my friend, your friend
A family friend sent me a friend request today. This is a woman I like. I've known her for more than twenty years. Her kids were friends with my youngest siblings. I babysat those kids and later went to their weddings. This woman helped me to sew a formal dress one time, and gave my wedding dress a nice, clean, safe place to hang out until my wedding day (my family's home was, to put it mildly, squalid). She threw a wedding shower for me. She put my husband and I up in her home when we visited town (my family lacked space). I participated several times in her annual yard sale. She was like an aunt to me. She's far from perfect, but who's perfect? She was good to me.
The thing is, she's my parents' friend. She started as my parents' friend and at the end of the day, she is still their friend. She is not really, when it comes down to it, my friend. And she's a very talkative, gossipy woman (I say that as somebody who can gossip her fair share, too). I used to be Facebook friends with her children, but ultimately they were really my siblings' friends more than they were mine, and they were asking my siblings questions about me and my parents that made my sibs feel uncomfortable, so I decided to unfriend them. They weren't really my friends and I valued my sibs more than I valued them.
I don't want this woman to carry information about me back to my parents. It's not that I particularly care who knows what I'm doing or saying, it's the idea of having somebody who is more on my parents' side than on mine acting as a witness to my life. I don't need that.
So I clicked "ignore" and then, because stupid Facebook doesn't allow you to just delete the request outright, went into "hidden requests" and deleted it. I felt like a jerk. I like this woman. I'd love to visit her. If she lived close by, I'm sure I'd see her now and then, stop to chat in the grocery store or whatnot.
I hate that in the name of maintaining boundaries between myself and my parents, some relationships like this end up being collateral damage. It whittles away at my tribe and causes me to have to very purposefully develop new relationships, rather than being able to enjoy old relationships the way a normal person might.
And isn't that really the problem? I'm not normal. My parents aren't normal. And I hate it.