It’s official: I am no longer friends with my best friend. That being said, I am currently taking applications for a replacement. Serious inquiries only.
I have wanted to post about this scenario for awhile now because I know bestie breakups happen all the time. It’s something others can surely identify with, so I thought it might be helpful to share my own experience with it. However, something has always stopped me.
For one, I was afraid that I would get super caught up in my feelings and struggle to tell the story without it turning into an entire weekend long seminar on the pitfalls of becoming friends with socially unaware narcissists. I mean, I know my rants can be funny and entertaining to read at times, but (hopefully) you guys don’t have time like all that.
Secondly, I am a huge believer in the power of words. What you open your mouth to say had better be exactly what you want to experience because thoughts become things. What you think (and especially speak) about, you bring about. In telling you that my long-time friendship has been kicked to the curb like last week’s garbage, I knew I’d be driving the last nail into the coffin. I’d be lowering it into the ground—everything would be well and truly over.
The finality of openly admitting what I already knew in my heart was a bit too much for me to deal with at first. After all, once I put it out there, I’d be putting the kibosh on any glimmer of hope that our friendship could be repaired. And believe me, I tried to fix things, I really did. I suppose that is why I now feel comfortable telling you that it’s finally over: I’ve done all I could. I have a perfectly clear conscience. Can she truthfully say the same thing?
You would think ending a relationship with someone you no longer want much to do with would be easy:
“You know, I’ve been thinking lately…I really don’t like you. I think we should stop pretending to be friends and maybe, go our own separate ways.”
“Wow! You don’t like me? By golly, that is such a coincidence because I honestly don’t like you either!”
“What?! Gee whiz, you mean to tell me that I’ve been putting up with your insufferable bulls-t for the last decade for nothing?”
“I know, right? Here I could have already been moved on from the irreversible trauma of being associated with you. What a crazy world we’re living in, huh?”
“So… you’re, like, cool with me forgetting you ever existed and everything?”
“OMG…Absolutely! I greatly look forward to avoiding eye contact with you when we randomly bump into each other at the grocery store in the future.”
You see? It could all be so simple.
Meanwhile, cutting ties with this girl was like one of those long, drawn out celebrity divorces. It starts with rumors (from a “completely reliable source”, of course) that someone cheated on the other—that their marriage is on the rocks. They both hop on social media to decry the reports by posting photos of themselves from a happier time and claiming to be married to their “soulmate”.
Next comes the sleazy tabloid exposé complete with snapshots of missing wedding rings and moving trucks that seem to confirm previous talk of an imminent breakup. The couple claims that they’ve encountered “hard times” in their marriage and have decided to separate, but reassures the public that they are “working on things”. Suddenly, the next three or four years turn into a he-said, she-said s—t storm where every variety of drama unfolds in the form of custody battles and alimony hearings. It’s downright nasty and long winded, but both parties assume they are saving face by citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their split.
And so, I have spent the last six years slowly, but surely backing away from my friendship of well over a decade. Though I have not formally sat her down and explicitly told her, “I’m done being a doormat for you and here’s why…”, I would like to assume that she’s not quite so self-centered and oblivious to completely miss the writing on the wall. I believe that my failure to disclose any details of my personal life since moving out of the townhome we once shared should have been a strong enough sign to her that I no longer trusted her or wished for her to be an active participant in my life.
I guess I have now reached the part of this post where it may be expected for me to read this girl for filth, snatch her edges and drag her down to the fiery depths of hell where she may or may not justifiably belong. It would probably be perfectly understandable for me to break into a lengthy, melodramatic monologue about what a bad friend she turned out to be. You know, tell you character rotting tales such as how she was caught red-handed talking s—t behind my back several times. And if I really wanted to be that kind of a girl, I could tell you some things about her that would make those close to her snatch their pearls in shock.
However, I won’t.
The reason I won’t tell the full sordid truth about her is because I’m me…not her. Unlike her, I am loyal. Trust me, I have some pretty valid (not to mention sensational) reasons for having ended my friendship with her. After the way she has treated me, I’m not sure she deserves leniency or mercy, but one thing is for sure: If I was ever a friend to you, I’ll forever be a friend to you. I won’t go tit for tat, being petty and airing someone’s dirty laundry just because our paths have now gone in two different directions.
Overall, we haven’t always treated each other with the respect or reverence that is necessary to share in a friendship. Neither of us are perfect as people, so we have both made countless mistakes over the years. However, the love was genuinely there once upon a time. She was someone I viewed as my sister. We vacationed together, went to school together, worked together and lived together. How it came to be that she started trying to compete with me in various areas of our lives and treating me as an enemy instead of a friend is absolutely baffling. It truly is.
For years I struggled to put an end to the relationship. I was stepped on, dismissed, betrayed and disrespected so many times during my last stint living with her. All the same, I kept trying to forgive and forget…to cut her some slack due to seniority. As if having known me so long gave her a lifetime pass to treat me like a piece of crap! However, much like a battered woman, I thought it might get better. I thought that with time, old wounds might heal and that we’d be back laughing it up again. However, I never got over the betrayal.
