance of friendship with her. But maybe one day she’ll come to her senses and realise what she’s been missing.
Oh thank you AFE, true words of wisdom there! Yes, to be honest, I’m such a coward. I hate confrontation, and even though In know I should have it out with her and probably end the friendship for good, I think because it’s been such a long friendship that sort of stops me. Silly isn’t it? I know it’s daft as our friendship sadly, is just a sham really, where I’m sharing with others and not sharing anything with her, but like you said, she doesn’t even notice and won’t until one day I’ll have the guts to just not be there. Sad though. 😦
Sophie,. get rid of this so-called-friend, you don’t need her! Don’t allow yourself to be used as a sounding board for her “woes.” I speak from experience, when I finally rid myself of just such a leech. It all came to a head, when she confronted me on a bus, of all places, as to why I’d stopped talking to her. Well, I’d had enough, and despite being something of an introvert, I let her have it with both barrels there and then. Boy was she shocked, as she didn’t expect the response she got.
Lol, I bet that felt incredibly liberating! It’s so stupid I know, I feel trapped in this false friendship, just ridiculous. I know you’re right, I should just have it out with her and move on. It may well come to that. Thanks honey, so glad I’m not the only one who’s had a ‘friend’ like that. 😀
You’ll do it one day, Sophie. Unfortunately people like that exist all over the world. x
Yes, you’re spot on. I tend to call really bad, destructive people ‘toxic’ people. Well, I have managed to cut all the ‘toxic’ people out of my life very successfully and an SO much happier as a result. But, I guess I never saw Jo in that category, this outwardly friendly caring person who actually doesn’t give a damn about anyone but herself. Hey ho….it’s life, eh? Thank the gods for all the terrific friends I have, like YOU! 😀 xxx
Yes indeed 😀 x
I have had people like that in my life, and it got to the point where it was making me so upset to be around them that I was becoming ill and depressed. I found the best thing was to not take their calls, block them on social media, and not read their emails. I felt terrible for about three days and then it was like a huge weight lifted, because I could carry on living my life and doing what I wanted to do without being constantly judged and sniped at. I’m not saying that’s what you should do, but it helped me 🙂
Thank you Joanne, ahhh what a lovely Jo, what a difference to my own Jo! Lol, I can honestly say that you two are the polar opposite. You are always so caring and encouraging and giving, and she…jes’! I think that is probably the way it will go, as I hate confrontations. But you’re spot on, it goes beyond merely be bugged, it not only upsets you but yes, it almost makes you ill, that constant grinding down. No…I’d be amazed if you’re still mates this time next year. Thank honey for sharing. 😀 xx
Your question: ‘How do YOU deal with disappointment and lack of support from those you call friends? How do you move forward?’
I learned that some people in my life stood in for earlier influential figures. This realisation brought insights. Occasionally such a relationship can tie us in negative loops of expectations we unwittingly feed. Seems this friendship is up for change. A penny dropped. There are ways to symbolically release negative psychological ties. The friendship may or may nor survive, but something will be freed up for both of you. There’s a wonderful woman, Phyllis Krystal, now in her nineties, you may want to look up her work, especially her book ‘Cutting the Ties that Bind.’
Ooooh, thank you, Ashen, I’ll look that up. That’s exactly it, ‘the ties that bind’. I feel bound to continue in this friendship merely because of the years that we have been friends. I’m sure all of this would be a huge shock to her, she is so utterly detached from reality. But yes, the penny definitely dropped…and once it has dropped it can’t be undropped! Thank you sweetie. 😀
Aww Soph, thank you for the undeserved compliment. As you know, I realised a couple of years ago that you can judge the quality of your with someone by the way they react to the things about which you are most passionate. Those who can develop a real passion also tend to be the most interesting people to have as friends – and the most challenging, and the most worthwhile: but not everyone can understand that.
Thanks honey. I know you understand too in many ways. It never gets any easier though does it? Lol, and you’re so right about passionate people, I think that’s half the problem. I have too many passions and hobbies and not enough time, but Jo, she just isn’t interested in anything and never has been, so I guess it’s inevitable that she’d be so disinterested in my passions. Just doesn’t excuse the belittling…I’ve never do that to her. Hey ho.. Thanks honey! 😀
Sophie, I’m so sorry for your experience with your friend. I’ve had friends like that, and they’re exhausting people to be friends with because you feel like you can never really be yourself around them. Still, the thought of letting them go when you’ve had such great times in the past hurts.
