I know this is silly, but I was reminiscing on a friendship past. Someone I used to consider a best friend. How just a couple of years ago we were going out, taking roadtrips, going on vacations, and now I don’t even recognize the person she’s become. It was one of those give give give relationships. I gave my time, my emotional support, my presence, and she took. That’s why I feel silly to be missing her friendship now. She would only really reach out when she had a problem, when she needed someone to talk to or hang out with. Like when she wanted to watch a movie but didn’t want to go alone or when she was having another one of her never ending problems with her crazy boyfriend and needed someone to talk to, I was just a phone call away. Other than that, I never really heard from her.
The last straw was the weekend she cancelled on me for her on-again off-again crazy (ex)boyfriend. Nothing new, sad to say. She had invited me as her plus one to a mutual friend’s wedding during one of those off-again times. I guess somewhere in-between they decided to be on-again, but she failed to tell me. (Now looking back I realize she failed to tell me a lot of things.) Then maybe a week before the wedding, when I brought up a dress I was looking to buy and the logistics of things, she told me her boyfriend was accompanying her in my place. It definitely hurt to be uninvited to something, especially since these were plans made weeks in advance that I cleared my schedule for. But what hurt the most was that she never told me until I brought it up to her. As if she was thinking that as long as she avoided the situation it would just work itself out on its own.
What if I hadn’t brought anything up until the day before the event, was she not going to tell me anything until then? Was she planning to tell me in advance at all? The message that this situation sent to me was that my time wasn’t to be valued. That my time was not as important as hers. If the shoe had been on the other foot, she would have thrown a fit.
I took a step back and didn’t say much to her in that moment. I honestly couldn’t believe the person that was before me. I realized though, that all those times I didn’t stand up for myself, I was silently saying it was okay for her to dismiss me. After taking some time to think, I confronted her about the situation and told her how her actions made me feel. She accused me of not being a good friend, of making her choose between our friendship and her boyfriend. She never took accountability.
Ever since that day, I never looked at her in the same way. I felt sorry for her for a really long period of time. I guess I had always hoped she would change. That she would leave the crazy boyfriend and live a happy life. It wasn’t until I was outside of the friendship that I realized she was so negative, so critical and judgemental of everyone else, but so sensitive of anything directed at herself.
That day I exited the friendship. I realized that she didn’t want to grow with me, that we were just growing apart, and I would be okay.
I reminisced today on the good times we shared; the fun trips we did and the adventures we went on. I missed her… I missed our friendship, or at least what I thought our friendship was.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish I could still call her my friend. But then I remember why we grew apart, the reason we were no longer close. I guess we were never really that close to begin with.
It’s crazy to think how you can be so close to someone one day and then not even recognize them the next. I still see her from time to time. She now has a new best friend. A mutual acquaintance she used to speak so ill of.
I have no idea if she’s changed. I’ve tried to speak with her and, while we’re cordial, I feel like she keeps me at a distance. Maybe it’s for the best.
I always say, with any relationship, you either grow together or grow apart. Why not grow together? Change is hard, no one will ever start to make a change until they want to. You can’t force someone to grow with you. You can only hope and wait. But how long should you wait? How long is too long? How can you be sure not to mix loyalty with a blind eye.
You want to believe in the good in people. That sometimes the people you’ve known the longest you think you know the best. And you talk yourself into staying in relationships because you hope that things will be different or that they’ll change. But people won’t change until they want to; or until they find themselves in a situation in which they are forced to change. When you find yourself outgrowing those friendships, exiting those relationships is probably for the best.
After I distanced myself from my former best friend, I found myself so much happier and lighter in spirit. Her energy was almost draining at times when we were friends. Every day brought a new problem, new criticism, or just drama. Realizing that I had outgrown that friendship and finally standing up for myself gave me the courage to speak up more often. I found myself establishing deeper and more meaningful connections with other friendships and new people. I even made more friends!
Remember, as you grow as an individual, you will inevitably grow out of friendships. Just know that it is okay.
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