lizzie x charlotte

8

the lizzie bennet diaries meme:

three friendships; lizzie bennet and charlotte lu
“Charlotte and I have been friends basically since we were fetuses. Feti? Fetuses. Our mothers were bridge partners when they were pregnant with us. And they went into labor within like ten minutes of each other at the same book club meeting. And what were they reading? Sense and Sensibility. So it’s pretty much destiny. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Charlotte is as constant in my life as my sisters…And I always will be.“

Lizzie and Charlotte's Fight

This may seem like a silly post to some people, and it’s really just in response to a long conversation I had yesterday with Ali and I’ve continued on twitter some, and I had too many words for a tweet response for Kaci, so this is what you get:

Lizzie and Charlotte got into a big fight. They both said words that hurt. Deeply. Lizzie straight up tells Charlotte she thinks she’s making a terrible decision, when Charlotte is desperately needing her friend to support her in a difficult, but good choice for her life. Charlotte basically says that Lizzie hasn’t been supporting her, and doesn’t know what Charlotte really wants. To Lizzie, her best friend of her entire life. Lizzie thinks she does know Charlotte, does know what is best, and Charlotte just spits that entire friendship back in Lizzie’s face.

Yes, Charlotte is making a good point, yes, overall Lizzie is more in the wrong in this situation than Charlotte is, but I’m sure Charlotte did not mean everything she said to Lizzie about “what do you know about my dreams?” and “I haven’t been working on my stuff, I’ve only been working on yours.” or at least not quite that bitterly.

But that’s it. That’s the last that they talked.

I don’t know about you, but if my friend had said all that to me, then stormed out of my room, moved to another town without saying goodbye, I would be filled with such a deep sense of Shame. Embarrassment. Failure.

Two things about Lizzie. She doesn’t like being wrong (Charlotte has already told us this in earlier video edits), and she loves her friends and family deeply, and I think takes a lot of pride in that. She’s just been told by her BEST FRIEND that she’s not loving her well enough, or in the right way, that she has been a BAD BEST FRIEND. and now Lizzie is realizing that Charlotte is kind of right.

Let’s imagine these two girls growing up. I am *sure* they’ve had similar feuds before. I’m sure there have been times Charlotte felt like second wheel and spoke up about it. And I’m sure Lizzie felt terrible, and tried to make a concentrated effort to not do that anymore. So now, in what is most certainly the biggest fight they’ve ever had, with Charlotte miles away, preventing a sometimes easier face-to-face make-up, or at least forcing the “we have to see each other, so we’ve got to talk again”, Lizzie is stuck in her mind, remembering all those old fights, all those times she said she was going to be a better friend. and hearing Charlotte’s words over and over (quite literally, she can replay the video clips).

And Lizzie is full of self-doubt about the entire friendship. Have I always been a terrible friend? How long has she hated me? Has she been just smiling and bearing me this whole time? Has she been looking for a way to get away from me? I’m sure she’s happier away from me, I’d be happier away from me. How could she ever want to talk to me again, I’ve been such a terrible friend. How did she even put up with me for so long?

And Charlotte’s not nearby to quickly ready these fears, this cycle of self-doubt and shame. I know this cycle. I have lived in this cycle. I have had this cycle ruin friendships. Lizzie sees two choices- call Charlotte, try to apologize, beg for forgiveness, awkwardly try to make amends over the phone, all the while risking even WORSE rejection at the thought that maybe Charlotte doesn’t want to make amends. Or give Charlotte some space, let them both cool off, and hope that maybe things will… fix themselves? Eventually? Hopefully? Just the thought that Charlotte might not want to speak to her is enough to make her hesitate when dialing.

She does the smallest thing she can do- put in a video a note that she misses Charlotte, that she feels bad. She hopes that maybe, if Charlotte doesn’t still truly hate her, that will make Charlotte want to answer if she does call. And then, guess what? As we know from Maria’s video, Lizzie DID call. And Charlotte didn’t answer. Is it really a surprise that Lizzie doesn’t leave a message? What can she even say? To Lizzie, Charlotte has just said “no, don’t want to talk to you. I’ll ignore your phone call. We’re no longer friends”. It DOESN’T MATTER if Charlotte simply couldn’t answer her phone, Lizzie will still worry that’s the real reason. And since she doesn’t know what Charlotte is thinking, and she doesn’t trust any of her old instincts for Charlotte any more, and because she’s so ashamed of everything that has happened, she will just hope that if Charlotte does want to talk, then Charlotte will call her back.

Which, of course, we see Charlotte is thinking almost the opposite. “Lizzie should have left a message!” and isn’t calling back.

Eventually, one of them has to take the risk, take the plunge, risk the rejection all over again, and even worse, having it repeated, and put themselves out there for the other, completely vulnerable. But it’s hard. And these are girls who probably haven’t had *too* many fights, especially not bad fights like this, and especially not fights that they’ve had to solve long-distance. They’ve never been long-distance friends, they don’t know how to do that!

So no, I don’t think it’s surprising, or surprisingly immature that they still haven’t resolved their feud.

Yes, it might seem like it shouldn’t be that hard for Lizzie to just apologize and move on, but it’s just not always that easy. I’m not saying it’s not stupid and they don’t need to just both use their adult words. But I’m saying it’s NOT EASY. It’s not easy to put yourself back out there after being rejected by a friend, especially a friend you deeply cared about.

I have two major experiences with this, and many minor ones- and with one, after being completely rejected by her for reasons I didn’t even understand, I tried writing her a note (“making a phone call”??), which she just completely ignored. I don’t even think she read it. And then kept ignoring me. Another, after storming out of my house in the middle of the night… that time… I don’t even remember if I tried to talk to her again. She was so set on ignoring me, and I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to hurt her anymore that I already had, and she had made it so painfully clear she didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, so, because I still deeply cared about her, I figured the best thing I could do was to respect that and leave her alone even though it killed her. And I think I hoped that maybe if I left her alone long enough, she’d cool down and maybe remember that we did have a good friendship. She didn’t. And eventually so much time passed that I doubt either of us remembers the reason we got into the fight. But we’d not talked for so long, it was even harder to try to go back. And, this is not a lie, I STILL, as a 24-year-old adult, stare at her profile name on facebook. Just stare at it. And I think about maybe trying to send her a message, see how she is. Tell her I’m sorry. Find out where she is now. I think about it. And then I don’t. I can’t. I still can’t. I probably never will. I don’t even know why. What do I have to lose?

But, like Lizzie, I have a lot of pride, I hate being wrong, I hate being rejected, and I hate feeling like I have done a poor job loving my friends.

So, no Ali. I am not surprised Lizzie has not made up with Charlotte, and I am not surprised she is not talking about any of her attempts to get back in touch with Charlotte in her videos. It’s really hard for me to even blog about the friend from years ago. Part of me doesn’t want to post it. Because it is exposing one of the deepest fears of my heart. That I am a bad friend and that I am someone who other people cannot continue to love, that I am being rejected by the people I thought knew me best, who do know me best. And they said, no. Not good enough. And seem to say, as they move on with their life unphased, “losing you does not matter to me.”

(Side note: fortunately, I have lived long enough and have been fortunate enough to have friends who I have gotten into terrible terrible fights with that we HAVE made up, and have pressed through the hurt and pain and exposure and come to a new, deeper, more beautiful side of friendship, where we are both painfully aware of how broken the other person is, and how broken we are, and yet we still love the other, and our friendship is deeper because of this. I hope Charlotte and Lizzie get there. And I hope all of you experience it one day, too, because it’s one of the most wonderful things ever. To be really, deeply known, and to still be loved.)