Monday, November 28, 2011

Makin' Up Is Hard To Do!

Melissa & Heather, circa 1989

When Jennifer introduced the topic of best friends, I knew I’d be telling you about my bestie, Heather. That’s a no-brainer. What I didn’t know was specifically what I’d tell you. We go way back, people. I’ve got more than twenty years of material to choose from!  Do I share the tale of our epic—and semi-nude—adventures backpacking through Italy and Greece? Nah. Who wants to see topless photos of eighteen-year-old girls? Perverts, that’s who. And our readers aren’t perverts.

So, instead, I decided to tie in the topic of friendship with something every writer (and BFF) knows well—and that’s conflict.

All friends fight. I maintain you’re a freak of nature if you don’t.  But many years ago, Heather and I quarreled over something stupid, and we didn’t speak for nearly three years afterwards. Yeah, you heard that right. Three years. I’ll woman up and claim responsibility—it was my fault.

I’d been dating Heather’s older brother, and when the relationship ended and she sent me an email asking why, I lost my shit and got defensive. I told her it was none of her business, or something equally rude and un-BFF-like. She did the logical thing and backed off, and then it began: The Silence.

Nothing suffocates friendship like The Silence. Because each day you don’t speak, the “what if’s” grow louder, planting doubts in your mind like, What if I reach out and she snubs me? What if she hates me now? And after years have gone by, What if it’s awkward between us? What if we can’t get it back?

I was an emotional wussy, choosing silence instead of growing a pair and apologizing. But luckily for me, Heather’s got some serious brass berries. One day, she sent me an email, basically saying, “Look. I don’t remember why we’re fighting, but this is stupid, and I miss you.” I snatched that olive branch with both hands and never looked back.

Now we’re like this again ::crosses fingers:: separated by time zones, not conflict. In fact, my husband complains that Heather and I sound like a pair of lovers when we post Miss you! or Love you! on each other’s Facebook pages. We stay in touch and get together once a year, usually each spring, for a BFF getaway. Speaking of which, I could use that vacation right about now!

Posing with our anatomically-correct snow couple. (1990)

As for my writing, I’ve noticed themes of fractured friendships in both my books. In OUTWORLDERS, my YA sci-fi, the main character and her best friend don’t speak for months. And when they finally make up, they’re quickly separated again…by galaxies. In my adult romance, the main character is reunited with her best friend after a ten-year rift…and that best friend happens to be her super-sexy first love!

(I should probably disclose that my BFF is super-sexy, but I don’t swing that way. Love ‘ya, Heather!)
Melissa & Heather, circa 2009


Now it’s your turn! Tell me about a time you fought with a good friend. Or better yet, tell me how you reconnected with one!

30 comments:

Jen Daiker said...

The ending was hilarious!!! "She's super sexy, but I don't swing that way."

Great story! I love the friend stories. I love the reconnecting! My cross country friends and I stopped talking for about five years and when it was time to get married we met each other again. Now we couldn't be better friends! I love it!!!

Melissa Landers said...

lol, Jen, she is super sexy. If I swung that way, she'd get right of first refusal. :-P

Cool that you and your friends found each other again when you got married. It's so easy to drift apart when grown-up responsibilities get in the way.

Heather said...

I love all the sexy comments when there are such hideous pictures posted! Omg! I still think the Greece pictures and escapades would have made a great blog!!
Although I'm not really sure why we didn't speak, I do hate that we wasted so much time. I'm so glad that we are still best friends after all these years and I feel truly blessed to have you in my life. Love you!

Lea Nolan said...

What a great post, Melissa! There's something so great about having a friend who's been with you through so much. And I love that you've got two decades worth of pictures too. By the way, interesting happy trail you've got on that snowman! Thanks for sharing!

Melissa Landers said...

@Heather: I feel blessed to have you in my life, too! Love you! (See what I mean, everyone? If my hubby saw this, he'd roll his eyes.)

@Lea: You should've seen what we built beneath that snowman's loincloth! Let's just say the cold didn't cause any shrinkage.

Amanda Carlson said...

I broke one of the the golden rules: I lived with my bestie. If you love each other, never, ever live together. We worked it out in the end, but it took time. Once we had our own space and lives it was easier to get back to that awesome place. Your bestie is the one you gossip with, bitch with, laugh with, but NEVER live with. Word.

Melissa Landers said...

Oooooh! Living with the bestie. I'd never thought about that issue. Glad you worked it out, though!

Heather said...

I'm laughing so hard that tears are running down my face. I totally forgot about the "snow balls". And for the record, the happy trail and snow balls were Melissa's ideas! She has always been the creative one!

Micki Gibson said...

