I’ll never forget how excited I had been for my first official shopping trip with my new friend (who I met at work). She was not the first friend I had made since moving to Europe but she was the first official one that I spoke another language with (not English). Plus she was a friend that lived in the same village as me while most of my other friends in Europe lived a distance away and gatherings had to be planned in advance.
I was so excited! I was on my way to building a life in another country (language, job, friends, etc.). The feeling like you can become integrated in another culture is a feeling that is of acceptance, belonging.
From our village I was to pick her up at her house and drive 30 minutes to the big city (where they have fabulous shopping – a lot of boutiques – some stores from up and coming fashion designers). After going back and forth about the time to leave – it was finally agreed upon the time my friend (name: Marian) had suggested 11:00…I had first suggested 10:00 (to avoid traffic and get to the shops before the Saturday craziness). But we left at 11:00 in the morning.
The car trip was filled with conversation, she started with one of her friends who had just found out she had breast cancer. That was awful news and she spoke about how awful it is for her friend and her circumstance. Marian didn’t dwell so much on her friend – ending with the fact that she found it a pity for her friend. We moved on to lighter conversation – things like what she wanted to buy and other plans for the rest of the weekend. The rest of the conversations seem vague and we soon arrived in the city!
The shopping excursion started out what seemed normal…making your way to the main streets and at least at my end ensuring that we both got to see what we both wanted to see.
To describe the rest of the excursion is actually simple. When we were shopping in a store Marian went straight to the clothes and did not talk to me at all during the shopping experience. At the first store she told me a story about how she shops with one of her friends and this friend always as to be by her side and go to the fitting room with her to comment on how the outfit looks on her or give her opinion. She said to me, “I’m so glad you are not like that.”
The rest of the time when we did interact was like this:
— Me, “Can we stop to get some coffee here?”. Marian, “You don’t want coffee now, a bit later is better.”
—Me, “Do you mind if we stop in this store?”. Marian, “Oh that store is not nice, it doesn’t have nice things, it is better if we go to this one…”
—Marian, “I’m hungry, let’s go get something to eat.” Me, “How about this place, it has some good food.”. Marian, “I know a better place and I’ll treat you for driving.” (you can guess it was not anything spectacular…even cheaper than McDonald’s)
By the end of the day we had gone to all of Marian’s favorite shops…I had not gone to any that I liked, I did like the same ones she liked but there were others I wanted to see. She got the food she wanted and she made the polite gesture of buying me lunch for driving. I hadn’t gotten coffee and nor had I really had any good conversation with her, not even when I sat down for 5 minutes with her to eat our sandwiches…she was busy eating…no conversation.
Writing this event down brings back interesting reflections. Going through it I didn’t feel like a doormat…I actually was happy with hanging out with her. I didn’t realize that my needs were not met as well nor considered at all. It was a time of bliss for me…thinking I had a friend and how fun it is to go shopping with her, spending time with her.
Looking back sitting here typing…I actually am not angry (though I was in the beginning when I first figured out what Marian is – a Frenemy). I am still hurt but also grateful. Because I am aware of how I can be a doormat sometimes and that if I have interactions like this one I can be a bit more cautious of how I let people walk all over me sometimes…after all I wasn’t allowed to get coffee! What kind of sick bTCH does that?
Keywords: Frenemy, Narcissism, Narcissist Traits, NPD