Our friendship was in good health before moving up to Northern California together. However, the decay set in soon after arriving. Her ego, along with the belief that she had new friends and didn’t “need” me anymore, led her down a path I could never welcome her back from. The funny thing about these people she once called “friends” —the same people she talked about me to— is that she now boldly claims to have “never liked” them. They “embarrassed” her and she claims to be sorry that she ever hung out with them. Opportunist much?
Those were very dark days, living with her up there. Very dark days, indeed. Things had gotten so bad that I began feeling as though I needed to escape. Her behavior was actually a major factor in my moving to the Midwest; I simply had to get away from her. Moving across town or to another part of the state didn’t feel far enough away. No, I needed to leave the entire region, maybe even the country.
I know this may sound ridiculous and extreme, but it is how I genuinely felt at the time. In the end, her behavior had become overbearing, clingy and suffocating. I didn’t feel free to be who I was anymore and living in my home had become unbearable. Everything had to revolve around her; if she didn’t want it, it didn’t happen. I wanted out.
I did manage to physically escape “***** World”, as I called it, but the mental captivity remained for years. Once I moved, I began developing panic attacks any time she texted or called, so I tried to keep my interactions as brief as possible. I couldn’t hold a conversation about her, much less think about the prospect of seeing her again without experiencing a crippling bout of gut-wrenching anxiety.
That being the case, I never accepted any of her invitations to return to California for a visit. On the one occasion that I returned to my home state, I didn’t even tell her I was back home until the night before my departure. Even until quite recently, she has bribed me with flight tickets to come see her, which I’m quite certain she’s offered due to the erroneous belief that I was too broke to pay for my own airfare. Pfft. Hardly the case, but I suppose I preferred her to believe I was financially struggling than to find out the truth: I didn’t think I could be friends with her anymore.
Year after year, I found myself trying to find a way to salvage what little was left. Sure, she’d been a pretty terrible friend to me in the time we spent up north, but I was doing my best to find the fun loving girl I met inside of the manipulative woman I’d been left with. Besides, I’d gone through a spiritual awakening and had set out to forgive everyone who had ever hurt me. I didn’t feel as though I could trust her at all, but with a cautious eye, I believed it was worth giving her one last chance. We no longer live together, so it will be difficult for her to suck me back into***** World, I reasoned. People change. I have. Perhaps she is different now. Perhaps she’s learned her lesson.
Turns out, she didn’t learn s—t.
On several occasions I tried to suggest a girl’s trip. You know, “just like old times”. I suggested Miami. I suggested Vegas. I even suggested Lollapalooza and Coachella. She would always perk up at the sound of them, getting giddy as a schoolgirl dreaming of all the things we could get up to. Yet, they never happened because she would always muck things up. They were my idea…my trips, but yet, she was still stuck in ***** World, thinking she still had control of everything like she used to.
She could never just meet me in the city we agreed upon. Instead, she’d think of some elaborate, out of the way scheme that would make things more convenient for her, while making things more absurd, costly and time consumptive for me. Or, she’d talk like she was down to go, but would never bring it up again. If she couldn’t do things her way, I suppose she couldn’t be bothered doing it at all. But this was someone who missed me “so much”? Did she miss me or her ability to make me dance like her puppet? This was strike one of several.
When she heard that I was moving back west, she immediately went into ***** World mode. According to her, we could visit each other “all the time”, what with California and Arizona being next door neighbors. All I could think was, No. No, I will not get sucked back into ***** World. I wasn’t moving so I could “hang out all the time”. I was moving to find an environment that would be good for my health, thereby helping me to achieve my goals. What made her think that I had all of this free time to run around the world visiting people—as though I didn’t have anything that I wanted or needed to do with my time?
Why didn’t she understand that things weren’t anything like the olden days? We weren’t fifteen year old high schoolers anymore. Time and circumstance had rendered us vaguely familiar strangers who never had conversations anymore. On the rare occasion that we texted each other, it was always a one-sided situation: she talked, I listened. Wait, scratch that. She complained and I listened.
She had turned into nothing short of an emotional leech, draining me of my positivity and energy. An energy vampire. I would always enter the “conversation” feeling fine, but as we’d talk, her negativity and criticisms always managed to pervade my previously happy vibe. Though I never willingly offered up any details of my day to day life, she never asked either. Either she didn’t care or didn’t want to give me the opportunity to make myself seem happier in life than she was, or maybe even both. You could always feel her skirting around and skittering away from any topic that might permit me to be something, be someone without her.
Oh, but it was perfectly fine to always dump her emotional baggage on me. I wouldn’t hear a peep from her in weeks (sometimes months), and then BAM. Some new crisis. She wouldn’t ask how I was or what I was up to either. Instead, she’d jump straight into her newest problem.