Fantastic post, Melissa! I have a BFF where The Silence was relatively short, but hurt no less. Now that BFF is 750 miles away (not that I'm counting), but I can't imagine anyone else that I'd get up at 4 am to do a spin class with. (I hate spinning even more than I hate getting up at 4 am, but I love the friend more than I hate those two things together.) I also have a group of college friends who I make a point to see at least once a year. We might take 6 months to plan our girls getaway and everyone might not make it, but I love those gals as my as my high school BFF. Goodness knows I'd need an awful lot of wine and/or vodka to ply them with if I ever considered running for a political office. They all have waaaayyyyy too muc dirt on me. And I wouldn't have it any other way! :-)

Melissa Landers said...

Oh, yeah, baby. He was packin' da heat. We made sure Mrs. Snowman was a very happy lady.

Melissa Landers said...

@Micki: thanks for sharing, that's awesome! And I also hate spinning. It's the closest I've ever come to puking after a workout. She must be a great friend if she can get you to spin!

Lorie Langdon said...

This story warms my heart, Melissa! And I love the pictures!! I have one friend who I've been friends with since Middle School. We've had our ups and downs as well, but we always stick by each other!
Great post!

Melissa Landers said...

Thanks, Lorie! And how cool to have a friendship that dates back to middle school!

Christina Wolfer said...

Great post, Melissa. My BFF and I have 22 years together, and no, I don't mean my husband. Don't get me wrong, he's pretty special, too, but hasn't put in the years yet. LOL. But back to the BFF. Nothing compares to having a BF that knows everything about you and has seen you through so much. We drifted apart for spurts of time, her raising a family, me going off to college, etc, but now we make a point to get together once a month.

Jessica Love said...

I have some weird issues with a lot of my friendships, so reading this and seeing Heather comment to you totally made me tear up! I'm the most co-dependent friend ever (I'm not bragging about this, it's terrible), so when there are rifts, I end up just suffering through being upset so I DON'T go through the silence. It's not healthy at all. See, I said I have issues!

Huntley Fitzpatrick said...

This totally reasonated with me! My best friend was here for Thanksgiving this weekend and I was thankful every moment to have someone who has known me and every little dark and weird part of me since we were 15...and we still never run out of conversation. We had the weird silence thing, too, ages ago when tough stuff was happening in both our lives. Now we've gotten through deaths of parents, bankruptcy, births of children, struggles of every kind. Can't imagine life without her. Great post!

Melissa Landers said...

@Christina: Once a month? Wow! That's amazing! You are very lucky, but I imagine you know that. :-)

@Jessica: Thanks for sharing that. Aw, we all have issues, so don't feel bad. I hope you find that "balance" between being the one to give in all the time and The Silence. Neither is a fun place to be.

Melissa Landers said...

@Huntley: OMG, that's a lot of stuff to go through together! I'm glad you had each other.

Jo Ramsey said...

Great post. I'm glad you and your friend patched things up!

It's interesting to me to read about people's "bestie" experiences, because I never had that. I only had one or two close friends in high school and none in college (I had friends, but not close ones). And I don't have a bestie now, either.

Suzanne Pitner said...

What would we do without our friends? Through thick and thin, and sometimes not, but it's always great to reconnect. My bestie and I also try to meet once a month, like Christina said. When our kids were little, we saw each other all the time. Now that we're both grandmas, we seem to be busier than ever.

Melissa Landers said...

@Jo: No bestie, now or ever? :-(

@Suzanne: I'm jealous of you ladies who see your BFF every month. Ditch those grandkids and book a spa day with your friend!

Jen J. Danna said...

That is such a great story. Best friends can have such a wonderful history, better than many marriages! It's worth going to any length to keep it going. Good for Heather and her brass berries for finally saying 'enough is enough!' and getting you two back together for more interesting adventures (there are more stories in there, I know it...).

Morale of the story -- never date your BFF's older brother!

Melissa Landers said...

Ooooh, Jen, there are SO many more stories in here! But not appropriate to share on a YA blog. ;-)

Brinda said...

The silent treatment is the WORST. Glad one of you got smart. ;)

Melissa Landers said...

Brinda, I was the dummy. I owned it.

Carey_Corp said...

You crack me up Melissa! My BFF from high school and I drifted apart in our mid-twenties. When it can time for our 20 year reunion, we reconnected. I flew out west and stayed at her house. Over the weekend we stay at her parents house- the same house she (and to a large extent I) grew up in. It was like two decades hadn't passed by. It was AWESOME!!!

Tameka said...

LOVE this post! My bff of 20 years and I sadly aren't as close as we used to be. In fact we are going through the silence and have been for over a year. It's a weird silence though, we both know it's there but refuse to acknowledge it. Um...how did my blog comment turn into therapy?

Anyway...I love the subject of BFFs in writing. The friend dynamic is so rich with material, it's fun to examine!!!

Oh and also, dead at the anatomically correct snowman. Dead and buried.

Melissa Landers said...

@Carey: a slumber party at her parents' house? Talk about a blast from the past!

@Tameka: Aw, the silence? Maybe you can be the "Heather" and extend the peace pipe. I hope you two patch things up soon.

Martha Ramirez said...

Great post!

Melissa Landers said...

Thanks, Martha. :-)