Thursday, November 02, 2006


I have this "friend" and am in a quandry about something, so I'll put it out there to you, dear readers, in hope of some feedback.

I put "friend" in quotes because she's not really a friend any longer. We used to be great friends, best friends, actually, in college. She introduced me to my husband. She looked out for me when I had too much to drink (I know, that's a shock to you all, that I ever had too much to drink), and I did the same for her. We had millions of inside jokes and knew each other's secrets. Even after I transferred out of Rolla, we remained close. Then we graduated, and she went home to Paducah, KY, and I went home to STL, MO, and we still talked and e-mailed all the time. I was in her wedding, and she was in mine. One weekend, she and her husband invited me and M to Paducah for the weekend. It's not a long drive, and we hadn't seen them in awhile, so we planned the trip with high expectations for some real fun.

The first night, we went to dinner and they brought along a "friend" of theirs. Again, note my use of the quotes around friend. Meal was fantastic, conversation flowed, it was great. We talked about what we were all doing, what we wanted to be doing, where we'd be in five, ten, fifteen years and beyond. To have children or not to have children. Dream houses, dream cars, and dream lives. The second day, I don't remember what we did, but that night we ate dinner out again and something didn't agree with my stomach and I was battling a mild case of food poisoning into the next morning.

Which is when their "friend" came back. Dressed up. In heels and a skirt. To pitch...Amway. Now, I'm not for Amway when it's a good day, much less when I'm running for the bathroom every four minutes. We sat politely through her spiel, with our friends sitting there nodding and commenting on how great it all is, etc. She would pause during my bathroom breaks, and resume as if nothing had happened when I returned. She used everything we had talked about at dinner Friday night to sell us on the program. We realized we hadn't been invited for the weekend as friends, but instead as targets. Our dinner Friday night was the set-up for the pitch, the raping of our minds, dreams and aspirations to sell us on a giant pyramid scheme. The more people they recruited, the more money they made and the less work they had to do. This epiphany did not go over well with us.

M finally used the excuse, "I really need to get her home," and we left. Threw all our things in the car and peeled out, grateful to get away from the sales push. As we had climbed into the car, my friend forced a small black case on me, stuffed full of Amway materials, despite our continual gracious refusals and declinations, saying, "Just take a look at it when you get home and you feel better. You'll's really great!" I never even opened the case. She called almost daily after that, not to ask how I was feeling but to see if I was ready to sign up yet. I'm not sure how she finally got the message that we weren't going to do it, but when she did, she coldly and abruptly asked me to ship back (!) her Amway materials. You have got to be kidding me. You force me to take something against my wishes, then you ask me to pay to ship it back to you? I did ship it back. I took it to the post office and told the woman, "I don't care if you drop it, smash it, spill coffee on it, or run it over. I don't care if it takes six months to get there, or if it ever makes it at all. What's the cheapest option to send this stupid box?"

Months later we heard from our friends again. They were coming to St. Louis for something and wanted to stop by to say hello. M and I aren't ones to hold a grudge, and we figured maybe they had pulled their heads out of the collective Amway ass and wanted to reconnect. Nope. They stopped by for two reasons: to show off their new Camry (which, ironically, had recently been keyed while my friend was at her "real" job...hmmm, wonder why), and to tell us about a new Amway venture: Amway on the internet. Now it was even easier to join the pyramid scheme and fork over a bunch of our hard-earned money. We also had to look at about 200 pictures of all their new Amway friends, made while at an Amway convention. It was so cult-like it was creepy. They had glazed-over eyes and kept repeating themselves. I threw away their Amway internet business cards as soon as they left.

Again, we were nothing but polite, even while rejecting their pleas to join their Amway world. Didn't hear from them for awhile, and then I got an invitation in the mail to a baby shower for her. Thrilled to death that she was having a baby, I sent my regrets as I couldn't attend that weekend, and my best wishes. Sent a few e-mails, and got a few terse replies, and didn't think much more about it. I sent a gift when her daughter was born, and wrote, "I can't wait to meet her!" No response...not even a thank-you card.

She got pregnant again a coupletwothree years later, and it was right in the middle of our dealing with infertility. I sat at my computer and cried when I got her mass e-mail, wondering how she was so blessed to get two when I couldn't even have one. I deleted the e-mail without responding and was depressed for three days.

A couple of months later my miracle happened and we were pregnant. Eager to share good news, I sent an e-mail to my friend, apologizing for not responding to the news of her second, trying to explain what we had just gone through with two years of infertility struggles, and announcing my own pregnancy. I received no response. I also mailed her an announcement when Zozo was born, and again received no response. When her son was born, I had sent a congratulatory e-mail with lots of good wishes and praise for her adorable boy.

Through all of this, I continue to get these e-mails from her that have links to photographs she has posted on-line, of her children, their vacations, her new gig as lead singer in a band. Visits from grandmas and friends, field trips, birthday parties, and holidays. I used to reply to every one, telling her that I was so glad everyone looks so happy and healthy, and that her adorable daughter has her curls but in all other regards looks just like her daddy, etc. I have never received a response. Now, most of the time, I just delete them.

This morning I logged in to find two more of these photo e-mails from her. I am tempted to send a blunt e-mail back asking to be removed from her e-mail list, but don't know if that's appropriate. Every time I get one of these stupid e-mails from her, I remember her, and the good times we had, and how shitty it all got at the end, for a stupid reason like Amway. I am angered, again, that she put Amway and her goal to get rich quick ahead of our friendship. I am saddened, all over again, that she apparently saw me only as a rung in her Amway ladder instead of as the friends I so foolishly thought we were. I don't know if she's still in Amway, and don't know that she'd respond even if I asked. I have always been afraid to ask about Amway for two reasons: if she's not involved anymore I don't want to bring up a sore, and possibly embarrassing, subject, and if she is still involved, I don't want her to take my question as a sign of interest. So I never asked.

So, do I just keep hitting "delete" when I get these e-mails from her, going through the cycle of emotions every time, or do I send her a polite e-mail back asking to please be removed from her address book? She's never responded to any of my other e-mails, so part of me is tempted to send back a nasty-gram telling her where she can stick her e-mails.

My Emily Post doesn't have a chapter entitled, "How to stop e-mails from your ex-friend who tried to push you into Amway and ditched you when you wouldn't join."


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