When her loser of a boyfriend had been caught on Facebook messaging other women and being a despicable miscreant, I was there. She poured her heart out about not knowing whether or not she should stay with him or call things off. I spent hours on the phone trying my best to council her on the best way to handle the situation. I’d encouraged her to leave him be and find someone who had his act together.
When her eldest brother was getting married and she was barred from being in the wedding party, I was there. I remembered how deeply hurt she’d been when her other brother had snubbed her the same exact way years earlier. And as I’d been the first time, I provided a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. I urged her to attend the wedding and do her best to have a good time anyway.
When she wanted to bitch and moan about her ungrateful boss and social media obsessed coworker, I was there. She’d randomly call me up and just vent her heart out about people I’ve never met and couldn’t give a rat’s rabid behind about. I had to listen to how “self-centered and two-faced” her uber liberal boss was…how offended she was by her harsh criticisms of Republicans following the election. I had to listen to how “conceited and shallow” her coworker was. She even went as far as to show me pictures from her Instagram account…even though I’d asked her not to send them to me.
Of course, she was completely innocent of any wrong doing in these scenarios. You know, a perfectly “mature” individual trying to remain professional and considerate. Different day, different players, same tired ass rhetoric. It was always someone else who was at the root of the problem, never her. Yet, when I would give her advice to simply turn the other cheek and ignore whatever was irking her, that was never a good enough response. No, she wanted me to join in the bitching and moaning, pick up a torch and pitchfork and join her on a witch hunt. However, I had changed. She couldn’t find any use for me once she saw I wouldn’t jump on the negativity bandwagon with her, so she quit calling.
One day I suddenly came to realize that I no longer had to worry about ending the friendship, telling her it was over or anything similar. It finally dawned on me that our friendship had been over for years. I had been so wrapped up in trying to defend the fact that I’d been a good friend and was still trying to remain a good friend that I completely failed to see that she’d stopped being a good friend to me long ago.
She never talked to me, just talked at me.
Nothing was 50/50 and there was no give and take.
There was only ever take.
I remember there being one time that I truly needed a friend. I had just broken things off with my fiancé, which had left me in one of the lowest points of my entire existence. She’d been calling me complaining about Lord only knows what around that time, so I’d been trying to keep myself together and not fall apart.
However, there was one day in particular when I just really needed a friend…Ideally, my old friend. I tried to tell her how depressed I was, how terribly heartbroken the ordeal had left me. She hardly had any comfort to toss my way. I think she spent a good ten…fifteen minutes spewing some dribble about it being “normal” for me to miss someone I’d dated for a number of years. After this, she reverted back to fretting over what she should do about the scallawag she’d been sleeping with for only a few months…
For so long I was concerned about letting the reality of this
friendship parasitic relationship sink into my inner being. I knew I didn’t really have any friends left (which I will discuss at a later date), so it worried me to completely give up on the only one I had left. What would people think? Wouldn’t it be alarming for new people to meet me, only to find out I didn’t have any friends? I didn’t want to be misjudged as a socially undesirable freak with no friends, but perhaps that’s exactly what I’d been all along. If this girl couldn’t treat me with the decency and respect I deserved, than I didn’t have a friend in her to begin with.
Today I am proud to say that if it makes me a sad, pathetic loser to not have any friends, so be it. However, I’m not a total loser with zero friends. I actually have a very good friend—quite possibly the best friend I will ever have.
She’s smart, kind and beautiful inside and out.
She tries her hardest to see the best in people and makes it her mission to help others…even when they aren’t always very nice to her in return.
Best of all, she’s an excellent advocate.
She cares about how others treat me and always ensures that I know my worth in this world.
She loves me for me and nothing will ever, ever change that.
That friend is me.
It took me most of my life to get to the point where I could care enough about myself to remain by myself if I couldn’t find likeminded people to be friends with. The goal of having friends is not to cling on to people who drain you, always taking more than they are willing or even capable of giving in return. True friends inspire each other, motivate each other and provide solace when times are tough. When one is down, the other one should lift them up and vice versa. Friendships aren’t one sided, but mutually beneficial. Both people should feel good about spending time with the other and enjoy sharing various aspects of their lives with each other.
I know there are other people out there who are in a similar boat as I was, feeling as though they are stuck with friends who seem more like enemies by the day. Depending on how long you’ve known the person in question, it can be extremely hard to say goodbye. I know this.
If you’re like me, you’ve invested time and energy into the relationship; you don’t want that to have been for nothing. However, what you must realize is that the damage toxic “friends” can cause is not worth keeping them around. It is not fair for people to use you, monopolize your time and drain you of your precious energy.
Do yourself a favor and always commit to being your own best friend first. You’re worth it! When you make consistent practice of valuing yourself as you’d like others to do, you will eventually attract the kinds of people who truly appreciate you. Those are the people worth keeping around. After all, your vibe attracts your tribe. If you want to attract kind, caring people to be friends with, make sure to always exhibit these qualities yourself. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be one of the people who pops up! 🙂