We met at work, which seemed okay since we weren’t dating. We became fast happy hour pals, shopping buddies, and gossip mongers. That last part should have been a red flag, but I ignored it because we had so much fun together.
I ignored her constant trash-talking of others. For years, I let it go that she would get mad at me. I didn’t bat an eyelash when she wouldn’t communicate with me. It was just how things were between us. Then, when she deemed herself ready, she picked up our friendship as though nothing had happened.
We never resolved any issues of the moment, because she was never willing to talk about it. I understood her issues with communication. Her issues with communication had once been my issues as well, so I allowed her hot and cold behavior to slide. Plus, we had to work together, and I knew addressing it would cause things to get ugly real fast.
She was my go-to fun pal, and though we had a lot of heart-felt and deep conversations, I have to admit, I was always a little wary. I knew that if she were trash-talking everyone else, she was most likely trash-talking me. Sometimes I felt close enough to tell her things, and I always regretted it. She could never keep anything to herself.
I so badly wanted her to be the person I knew she could be, and I overlooked a lot of negative behavior and actions on her part. I loved her, because isn’t that what real friends do?
Turns out, you can’t be real friends with someone who doesn’t know how.
She moved away a few months ago. When she came back to town for a visit, I was surprised and deeply hurt that she chose to spend her entire visit with a group of girls I thought she didn’t even like. Her last day in town, she tossed me a text and told me where they were going for dinner that night, that I could come if I wanted to. I didn’t respond.
She had said so many nasty things about those girls that I was not comfortable around them, both because of what I’d heard about them and because of what I’d assumed they’d heard about me.
I haven’t spoken to her since.
I’ve noticed she’s deleted me on Facebook. She didn’t delete my husband or anyone else from my circle of friends, just me.
I debated with myself for months. Should I write to her and tell her how her actions have hurt me? I’ve purchased three cards and composed countless letters in my head, but I’ve never sent them.
The truth is, I know her, and I know she blames the entire situation on me. While it is true I could have communicated with her, could have made an effort to see her that weekend she was in town, the truth is… I was done being the one who always had to make the effort.
Relationships cannot be one-sided, not forever.
I view this as a lesson learned. In my 20′s, I learned not to date guys who were toxic. In my 30′s, I’ve learned not to keep friends who were toxic.
I am going to let it go, because I think the relationship has run its course. I am grateful that she was in my life, since we had some great times together. I’ve learned a lot about the kind of friends I want to have. More importantly, I learned a lot about the kind of friend I want to be. I did not set up the correct boundaries from the get-go, thus our relationship did not bring out the best in me. We were connected by light, fluffy things like shopping and drinking, but we were also connected by gossiping and talking badly about others. That is not the kind of person I want to be, but that part of me came out when I was around her. It wasn’t her fault, it was mine. I allowed it.
I have since realized that it’s up to me to set those parameters in any relationship I enter, because the kind of person I am, the kind of friend I am, ultimately depends on me.