Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for January 11th, 2012

Friendship Up

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 11, 2012

   So often, I hear about friendships gone South. Life-long friends who suddenly, or gradually, part ways. The sadness, the loss, and the grief are sometimes profoundly disturbing to both parties, yet the irreconcilable differences, the hurt feelings, prevent obstacles to reconciliation. Today, I heard an “up” story, one that also comes up in psychotherapy in that the consultation room is an area for airing one’s feelings, be they good or bad, or confusing or scary. Lisa, my patient, aged fifty, and Maya, also fifty, went to high school together, but they were not close. They never spent time together after school. They did not know each other’s families, and they did not have close friends in common. Nevertheless, they were fond of one another. There was no contact, “as one would expect” Lisa tells me, until Maya started planning their 30th High School reunion. Lisa tells me “of course, I would never go. I was fat and ugly and isolated in high school, so why should I go?” she asks me rhetorically. Yet, Lisa responded to Maya’s plea to attend, by saying that she would love to get together, just the two of them and “catch up.” This started a surprising three-year friendship which continues to deepen and surprise both Lisa and Maya. Over the last three years they have become familiar with each other’s spouses, children and parents. The usual middle-age discussions of getting kids off to college and then paying for it, followed by the more serious discussion of aging and dead parents. Lisa says, “I don’t think I have found a new friend in about ten years. I don’t know if Maya counts as a new friend, since I knew her so long ago, but she feels like a new friend.” Lisa relates with youthful enthusiasm for finally finding a friend she trusts. “It sounds like you and Maya are falling in love,” I say, highlighting my theme that platonic friendships can be deeply meaningful. “I guess you could say that,” Lisa says, accepting the loving nature of her feelings. “I am happy for you,” I say, emphasizing what a wonderful feeling she must be experiencing. “Thanks,” she says. “It is nice to share something positive for a change,” she says, reminding me of all the tough times we have gone through together. “Oh yea,” I say, mirroring her feelings about that.


See also…


Posted in Friendship, Psychotherapy | 2 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: