We are used to being forgotten, mainly by our relatives or even our partners. But usually, at least in my personal case, I thought I was lucky. I thought I had a real friend. Someone who actually cared for me. The final message of this story is that “I should have listened to my mother.”
We are comfortable with TV shows and movies where all plots include two best friends. Since I was a constant user of channels like Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, I hoped I ended up being a teenager with at least one bestie. The one with whom you can communicate with only one look, the one who knows your hatred for ice cream and still loves you (I know, I am a monster, whatever). I thought I had met my platonic soulmate until this last month when life slapped me so hard that I think I destroyed my inner core, my heart, and the functional part of my brain altogether.
Ana and I became friends in my senior year in high school (6 years of friendship). We did not match at first. We were quite different, but time passed by and we ended up becoming each other’s BFF. We used to talk every day. If not in person, by WhatsApp. We could talk about everything, and I mean anything you can imagine: politics, sex, gossip, food, books, psychology, former friendships, movies, boys, girls, oranges… anything. We were lucky, we knew that. We were almost the same person but the fact that we were not attracted to the same type of people, fact which made this whole partnership even better. No trouble ahead. We both had difficult teenagehood, we could help each other out with those memories, in resume, there were no secrets between us.
But there was one thing I could not understand and was always hesitant about, and my mother knew about it. She would say how lucky I was for having a friend like her, someone to talk about my stuff with. And I would tell her always how much I valued Ana’s care and friendship. Nevertheless, she was friends with some toxic people I did not like one bit. I knew them, from my childhood. One of them in particular was part of the group I used to be friends with. I had never commented my thoughts on this because everyone should be friends with whomever they want. It is not my business. Nonetheless, she asked me about what I thought about her friendship with her (apparently many people warned her about this girl), years ago, and I was sincere. She was my friend after all. She accepted my comments but did not stop being friends with her. Valid.
Years passed, and the Pandemic came. She did not have it easy. She became anxious and nervous, she stopped writing to me on WhatsApp. I talked to her about it and she told me she felt really anxious about everything, everyone, etc. and that she felt awful for not talking to me as much as before. I did not complain, I thought she needed space and comprehensibility, and I told her it was okay, her health always came first. Time passed and she would never write to me. I mean like: never. I was worried, so I would write to her sometimes, or send her some cute videos. She would wait for days to answer back, sometimes a week and some more days. I would talk to her about it, I would tell her to meet. She would accept and when I tell her about how I felt she was leaving me behind she would say it was all my imagination, she was not even seeing or meeting anyone not related to her classes or job, according to her.
I thought it was okay, but then I would see how she managed to meet people and post it on social media every week. We would meet someday after several months and when I commented on it she just said it is for commodity. Because I live so far away (15 minutes by car) she feels she cannot be spontaneous and meet just by calling. I say nothing. Time passes by, it is my graduation day at college, and I have completed two degrees. I feel exhausted but happy, I want to celebrate, but Ana goes to a concert that day even though I had told her the date months ago. Then another day, sometime before my last birthday, we meet and she tells me how her other friends, the girls who I believe are toxic think I am taking her all for myself when I do not talk to her (Ana’s decision) and barely meet. I could not believe this conversation; I explain to her how I feel and she tells me she believes me: “You are not taking me apart from them.” I do not think she is been sincere, at least in her mind.
The next meeting is my birthday (I do not like to celebrate it, but I did it because the group insisted), and everyone makes me feel uncomfortable on my own birthday in the middle of it they began to talk about video games, a topic I know nothing about. I decide at that same moment these friendships (including the one with Ana’s) are already over. We stop talking whatsoever until one day we meet by coincidence in a coffee shop. I am meeting with some college friends. She acts like nothing has happened like she has not set me aside. I feel surprisingly fine, we do not talk the whole afternoon and we end the meeting by going separate ways with my friends and her with her other friends. Weeks later, she sends me a message: she wants me to know that our separation was just “life.” And that she will remember me. I started laughing after reading the message.
I was going to tell her what I thought, but I decided to lie and tell her that I agreed with her, it was just “life.” I wanted to end this play. I clearly lied; I do not think she noticed it. I wished her the best and a happy life, which I really do, I still care for her, and with those friends, she will need it. Maybe in her mind, she thinks that “life” is what actually happened. I do not know, that is not my problem anymore.
But, for real, I have been a great friend. I noticed we were not on the same page, I tried to help her, I tried to be a good friend and she still would rather go with others and set me aside, which is obviously her decision. It is fine. But one piece of advice: people are not stupid. If you want to stop being friends with someone: just say it. Do not be a coward and stop messaging someone and then one day, when you see you can just act as if nothing has happened you write them and say that Life just happened. You just look out of place.
My mother says that the moment I told her she did not have a problem visiting those toxic friends I should have stopped being friends with her. I wish I had. Lucky me I met amazing people out of work and now I have friends who see life as I do. If you have been put aside like I have been, just remember: life would make everything that has been destined for you easy. Relationships are easy, friendships are easy. If you feel someone ghosts you put you aside, or just does not give you anything more than trouble, they are not for you. I have found people who really care for me, with whom I can debate about things I care about now, not only talking about the same high school stuff over and over. People who do not keep relationships and friendships with people that lie or create drama and then just pardon them as if nothing happens. We are ambitious, we benefit each other.
Be courageous, and do not keep yourself in relationships (I include friendships in this) which do not serve you. They will only stop you. Some people are not ready for change or evolution yet. But if you are, it is your moment. I should have confronted Ana a long time ago and told her how I felt, tell her to discuss our problems and why she was putting me aside. That year and a half will never come back. Do not be like me, do not trash any more time. I will never make that mistake again; I recommend you to not do it either. Friendships are not as ideal as they are on TV. Friends is a show, it is not real. Stop fantasizing and perceive relationships and life as they are. And one final thought: it is better to be courageous and trust people, to be a good person, even though they may hurt you than to not open yourself to no one. It is better to risk ourselves to create a bond that you may find incredible than to be alone. Do not misunderstand me: I love being alone, but it should not be forever. If it is your case, embrace solitude, heal, know yourself better, and then make the effort of meeting new people out of your comfort zone, believe me: it is worth it.