I hope things continue to go well for you. And I, for one, can’t wait for White Mountain to be re-released (especially as I missed out on getting a copy before). Remember: You’ve got plenty of true friends all over the world, and we’ll love you and support you no matter what. *hugs*
Oh, HUGE thank you Kay! I know, I feel very blessed by my real friends. I guess it just always brings up the stark contrast between them and Jo. I’m sorry you’ve had similar experiences, it’s not nice is it and really can affect you. Cheers honey…oh…and I may have some exciting news on the White Mountain front….I’ll let you know as soon as I’m able to! 😛
Woo! I can’t wait! 😀
Lol, will fill you in when I can sweetie, promise! 😀
I actually know this story! *smiles softly* Back when I married my wife, my then best friend well, lets just say accused me of being a really horrible person, and I finally realized that I never had gotten a thing out of our relationship. That it was always me running to her rescue, or helping her out, or being there for her. To top it all off she was a victim. Just before my wedding, I dumped her. It was hard, and I was deeply saddened by this loss of someone I had considered my best friend for many many years, but after… wow, I could not believe the loss of drama in my life! For that alone it was worth it. We still talk occasionally, head out for lunch from time to time, but in all honesty, I am so glad that I opted out of that relationship.
Thanks for sharing Ravyn. It’s really hard isn’t it when any relationship/friendship turns out to be something different to what you had thought. The silly thing is, out of all my friends, she is the one I have helped the most by far, spent years and years wrapped up in her little dramas, always about her, her, her. But you’re spot on…the constant drama will be a huge relief to lose if I do let it fizzle. Despite her living several hundred miles away, every phonecall is filled with it. Well, I’m really glad you were able to extricate yourself from that situation. I bet you’re A LOT happier now! Cheers hon. 😀
It is hard! I miss her sometimes still, she was my “bestest” friend, at least that is what I thought at the time! And yes, I am much happier without that drama and constant drain on my energy and resources…
I hope that things find their way of working out for you! No one likes to realize those kinds of people are in their life!
Thank you, Ravyn. I hope your situation continues to improve too. Despite missing your best friend, I’m sure you’re a lot happier now. Thanks for sharing sweetie. 😀
I had a friend like that at Uni. Sometimes, it’s just better to let these things drop. I just let her make all the running and eventually we drifted apart. I was sad in many ways but in others, relieved. It’s not always easy to see the difference between friends and leeches. It sounds like this particular friend was leaning towards the leech side. I have one relly who is not interested in my books, which is weird because she actually IS interested in and cares for me. But when I mentioned them she said, “Oh I can’t be doing with all that sort of excitement.” She knows I’m self published and I think she believes I’m writing porn. I put her right and left it at that.
It’s hard but b nnnnnnnnnnbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb oops, sorry, message from my cat.
It’s hard but it sounds as if everyone else is very supportive, so I guess you just have to hold onto that.
Thank you MT, it’s not easy is it? Sorry about your friend too. The irony is that special friends like Lindsey are gone (it would have been her birthday today 😦 ) and it just sharpens the difference between the two. As it stands, Jo has a rather large ego and so after her last ‘me me me’ email, which I haven’t responded to (frankly I didn’t know what the hell to say) she hasn’t contacted me since, so things could just dissolve naturally by themselves. It is sad to let over 20 yrs go, but she’s just not the friend I thought she was and me pandering to her every whim the way I always have done and the way everyone else does, isn’t helping her. She’s more self-obsessed and neurotic than she’s ever been because of being constantly indulged. Anyway, yes…perhaps it’s time for a change and time to really appreciate the people in our lives you ARE supportive and caring. Cheers honey! 😀 xx
I’m so sorry to hear about your experiences with your friend. I’m surprised you’re still somewhat in touch with her despite all of this– I’ve had my share of similar experiences, and I know exactly how hard and guilt-making it can be to break loose of such a relationship.
You should be genuinely proud of yourself for your achievement on the book, and that you gave 20 years of friendship. The fact that she didn’t deserve the latter doesn’t count– nothing can take away from the fact that you’re a lovely person, and a good writer 🙂
Ah, thank you SO much Damyanti, that’s incredibly kind of you sweetie. It’s always so difficult isn’t it? In many ways I’m being a complete coward by not tackling her head on, but I know she just doesn’t have a clue how her actions or lack of, affects people, so I’d be talking to a brick wall! I’m really sorry that you’ve had similar experiences, I hope things are sorted for you now and you’re not still in that situation. Guilt is exactly right, even though we have nothing to feel guilty about, there’s always that niggling feeling of whether you should give the friendship one more go or not. Thanks for your support and understanding honey, hope things are good for you now. 😀
Somtimes its hard to find a best freind
And somtimes no and if its your birthday which that you and best freind are always best freind and this is a wich to wich best freind today tommorow and always
Sisters by chance freinds by choice
Very true Christina, thank you! 😀
Thanks Zeina, 🙂
Your so called ‘moan-fest’ kept me reading till the very end, I can definitely say that your ‘friend’ not reading your books is totally her loss. It’s a very unusual post but an important one. The thumbs up from one person sometimes means so much more than all the praise in the world. I am sure many authors will connect with this feeling of being let down by a close friend, and this should give them strength and perspective.
Ah, thank you anirwrites, much appreciated! Yes, considering that we had been such close friends for 20 years, it has been the one really negative thing about my burgeoning writing career. I must also add, that the friendship has dwindled somewhat since writing this, while other close friends have been nothing but supportive. Thank for this, I hope it does help other people to realise that these things do happen, even in the longest of friendships! 🙂